Recommend me a leather jacket

MrBlue

Member
Thanks again everyone.

Regarding BK, it is so difficult to decide what to believe. There was a post by a gentleman who had a BK A2, and he uploaded a Google photo album of it. It was on TFL I think. Anyway, after only a few months this jacket looked terrible to my eyes. He didn't upload these photos to complain, it was expected wear and tear to him, but the jacket just looked destroyed. As in, a black jacket that had lost significant amounts of colour. From what I understood to be normal wear and tear.

So, that's what scares me about BK jackets - the website itself tells you that Liberty is designed to wear faster. WarHorse, from what I understand, is not designed the same way. But then some of the posters in this very thread say that Liberty wears at around the same speed as Vicenza and WarHorse.

Perhaps it is just one or two bad examples that are scaring me though.

Anyway, I imagine that I'll probably end up going with a BK jacket. If Liberty was really so bad, I imagine all of you would have said something!

The major advantage that BK has over both ELC and Aero is the customizability. At least, in my eyes. You can probably guess that I'm not big on authenticity, and so the customisation options that BK presents right out of the box is exactly what I want.

What I'll probably end up getting is a dark seal brown RW 27752 with dull orange lining, medium brown thread and then either rust knit or mid brown knit. I've ordered a measuring tape in my next Ocado order, so on Saturday the 11th I'll be able to either measure myself or ask a friend to measure me (social distancing allowing!).
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
Given your excellent attention to detail (I’m impressed), you’re asking the right questions. I probably spent months investigating A-2 jackets before picking one. The different fit, knits, thread, leather, sewing details, collar, etc. led me down the original maker path. I simply made a list of what I wanted, then picked the appropriate contract. Gary Eastman was very helpful, and John Chapman of Good Wear Leather didn’t have a track record yet, so I went with an ELC since they had the best attention to the original details (versus the Japanese Buzz Rickson or The Real McCoy’s that have gorgeous attention to detail and incredible leather, but not always like the originals).

I did see BK jackets at American Classics in London and they weren't to the level of ELC or Buzz Rickson. Given you prefer collar stands and dark seal a Roughwear is a good choice. Given you'll have it for a long time, it's worth the time to seek some out before purchase (I believe in buying what I want, not a few I don't until I get what I actually want.)

EDIT: A lot of people on this site want the jacket to wear in like a (70 year old) original. That may be a semi-aniline finish that comes off (my early 33-1729 is like that, but not the current model), or it becomes very grainy (Italian leathers have been popular for this) or stays much the same (Japanese, like The Real McCoy's, and they seem to prefer specifically smoother leather).
 
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mulceber

Well-Known Member
I don't think you have any bad choices here, MrBlue. Any of these makers will turn out an awesome jacket, and they all use awesome leathers. It's really a matter of who can give you the customization options that you're looking for. So, I think you'll be happy with a BK jacket. I also think you'd be happy with the quality of Aero or Eastman.
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
I recall Ken at Aero (Scotland) mentioning the 1756 was his favorite cut (it was originally manufactured by Perry Sportswear Inc., though no name is on the label). I haven’t seen an Aero, but since they list it as the slimmest and most flattering cut it is certainly worth consideration given your preferences.

 

MrBlue

Member
Thanks I'll have a look at the 1756.

Does anyone have an opinion of the BK Civilian ANJ 3? Saw it on the website and I must say it looks really nice.

That's available in Goatskin or horsehide though. I'm leaning towards horsehide - thoughts?
 

Brettafett

Well-Known Member
Skip, a member here has one of BK's ANJ 3s, looks great.
They also have a 1756 and a Perry among their originals.... So can make those.

The 1756 is trim, high arm holes and often tends to be a bit shorter, compared to some other contract at a given size. It was a late war contract, that still retains a collar stand. The neck line sits quite high.
Better for really trim/ skinny people. Im not sure how comfortable to actually wear. Perhaps others here could comment.
 

MrBlue

Member
I'm definitely not skinny. I'm quite a big guy I suppose, 6'1 90kg/200lb. But I wear extra slim fit shirts in medium. Relatively big shoulders I think.

Well I've got a lot of very helpful information. Now I need to wait to hear back from all 3 of the major vendors, and then make my decision. I'm leaning towards BK but there is some stuff that I'd need to discuss in terms of customisation options.

Also I don't have a tape measure - think I mentioned. Getting one soon and then I can get those measurements.

In terms of measurements, BK says to measure a good fitting jacket that you have, and if you don't have one, measure a close fitting shirt instead (omitting measurements that would make no sense on a shirt). I guess I'll measure my BF-109 jacket, but the torso length will be wrong. It is a fighter pilot's jacket from a similar era, but I don't think it is comparable. Might have to leave that measurement out and explain why.
 

