We’re watching Masters of the Air for the plot. And by “the plot”, we mean the sweeping, cinematic scenes of Austin Butler and co. brooding in the barracks or dodging flak in the skies in an endless stream of jaw-dropping shearling jackets. If you took a shot every time a character popped up swathed in sheepskin, you’d be royally pissed by the end of each episode—and really want a leather bomber of your own.
Apple TV+’s World War II series is a sprawling, painstaking period piece following the based-on-real-life 100th Bomb Group of the US Air Force, a ragtag group eventually nicknamed the “Bloody Hundredth” for its acts of aerial derring-do above enemy territory, and the gruesome toll its members incurred in the process.
When Butler’s Major Gale Cleven or Barry Keoghan’s Lieutenant Curtis Biddick gear up to fly 25,000 feet above Nazi Germany, their best protection against frostbite comes in the form of their shearling-lined jackets, which costume designer Colleen Atwood ordered by the hundreds from Eastman Leathers, a UK-based repro brand that also outfitted cast members in George Clooney’s 2019 reimagining of Catch-22.
Aviator jackets as we know them were introduced around the tail-end of World War I to help fighter pilots stay warm in open-air planes. The A-1 flight jacket, their earliest iteration, was characterized by its cropped silhouette, knit cuffs, button closure, and sheepskin lining; at the time, it was about as cozy as a jacket could get.
By the onset of World War II, pilots were no longer flying en plein air, but their aircrafts could reach previously unfathomable heights. They needed warmer jackets. Enter the B-3, the scene-stealing jacket that appears so often in Masters of the Air it deserves an IMDb page of its own. The latest, greatest aviator jacket of the era kept the shearling lining and cropped silhouette, but ditched the buttons for a zipper—and added a set of straps for an oxygen mask.
These days, riffs on the B-3 are available by the dozen, courtesy of big-name luxury brands and heritage outerwear specialists alike. The one through line? All that shearling means they’ll cost you a pretty penny—and they’re still worth every damn cent. They might not save your extremities on a perilous mission over enemy territory, but hey, if you need to amble to the deli for a BEC during a snowstorm, they’ll help you look Bane-level badass doing it. The Military Industrial Complex is nefarious and far-reaching, but sometimes it inspires a product actually worthy of your tax dollars.