Trim A-2s on a budget?

flymonkey

New Member
Hey everyone, I'm currently shopping around for an A-2 for my fiancé! With a max budget of $700, I'm wondering what would be a good choice.

There's a lot of hype over the Platon Dubow, which looks really great, but it seems they aren't taking orders anymore due to COVID. With that in mind, it seems that US Authentics is having a sale on their A-2's - am wondering if their goatskin A2 would be a good choice and whether it is durable. I don't think we're particularly picky about period details, but we are picky about not having a billowy or chunky-looking A-2! I'm also wondering about the quality of US Authentics compared to the cheaper options like Five Star and AVI - is the leather quality of US Authentics actually better for the price? Also, heard a lot about Gibson & Barnes, but I've heard that their jackets tend to be oversize/fuller in cut. Is this something that can be remedied just by sizing down? Happy also to hear more suggestions! Thanks all!

Size of fiance:
Height5'11
Weight165
Chest42
Shoulder17.8
Sleeves24.5 (35 dress shirt)
Center-back30.8
Waist size32
inseam34
 
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mulceber

Well-Known Member
It sounds like your price range is somewhere under $600, since you didn’t mention Aero, Bill Kelso, or Eastman. If so, I think Five Star is probably your best bet. Either that or keeping your eye on eBay, the VLJ’s buy/sell section and Eastman’s classifieds page for a deal on a used Eastman or Aero.
 

flymonkey

New Member
It sounds from your price range is somewhere under $600, since you didn’t mention Aero, Bill Kelso, or Eastman. If so, I think Five Star is probably your best bet. Either that or keeping your eye on eBay, the VLJ’s buy/sell section and Eastman’s classifieds page for a deal on a used Eastman or Aero.
Thanks for the response!! For the above, it seems like their jackets start around 650 EUR, which brings it up to over 700 USD - let me know if I'm getting it wrong though, would definitely jump on any of the above for $700 haha. But yeah $700 is the tip-top of the budget for me.

And got it, thanks - I have to admit, the lower price of Five Star makes me wary, but it seems to be well-regarded around here. Out of curiosity, what are the pitfalls of US Authentics comparatively?
 

flymonkey

New Member
Get a used one as Mulceber suggests. If you add your size (or the size of your fiance) a nice soul here just might get in touch with you...worth a try...!
Thanks!! I'll keep an eye out for used ones!

Size of fiance:
Height5'11
Weight165
Chest42
Shoulder17.8
Sleeves24.5 (35 dress shirt)
Center-back30.8
Waist size32
inseam34
 
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mulceber

Well-Known Member
You’re correct about (Aero’s?) price, but we were suggesting buying used. Most leather jackets lose at least a third of their value as soon as you put them on.

Five Star jackets are quite well made, but nailing the historical details is still a work in progress. I don’t really see much talk about US authentic, and I don’t think they’re highly regarded.
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
Yeah, 35 inch sleeves would be somewhere down around your knees - unless you’re measuring from the neck, like a dress shirt?
 

flymonkey

New Member
Ah oops, yes I measured a dress shirt from the neck for the sleeves here! I updated the measurement to measure top tip of shoulder to wrist.
 

Brettafett

Well-Known Member
You've just measured me ;) Although Im more 160 give or take... 18 shoulders

I have the latest AVI A-2 incarnation and love it, size 42. I think these are still available..? Excellent jacket for the price. Based on an original Bronco in their collection, but some authentic details are lacking to the obsessive eye ;)
I would call it a lighter weight goatskin, super comfortable and yes, I'd say a classic trim profile for the right size...

Highly recommend a BK if you can scratch the extra cash.

Personally, not a fan of second hand. A lot depends on what you are after, what your requirements are... You can still find a bargain if you are patient and know what to look for for, or are looking for something specific.
But for me, and from my experience... cleaning and/ or refurbishing a jacket is costly and time consuming. Pay a few hundred more and you can get a brand new jacket in many cases custom sized if need be.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
For the amount of money in your budget , I think the two previous guys gave you some good advise . If you’re not adverse to buying used , you can pick up a fairly nice and clean top tier A2 like ELC or Aero for that kind of money . Now you can buy a US Authentic as well but it’s not going to come anywhere near the quality or workmanship of the two jackets I mentioned . On a good day you might even find a Good Wear someone has outgrown and wants to get rid of to help buy a new jacket.
The key to success however is you have to be willing to wait it out until something pops up for sale.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Here’s an example of what I was talking about, a very clean Aero that the seller lists as not even broken in yet. Unfortunately it’s a size 40 , not a 42. However, if you can wait it out size 42s in this kind of condition pop up occasionally.
Price $650.00
If you can wait it out however, those Platon DuBows are pretty nice at $500.00 a pop.
 

CBI

Well-Known Member
I would opt for 5 Star who will custom make you one for about $250. Shawn offers some premium hides that are as good or better than a US Authentic and Gibson and Barnes, etc. Their premium steer hide is about as good as any hide in the $1,000 range. 5 Star is still working out some authenticity details but if those are not super important, that's what I would do.

I am actually getting ready to order an A-2 for my daughter who is 17. She doesn't sweat the details and is going to have a super looking jacket. Used is a good idea also but again for LESS you can buy a super jacket for the size you need and choose the hide, knits, tread, lining, etc. From the time you order to arrival is about 10 days.
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
Their premium steer hide is about as good as any hide in the $1,000 range.
I wouldn't go that far. Bill Kelso's cow option for a while was Badalassi (£820 = $1050), which is arguably the Shinki of cowhide. Shawn's got some quality leathers, but they aren't boutique like that. That being said, I agree with you that if flymonkey wants a very well-made A-2, new, at a reasonable price, Five Star is the best bet.

If you can wait a month or two, you can buy one of Five Star's forthcoming Dubow A-2 jackets, which are going to be made from a pattern taken directly from an original, and from a new goatskin that the proprietor has been working on.
 
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CBI

Well-Known Member
I am going that far..........having owned numerous high end repros: 15 Good Wears, about 15 ELC, The few, Real McCoys, etc. The 5-Star premium steer hide is just about as satisfying (to me anyway). Once its gets worn a lot, its going to be within spitting distance of the $1,000 hides for 1/4 the price. Since the OP wasn't needing total authenticity and can't quite swing the retail higher end prices, 5-Star makes total sense.
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
You don't need to sell me on Five Star making sense. :) I'm currently putting together plans for a Five Star jacket in their premium steerhide. I've handled samples of the leather. I also own a BK A-2 in Badalassi. Five Star's steerhide is very nice, and will only improve with hard use, but the two leathers aren't in the same league.

But all this is sort of tangential to the question of whether Five Star would be a good choice for flymonkey, and the answer to that is emphatically "yes."
 

flymonkey

New Member
Wow, that's fantastic Brent - pulled the trigger on one of the Aero A-2 Broncos!! Thank you so much for the heads up!

Also thank you everyone for the recommendations of Five Star, actually inspired me to take a deep dive into Shawn's journey here...really cool to see his designs develop with input from everyone over time! Who knows, maybe I'll put in an order for myself sometime...haha. Thanks all!!
 
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