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How do YOU break in a new jacket?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by leopardstyle, May 8, 2012.

  1. leopardstyle

    leopardstyle One of the Regulars

    Hey folks, I recently purchased a Buzz Rickson A-2 from the guys over at Historical Preservation. And I must say I am enamored with this jacket. I'm pretty sure it was The last Buzz Rickson they had available and it just turned out to be size, 42. The way I chose the jacket is that I got bit by the A-2 bug. I tried a few lesser brands but none of them satisfied either my girlfriend or myself. I love the pics of Aeros and Good Wears, but when you get bit by the bug as hard as I did you don't have 4 months to a year to wait for the cure! :p

    Charlie over at Historical Preservation was the one who helped me with my order. I was really happy with his service. He answered my many questions without ever seeming bothered. When I had my decision narrowed down to the ELC Star Sportswear and the Rickson he told me his personal preference was for the Star Sportswear. I respected that because a lot of times sales people won't go out on a limb and tell you what they think. But for me the Buzz Rickson came in the color I really wanted, dark seal. And also some people have said the ELC's run a little baggie, and for me there's not much that bothers me more than a jacket that doesn't tailor fit my body to a certain extent. The Japanese often have a great sense of aesthetics and I heard the BR's fit well. So I pulled the trigger. :eusa_clap

    Let me tell you I couldn't be happier than getting the jacket I ended up with. I find the cut, which as I mentioned is very important to me, to be right on the money. Actually better than I could have imagined. And I love the leather. For some reason it reminds me of a high quality baseball mitt from back in the day. That might not sound good to some, but to me I really dig it. Further since I live in Los Angeles, the jacket is great for both a sit down dinner atmosphere as well as an Indie music concert.

    Now to my question. Some of the other jackets I tried on were made of goat skin and were very soft right out of the box. I like the horse hide a lot, I feel that it's really going to conform to my body, though it does start out a bit more stiff. I wonder how you more seasoned jacket buyers break in your new horse hide jackets when you first get them. Do you roll them up and sit on them? Beat them up? Give them the hot water treatment? Sleep in them, which I've thought about doing? Put them on and move around in an exaggerated way? Or just plain old wear them until they submit?

    Thanks guys. And thanks for all your great wisdom that I studied for a couple of months and led me to my very beloved A-2 jacket. :eusa_clap
  2. Rudie

    Rudie One Too Many

    I'm sure others will tell you different, but I say just wear it. I've had my Aero in brown FQHH for about a year now and wore it regularly, about twice a week, not more. I also wore it whenever it rained. It has already developed a wonderful patina. Rolling it up and sitting on it might result in kaput seams. I wouldn't want to risk that.
  3. I just wear a jacket to break it in. No fancy techniques required.
  4. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

  5. leopardstyle

    leopardstyle One of the Regulars

    Rudie, thanks for the input. When you wore it in the rain, was it heavy rain or light or did it matter? I've been wondering how much I should expose it or keep it away from rain.
  6. Rudie

    Rudie One Too Many

    I believe it depends on how it's tanned. I'm no expert here, but I know that Aero's FQHH is stuffed with oils so much that no conditioner is needed for the first few years and rain doesn't hurt, it just helps getting the leather softer. So I wear my jacket even in heavy rain. But I'm not sure this is the way to go with your BR. JanSolo can probably help you with this, he's quite knowledgeable when it comes to the different kinds of leathers.
  7. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    As I say every time this query comes up - JWTDT (just wear the damn thing)! ;)
  8. Peacoat

    Peacoat Call Me a Cab

    If your jacket isn't uncomfortable to wear, and some of them can be, then just wear it until it breaks in. Hoosier Daddy likes to mist his frequently while wearing it, to soften the leather. I also use this technique. I have rolled them up and sat on them, and put them under the mattress to sleep on them. These techniques seem to loosen the leather somewhat, but I don't do anything more drastic than that to help the break in process.

