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Current Alpha Industries MA-1 "Classic" Review

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by MeachamLake, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. bn1966

    bn1966 Call Me a Cab

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    Just checked SOF, sizes appear to come up small according to their guide.
     
  2. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    That one looks like a good fit - not too short at all.

    I wonder what their relative standard is - I've seen some places say that on the bass that they think every one wants 'em to fit like a tent! ;)
     
    bn1966 likes this.
  3. bn1966

    bn1966 Call Me a Cab

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    I wondered too what sort of fit they advocate :) Marquee???????
     
    Edward likes this.
  4. MeachamLake

    MeachamLake A-List Customer

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    Soldier of Fortune confirmed to me today that the "2015 Green" Alpha MA-1 on their website with grey knits is simply an old photograph, which is a shame. The ones they have are the same ones I received, with the green knits.

    Had a great phone call with Eastman today, who were absolutely fantastic on the phone giving advice on their Buzz stock. Hopefully tomorrow I will place an order!
     
    Edward and bn1966 like this.
  5. Edgar Laurel

    Edgar Laurel One of the Regulars

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    Buzz sem to have some nice MA1 jackets also. Quality is not a problem with those guys AFAIK.
     
    bn1966 likes this.
  6. MeachamLake

    MeachamLake A-List Customer

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    Well, I ordered my brand new Buzz Ricksons MA-1 today. Hurrah.

    Delighted at the fact I will be receiving a high quality jacket, I go out to meet my girlfriend for lunch in a great mood. As I park my car up, a sudden gust of wind catches my door and sends it slamming into the car parked next to mine. Uh-oh. Big dent on their door. :( I leave a note apologising profusely.

    Lady texted me later on to thank me for my honesty, and said it's not too bad - plus it's quite an old car. Said she will decide what to do about it this weekend. If she decides to repair it, then I can imagine certain places will charge Buzz Rickson MA-1 money for a door repair. Here's hoping I won't have to return it, although I only have myself (and the wind) to blame!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  7. Edgar Laurel

    Edgar Laurel One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    Porto, Portugal
    Hope you don't have to call your new MA-1 "gone with the wind".
     
    bn1966 and MeachamLake like this.
  8. MeachamLake

    MeachamLake A-List Customer

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    LOL! :D
     
    bn1966 likes this.
  9. MeachamLake

    MeachamLake A-List Customer

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    Okay, the story continues...

    As it turned out, Eastman sadly did not have any of the standard fit Lion Uniform MA-1's left - unfortunately, this was an error on their website. They did have the slender fit MA-1 left, so I tried that and it arrived today.

    Firstly, this is an insanely beautiful, incredibly high quality piece of clothing. The nylon is in a different league to the Alpha's - thick, weighty, and tough feeling. The fit is 90% there for me - the length on the body I think is fine, and the sleeves are pretty good, certainly better than that Alpha - but it's just a smidgeon too tight for me around my lower back area, and simply wasn't comfy. The interlining on these jackets is incredibly thick, basically the same as my Buzz N3B, so the room inside is greatly reduced. If they did an XXXL (46) or had the regular fit MA-1 left in a 44, I think this would be a perfect fit for me. So the hunt for an MA-1 continues here, sadly!

    However, Eastman - who have been absolutely fantastic - suggested I try the L-2, which they have left in a size 44. Externally it measures identically to the slender MA-1, but has mininal lining so should be a much better fit on me. I also prefer the idea of being able to layer underneath it - with the MA-1, I reckon you'd boil up quickly! So by the end of the week it should arrive and I'll let you guys know how it is...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    El Marro and bn1966 like this.
  10. bn1966

    bn1966 Call Me a Cab

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    Tried an XXL MA-1 myself at the 'Pop Up' shop & thankfully it was a bit snug, XXXL probably would have parted me from some hard earned....

    Keep us posted on the L-2 :)
     
    MeachamLake likes this.
  11. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

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    I dunno guys. An XXXL BR MA-1 might not be the way to go. Mine is wider through the chest and body than my XXL, and the result is that because of the thick, stiff(ish) interlining, it kind of hangs off me like I'm wearing a big green nylon bell. The waistband doesn't hold my waist very much.
    I think these jackets were supposed to be trim, but because they are bulky, they just don't look trim in photos. Also, most of us are so used to seeing loosely/baggily worn flimsy cheap copies of the style, that our perception of how an MA-1 should fit is maybe distorted too I think.
    Really, I can wear a thick sweater under my XXXL, and it was never designed for that (in fact, it's too hot!). I normally wear my XXL with a t-shirt, even when it's snowing.
     
  12. MeachamLake

    MeachamLake A-List Customer

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    Ahh - I meant a slender fit in an XXXL would be perfect for me.