Brettafett

Well-Known Member
There is a guide on the forum on how to measure a leather jacket accurately.
A couple of things.
With BK, I have found going up one size has always provided the best fit, ie for m,e with a 40" chest (wearing a t-shirt) I got a 42 (42 long) = perfecto!!!
I will post pics later here of a BK Dubow 40 I tried and then compared to the 42 I actually ordered. You'll see the fit difference. And the 40 was initially recommended to me due to exacting measurements I provided.
BK also asks if you want a trim, regular of relaxed fit (or something to that effect), please be careful of the trim fit. The regular is much more practical and still retains the classic trim profile.
Be careful of a 'trim' fitting jacket. May look ok standing still in front of a mirror, but you have to live with this. If its not comfortable, you won't wear it.

Please do request leather samples from Eastman, BK and Aero. The latter two may even send knit and thread options also. Invaluable when considering a jacket.

If you go the Aero route, I'd look at their Bronco for a trim, but wearable jacket... over the 1756. The Bronco has a classic outline and pedigree, and is a touch trimmer than the Aero models per same size - you may need to go up one size. (I've had both) Go Vicenza or Jerky, but check and compare samples....
If you decide you do want something more WW2 classic, and want dark seal and rust knit, Aero 18775 or 15142. These models will have a touch more room comp to the Bronco, but that does not mean baggy at all.

BK, again, they can hopefully send you samples of leather, knit and thread, compare all. You can even mess with the samples and see how they may/ may not 'wear' or 'age'...
I'd say look at the Roughwear (great pattern for broad shoulders) or Werber models for a trim fit (there are a few reviews on here of these models). Perhaps their Star Sportswear also.
The Dubow and Aero models have a touch more room in the lower torso/ waist area. And the Cable pattern is all round most comfy per given size, I recon.

I am really glad you are taking your time. There are a lot of guys here who have experience with all of these makers and have been around for ages.

Bottom line really, is a jacket from any of the top makers will be amazing and a winner. They all have their unique takes, but they are all based on original jackets, are well made and use the best materials.
 

MrBlue

Member
Thanks.

Yeah, I've been reading about the fit of the A2 and why a lot of the slimmer ones are not so comfortable to wear. And that seems to be the reason why the ANJ 3, M422, G1 etc all had bi-swing backs and underarm gussets - to allow for a trim fit without sacrificing too much in the way of comfort.

Its a good thing I started to look into this now. I was thinking, oh I'll just order a jacket in September and it will take a week or two to arrive. I suppose I didn't consider the possibility that I might want anything either custom made or altered.

Funny you mention long fits - I had to get the sleeves on my formal jacket lengthened. Incidentally the sleeves on my BF-109 jacket look fine to me.
 

Brettafett

Well-Known Member
Yes, its par for the course for me.
I tend to add 1" or so to sleeve and body lengths. Just gives me the fit I prefer, when I lift my arms the knit cuffs don't ride to my elbows.
Also accounts for some slight shortening of the sleeves that sometimes occurs when creases form at the elbows and under the arm pits, after some wear. I've found that after a few months, my sleeves tend to lose around 0.5"...
Remember, any leather jacket, specifically a horsehide A-2 may at first feel a bit stiff (not always), but will wear in and loosen up quickly. The more you wear it, the more it will conform to you body.
 

Brettafett

Well-Known Member
Here a quick montage of my BKs - All of these are Seal Liberty horsehide (but the pics do not show colours accurately)
Left to right.
Im 5'10/ 5'11, 72kgs, 40" chest, athletic build
Dubow 1755 40 regular, Dubow 27798 42 long, RW23380 42 long
BK 1755 40 27798 42l RW23380 42l.jpg
 

MrBlue

Member
If I decide to go with an ANJ 3 or G1 (G1 admittedly unlikely I think), how does a rayon lining compare with cotton?

Does it make you sweat a lot? Is it durable?
 

Brettafett

Well-Known Member
Rayon lining is pretty strong, Ive never had any issue. I think cotton may be considered 'stronger' & more hard-wearing, but that's exactly it... how hard you wear the jacket.
Personally I find it super comfortable. G-1s, M-422as etc besides the bi-swing, its that lining.... Super comfy to wear. I would not say it adds warmth, in fact my ELC M-422a was not that warm surprisingly.
The mouton collar however, is a great wind-breaker and does help on those wintery days. But again, does not help in Summer months.

I think an ANJ-3 is a fantastic balance between the A-2 and USN jackets.
Based on above conversations, BK and Aero could make one for you.