    Edit Note: If I get a jacket during warm weather, I wear it quite a bit in the house for the first few weeks to get it ready for colder weather. My wife used to think it odd, but after I explained the reasoning, she now accepts my methods. Almost all of my jackets will be worn on a motorcycle, and I don't like to wear an overly stiff jacket while riding--thus the in house break in.
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  9. tonypaj

    tonypaj Practically Family

    The way I see it, it is a dead horse, so training is kind of irrelevant. Leather jackets are all different, I just leave them alone. When I wear them, I do not care about conditions. They are meant to cope with that stuff. After that they will look like what they look like...
  10. The A2 weight HH is different than the heavier FQHH that has the much more waxy finish.
    I don't really care to walk in the rain...so I suggest getting a plastic spray bottle..filling with tap water...then spray the hide on the jacket down until quite wet..then wear it until it has dried. It will relax..mold and shape to your body. You can put the collar under the tap(get quite wet) and mold and shape it as well. After it dries..take a damp cloth and wipe off any water spots. After several spraydowns it will lose it's stiff appearance and wear much more comfortable. I've done this to all my new HH jackets over the last 12 yrs. Both A2 HH and FQHH especially.
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  11. BTW..if you ever decide to try the hot water treatment. (Wetting it with very hot tap water..and kneading it while wet)..keep in mind that the hot water and heavily working the leather can remove some of the finish. This technique should be done with caution and uniformly over the whole jacket.
  12. I'll wear it in the rain if I want to accelerate the break in process. Exercice my arms/shoulders while walking around to loosen up the leather. Let it air dry on a wide shouldered hanger or on a towel away from any heating vent.
    Does a great job of getting things started.
  13. leopardstyle

    leopardstyle One of the Regulars

    I'm getting some great input here. HD, thanks for the detailed advice. When you give it the water spritzing treatment, do you feel that the jacket ends up with a different feel than it would if it were simply worn in? For example, do you think the leather has a more relaxed feel doing that, or do you see it as more of speeding up a process?
  14. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Washing machine, warm water, soap. No trouble if the jacket is well made. Saves time and after 25 years of owning leather, I hate breaking in jackets.
  15. ButteMT61

    ButteMT61 I'll Lock Up

    I will literally run the shower all hot. Step inside, and hold it under there (on those with knits, I tuck those in) and soak it.Let it sit ~30 minutes, then start with the kneading, twisting, etc. for a bit. I'll then either wear it, or hang it up on a good, strong and large hanger. Usually I do this in the 7-8PM time slot, then it's still slightly damp the next day, but wearable. Do this a couple times and it will not be stiff and start to show some nice character. I know it's not for everyone, but I've done it on many jackets now and it's never caused an issue. But if you want to start more safely, do as HD said and spritz it until damp. These things are tough.
  16. Well..it depends upon what enviroment you 'just wear' the jacket in. If it never gets wet..it will still crease and relax to various degrees over time. Wetting it down(very wet) accelerates the process more evenly while wearing it..but also allows for shaping the collar...pocket flaps,etc. It can rid the jacket of the 'Cadet look' and add charactor to the leather more rapidly. You control that effect by how many times you want to spray it and wear it until dry. Wearing it while wet is the key for this process.
  17. ryans

    ryans New in Town

    Wear it to bed. After a few days it will become your second skin.
  18. How about wearing it to bed...'WET'....lol
  19. ButteMT61

    ButteMT61 I'll Lock Up

    If you don't mind being single by sunrise, go for it lol
  20. Hammer Down

    Hammer Down One of the Regulars

    I once ruined a perfectly good new Schott 641 Horsehide by rolling it up and pressing down on it with my knees. It stretched out in all the worst places. I was very disappointed.

    Be careful with your pride and joy! If it were me, unless I had horsehide that was bleeding on shirts, I would just wear it and let it break in naturally. Butte has some great advice to avert bleeding.

    The best looking jackets IMHO are the ones that are worn a lot. It's hard to imitate the wear of daily life. Time and experience are a magical combination.

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