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New B3 Jacket, but which one?

riopaulf

Member
Hi everybody,
With the very cold UK weather I recently bought a vintage B3 jacket From eBay.
I loved it but it was too big for me. Also, I didn’t like the smell much. It was a strong musty smell on the sheepskin. It was a USAAF one, though I must say that really like the look of the more fitted ones (Irvin)
I had to send it back. I was disappointed, then stumbled upon your site and I see many discussions on flight jackets.
I’m thinking of getting a new jacket, to break in myself and keep for a long time.
With so many places selling them, I am not sure who to buy from?

I saw something nice from Irvin here
https://www.flying-jacket.com/jackets/sheepskin-flying-jackets/original-irvin-flying-jacket/

And I read that someone else is going to purchase something similar from Aero, here
http://www.aeroleatherclothing.com/product-detail.php?id=105

Who is better? Irvin or Aero and are there others I should also consider?

I also read somewhere that if I mention Irvin on here, I’ll be shouted at? I am sorry to display such ignorance. Can anybody advise me...?
Best wishes...
 

MikeyB-17

Well-Known Member
Nobody’s going to shout at you Chap. What you refer to as Irvin is actually Aviation Leathercraft, who own the Irvin name, and make very nice warm jackets, ideal for driving your open top sportscar, but not terribly accurate reproductions, which is why they’re not very highly regarded here, where such things are of importance. Aero, on the other hand, make very good reproductions of the WWII Irvin, and that’s where I’d go if I was in the market for one. You may also like to consider Eastman Leather Clothing, who also make excellent Irvin reproductions, although more expensive, and not necessarily any better. Depends what takes your fancy.
BTW, folk here like you to introduce yourself in the Member Bios section. You might want to nip over there.
 

riopaulf

Member
Thanks a lot guys, that’s really useful info!
Russet Brown or Seal Brown is a bit confusing too. Have I understood this correctly. Russet brown was used in the earlier part of the war before leather became more scare? It’s premium leather, whereas the darker colour of the seal was used for inferior cuts to disguise blemishes etc?

As for sizing, I am always awkward. I have a small ish waist. I don’t have a massive chest either. 38.5” when I checked yesterday.
Do I get a smaller coat, say 37” chest as from what I’ve read they are a bit larger anyway.
Should these items fit loosely?
Thanks a lot guys. Leaning towards the Aero now, though I do like the look of the sheepskin more on the Irvin jacket. Need to study the details more closely now I know the Irvin one isn’t as closely matched to the original. Cheers!


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Southoftheborder

Active Member
Thanks a lot guys, that’s really useful info!
Russet Brown or Seal Brown is a bit confusing too. Have I understood this correctly. Russet brown was used in the earlier part of the war before leather became more scare? It’s premium leather, whereas the darker colour of the seal was used for inferior cuts to disguise blemishes etc?

As for sizing, I am always awkward. I have a small ish waist. I don’t have a massive chest either. 38.5” when I checked yesterday.
Do I get a smaller coat, say 37” chest as from what I’ve read they are a bit larger anyway.
Should these items fit loosely?
Thanks a lot guys. Leaning towards the Aero now, though I do like the look of the sheepskin more on the Irvin jacket. Need to study the details more closely now I know the Irvin one isn’t as closely matched to the original. Cheers!


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The pockets on the standard AL Irvin are a bit of a giveaway. Most people would say the fleece is very teddy bearish too. They are very luxurious warm coats to wear but the big deal AL make about them being the only original genuine Irvin jacket is a bit of a joke.
 

Southoftheborder

Active Member

Otter

Active Member
Morning and welcome ! I owned an Irvin by Aviation LC for many years, the fleece does wear down and become curly over time. I had only owned it for a short while before I first visited Aero at their factory. Seeing one of their jackets my instant thought was that is what I should have bought. Prices on greedbay for a used ALC are not a kick off of the better manufacturers.
I guess it all boilsdown down to which style you prefer, I found the B3 cuffs very annoying with the seams scratching my wrists all the time. The older Aero Irvins have more tubular sleeves and a fluffier pile than the current ones. I did own one of those, a really nice jacket, only moved it on as the sleeves were slightly long for me. The newer ones look superb, I am intending to order a Coastal Command jacket this summer.
 

riopaulf

Member
Thanks for that Otter. So in short, you think the Aero B3 is better than the ALC one?
In your opinion, what was it about the Aero version that made it superior?
Thanks and best wishes...