Im surprised no one has yet asked Shawn of Fivestar Leathers for one. All he needs to do is leave the mouton off his G-1. No, won't be original maker authentic, but for the price, would make a great practical all-round beater.

Another thought, is a G-1 with a leather collar. We know originals like this exist, likely removed while on tour... (Vietnam era?) I have not seen evidence anyone made these officially.
I know Cockpit's Forrestal version is based on an original.
In the moive Tuff Turf, James Spader wears one also. This has been discussed on the forum recently. I really like the idea. If ELC offered the option for their 55J14 without the mouton, I may have to part with some ££
 

MrBlue

Member
Thanks!

Yeah, there are aspects of the various A2s and the ANJ3 that I like.

I prefer the collar, front pockets and zip arrangement of the A2s, especially the RW. But I like the bi-swing back and under-arm gussets of the ANJ 3.

Anyway, nothing to do now but wait for a response from the various vendors. Based on what is going on at the moment, I may be waiting for a while!
 

MrBlue

Member
So, this is what I have at the moment. I think it fits me pretty well - are the arms long enough though?

I don't want to get a jacket too similar to it. I'm not yet at the stage of the addiction where I'd have multiple A2s in similar colour schemes!

I must say, some of the russet A2s are amazing. So, I think I'd either go a lighter colour than the below jacket, or a darker colour.

The only problem I'm having with a darker colour is finding a knit that looks really good on it. To my eye, it looks like you would need a knit about as dark as the leather for it to look good. If you can't find something super dark, then medium brown is okay, but personally I have decided that rust knit is not for me.

P1020514.JPGP1020512.JPG
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
I would say about an inch more in both the torso length and the sleeve length. Other than that, good fit.

I'm a fan of the russets too. Unfortunately, BK's russet liberty is about that color, maybe a bit lighter.

When it comes to matching knits to dark leather, I'd actually go in the opposite direction: really dark leather is rather muted, so you want something that pops a little bit. My suggestion would be either red rust or dull purple. The pictures on BK's site of the Arco 18775 and the Dubow 1755 show them off nicely.
 

Brettafett

Well-Known Member
I can't speak for Aero, not sure what knit they have going at the mo.
ELC only offers the mid brown knit, unless you get their Dubow or 50 cal, then they have the purple brown.
BK has a bunch of options. The Dubows I show above, the two on the right have the mid brown knit with Seal liberty. I have a BK Dubow in the sale section, which is the Seal Liberty and slightly darker WW2 brown knit.
This darker brown knit with the dark seal brown Liberty hide could look nice. The mid brown would go well with the russet through (see Mulcebers BK russet liberty).
Get your samples and you will enjoy hours going over them, will help you to decide.
 

Brettafett

Well-Known Member
Regs length, Id say that jacket, for the style is correct.
For an A-2 I'd go that, plus knit. Knit is around 2.5" to 3" and my preference is when I lift my arms, then the cuffs must end just off my wrists. Not 1 or 2 inches up my arm.
Thats a personal thing.
 

MrBlue

Member
I would say about an inch more in both the torso length and the sleeve length. Other than that, good fit.

I'm a fan of the russets too. Unfortunately, BK's russet liberty is about that color, maybe a bit lighter.

When it comes to matching knits to dark leather, I'd actually go in the opposite direction: really dark leather is rather muted, so you want something that pops a little bit. My suggestion would be either red rust or dull purple. The pictures on BK's site of the Arco 18775 and the Dubow 1755 show them off nicely.
Thanks! Well at least it will help me get the right measurements, when I do buy. The problem I have with such big differences in leather colour and knit colour is that I think it makes it harder to match the jacket with other clothes. I do want the thread to pop out a little though.

I can't speak for Aero, not sure what knit they have going at the mo.
ELC only offers the mid brown knit, unless you get their Dubow or 50 cal, then they have the purple brown.
BK has a bunch of options. The Dubows I show above, the two on the right have the mid brown knit with Seal liberty. I have a BK Dubow in the sale section, which is the Seal Liberty and slightly darker WW2 brown knit.
This darker brown knit with the dark seal brown Liberty hide could look nice. The mid brown would go well with the russet through (see Mulcebers BK russet liberty).
Get your samples and you will enjoy hours going over them, will help you to decide.
Aero came back to me and were very helpful BUT they can't send samples at the moment because the factory is still closed and will be for at least a month. They can customise the thread colour at least.

BK haven't got back to me, Eastman said that they don't do customisation at all. So, if I want an Eastman, I have to take it as it comes. Bit of a problem for me because I'm not sure whether their seal brown is as dark as I'd want. Of course I could go russet, and they do have beautiful russet jackets.
 
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