    As it stands, a regular fit XXL would be a good fit for me but nobody in the UK stocks them sadly.
     
  13. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

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    @MeachamLake, ah, totally my mistake, sorry.
    I don't think I'll ever be able to wear a slim/slender/tight fit anything my whole life :(
     
  14. bn1966

    bn1966 Call Me a Cab

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    L-2B is one of my favourite jackets, my '79 Alpha Service issue version has broad shoulders & chest. I wear it like a cardigan in warmer weather.

    Length is an issue, some are very short, didn't matter over a flight suit :)
     
  15. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage Call Me a Cab

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    With respect, the originals were made in only a few sizes, so there was never a possibility of a "proper" fit. I've seen some significant differences in old photos.
     
  16. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

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    Hi Doc!
    Yeah, I just kind of meant that perceptions are that these jackets should be looser and vaguer than they are. Compare (for example) even the loosest fitting MA-1 photo in jetpilotoverseas with models wearing BR jackets. Even the models have been given over-sized jackets to wear. And this is reflected in BR's sizing system. The XXL MA-1 (which equates to a size 46 in other BR styles) is perfect for my 48 chest, and the XXXL is like a 50). And I think this reflects popular misconceptions about just how baggily these jackets were worn. Clearly BR customers were sizing up so tag sizes adjusted to account for it IMHO.
     
  17. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I wonder how much the sizing and perception is affected by how these jackets were originally worn, i.e. over a fairly bulky flight suit. I suspect that if I had an MA1 that was the correct fit for my size (as labelled) over the top of a flightsuit, then worn with civvies it might well be on the baggy side. I suspect this is just part of the issue you get when you adapt something designed to be worn in a very specific context for an alternative use.

    With Buzz, it's a real shame that they aren't more available in the UK. AFAIK, Eastman, as the EU(? Pretty sure I read that somewhere) distributor, seem to get stock in once a year or something. I've looked at a few Buzz jackets over the years, but it seems very rare to see my size in stock. I do have an XL B15C mod that fitted me nicely (I have to lose some weight again for that to be the case once more, and I also need to have the knits redone as the $%^&ing carpet beetles got to them) as a 44, but it seems to be rare enough to find anyone in the UK with those in stock.
     
  18. MeachamLake

    MeachamLake A-List Customer

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    Location:
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    Indeed, the fit was dictated by the original purpose and accompanying items. This is most obvious with jackets that had no accompanying trousers - i.e, the G-1, B-6 etc. Much longer and easier to wear. The bomber jacket styles (MA-1, B15 etc) are certainly not baggy in the slightest - this must be a perception that's come from the ways that designers/streetwear brands altered the shape of them in the late 80s/early 90s perhaps?

    Give Eastman a call. I forget the chap's name who I've been dealing with, but he's incredibly nice and very helpful. He told me that there's a new drop of stock expected in the coming weeks, but sadly he couldn't see any size 44 stuff on the way. Beyond that, however, I believe the new AW18 collection is going to be unveiled soon, so it's worth getting in touch with them to see if you can get yourself to the front of the queue for the larger sizes when they arrive later this year perhaps?

    If you want to sell that B-15 Mod by the way, I would be first in line to consider it...a standard size 44 would suit me nicely but I can't find one anywhere!
     
  19. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

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    @Edward, why do you think flight suits were fairly bulky?
    Every US one I've ever seen a photo of from the pre-nomex, post WWII era was a single layer of cotton worn over a cotton undershirt, underpants, and socks. Kind of an olive drab or blue boiler suit.
    There were some fully fleece/alpaca lined versions in WWII, but they were a complete get-up, nylon jackets weren't designed to be worn over them but instead of them, surely?
    D. Sherwood in his book 'Officers in Flight Suits' talks about 'poop suits' (immersion suits) that were presumably thicker than cotton since they were essentially dry suits, but I suspect insulating layers were worn underneath rather than over them (I've seen modern ones- they look extremely uncomfortable- but never a pre-nomex era one).
    Looking at jetpilotoverseas website, I can't immediately see anyone wearing a nylon jacket over anything other than the kind of thin cotton flight suit.
    All the gear worn over flightsuits (speed jeans, life vest, radios etc) makes the whole thing look bulky, but that stuff would also be worn over the jacket.
     
  20. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

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    I'm going to stand by my (possibly ill-advised) position that most people in society today have opinions about how this jacket 'should' fit based solely on seeing people wear cheap baggy cut, worn oversized nasty civilian Alpha jackets, rather than real pilots wearing the real thing, and that this incorrect perception of sizing is now so dominant in the wider culture that it actual informs the wearing of even high-quality repros.
     

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