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Otter

Active Member
Both the B3 jackets I had were Eastman ones, one time worn, one a "house jacket". Both were good jackets, but just didn't do it for me. I thinkthey aero currently have the edge in the quality of the sheepskin used. The Eastman named contract jackets are very nice, I have one if the Roughwear B15's, but the price these days.......
One other thing to consider, those jackets are seriously warm, I never wore mine with anything other than a light shirt under them. Today up here it is hovering around freezing, snowing lightly and I am wearing a D1 sheepskin layered with a roll neck wool sweater. Nice and cosy with flexibility. You might also want to look at B6 jackets as well. These sheepskin are sponges so You cando only wear them when it is dry unless you like the wet wooly smell.
 

riopaulf

Member
I definitely don't like the wet wooly smell. Yak!
Are you saying that any of the javkwta would act like a sponge? B3, Etc etc? That's a bit of a worry. I am based in the UK, it's pretty cold and windy and also wet, too. I'll take a look at the other jackets you mentioned. Thank you!

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riopaulf

Member
Hey everyone! Those Aero B3 jackets look awesome!
I'm thinking Russet.
Who thinks Pre-war version, Battle of Britain version, or multi panel post war version?

What's your thoughts?


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MikeyB-17

Well-Known Member
I think you're getting confused as to what a B-3 is. B-3 is not a general term for sheepskin flight jackets. The B-3 was the USAAF equivalent of the RAF Irvin, which I believe is what you're interested in. Both are fairly heavy jackets, but with differences in design, the Irvin having sleeve zips, for instance. Both were part of a suit, worn with high-waisted sheepskin trousers. The trousers had pockets which is why genuine Irvins don't have any, and the B-3 only has a small one. The USAAF also issued other sheepskin jackets, like the B-6 and the D-1, which many prefer as they are lighter and less bulky. You can find all of these on Aero and Eastman's sites.
None of them are much use in the rain. Great when it's cold and dry, but if you want something for the rain, get a Barbour or a modern Goretex jacket. As to which design of Irvin, any of them will do the job, just depends what appeals to you. I prefer the earlier versions with less seams myself.
 

Carl

Well-Known Member
I definitely don't like the wet wooly smell. Yak!
Are you saying that any of the javkwta would act like a sponge? B3, Etc etc? That's a bit of a worry. I am based in the UK, it's pretty cold and windy and also wet, too. I'll take a look at the other jackets you mentioned. Thank you!

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Where in the UK are you ??
Pics of the jacket you bought from Ebay would help us and help you ! ;)
 

riopaulf

Member
Hi guys thanks for all the input! I am based in the a West Midlands, not too far from Birmingham.

As for my other jacket, it was a USAAF B-3, and unfortunately I didn’t keep it longer than a day. I sent it back because my gf thought it looked too big for me.
I was vintage
IMG_0246.jpg



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Steve27752

Well-Known Member
Hi guys thanks for all the input! I am based in the a West Midlands, not too far from Birmingham.

As for my other jacket, it was a USAAF B-3, and unfortunately I didn’t keep it longer than a day. I sent it back because my gf thought it looked too big for me.
I was vintage
View attachment 13883



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Hi,
firstly it is not a B-3, nor an Irvin. It is a sheepskin jacket, you should be able to spot the differences between it and a Aero B-3.
The RAF Irvin was a separate jacket which you have also seen on the Aero website..................I for one agree with your gf. It needed to go back.
 

riopaulf

Member
Lucky escape then!
Size wise, on the Irvin website they say to get a jacket 1” smaller than your chest size. For example I am a 42” chest and Irvin recommend getting a 41” chest jacket. Does this sound right to you all? Should they be a snug fit or is it that it is generously cut?


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Otter

Active Member
Classic fit would be loose to allow clothing to be worn underneath. Remember originally issued there would be layers of wool, heated suits, wool underwear etc underneath. Check out the sizing guides on Eastman, if you are ordering new, then it might be worth paying a good tailor to measure you.
 

Carl

Well-Known Member
Lucky escape then!
Size wise, on the Irvin website they say to get a jacket 1” smaller than your chest size. For example I am a 42” chest and Irvin recommend getting a 41” chest jacket. Does this sound right to you all? Should they be a snug fit or is it that it is generously cut?


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Your girlfriend has taste ;)
Birmingham ! Thats like living on the equator compared to where i live in the UK !! :D
 

Art

Well-Known Member
I'm similarly sized to u I think and I have an Alc in a 38. It's a great warm jacket and pockets are handy if you plan and outdoor spectator sports , if I could choose again I'd get an aero,but I may get one too. The sleeves are very tubelike on the Alc jacket but the build quality is second to none. I kept calling an Irvin a B3 and vice versa so your not alone
312E72DA-9810-4AA1-857A-A145CC760E19.png
 

riopaulf

Member
Cheers Art! Looks superb! Is yours a seal brown?
In my ignorance I also thought that a B-3 / Irvin jacket had pockets, but true versions do not. Am I right?
Pockets are definitely more practical...


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