ELMC Californian vs. Aero Half Belt-Pros and Cons?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by sammy, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. sammy

    sammy New in Town

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Gentlemen,
    I'm in the process of deciding my next leather jacket. I already have the Aero 1930s slim fit half-belt in brown FQHH that I purchased over 10 years ago. I'm debating between the ELMC Californian and another Aero slim fit half-belt. The color will be black and if I choose Aero, it will be in Vinceza leather. I want something lighter and more supple than the FQHH I already have. Between the two brands, how would you rate them on the following:
    -Fit
    -Construction
    -Leather quality

    Also, is Aero's premier range worth the additional cost? I was told by Aero that the premier range is slimmer with higher arm-holes; a feature that I like given that I have a trim, athletic build (36 chest, 28 waist).

    Thanks for your feedback!
     
  2. Bfd70

    Bfd70 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,365
    Location:
    Chicago
    Aero you can custom size to your spec. Even with any upcharge it will likely be less than ELMC. (Side bar. Standard and Strange carries ELMC Californian and currently has $200 gift card for $1,000 spent). Elmc would be nice for variety.
    Fwiw i have the same measurements as you and have a standard Aero 1/2 belt in Vicenza and find the fit very flattering.
     
  3. Guppy

    Guppy Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,906
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    I just picked up a Premiere range 1930s Half-Belt in black Vicenza about a month ago. It was my first experience with Vicenza leather. As many have said here, it's a lighter weight, less stiff, drapes better without need for breaking in. It's a nice lighter weight jacket for then I'm looking for that. Vicenza seems to vary quite a bit from batch to batch in terms of graininess, but this one that I have is rather nice, with a fairly tight grain.

    My only ELMC jackets have been Windwards. They're a lighter weight leather than heavy Horween CXL, as well, but not as supple and drapey as Vicenza.

    Common to both makers, I think they could stand to go with sturdier zippers. Aero's #5 Talon is a fine zipper, but not well suited to their really heavy leathers. It's more than adequate on a lighter weight CXL or Vicenza jacket, though, but for heavyweight leather I wish they'd go with at least a #8 or #10, particularly on their motorcycle jackets. For your purposes it shouldn't be a problem. I haven't had any problems with the zippers on the ELMC Windward so far, and the size of the zipper seems right, but they do feel a bit delicate and cheaper than I should think to expect from a $1300 jacket. As a result, I've been careful with mine, and baby it, which I'm sure helps contribute to the "no problems so far", but I have to say I would like to not feel like I need to baby a zipper, and that I could just zip up without thinking about it or worrying.

    Of the two, I think I'd probably give an edge to the Aero, in terms of looks, and also if you want a more custom fit Aero seem more amenable to making slight alterations, whereas ELMC jackets are off-the-rack, and your only real options are between regular and tall sizing (and they don't take returns on tall). But if their stock jacket will fit you well, then it's not really a concern.
     
  4. Carlos840

    Carlos840 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,313
    Location:
    London
    IMO the Eastman has a slight edge in build quality over the Aero.
    The stitching is slightly neater, needle holes are smaller, it just feels a little bit fancier than an Aero which to me feels more utilitarian.

    To me the biggest difference is the leather / lining thickness.
    The Eastman horse is noticeably lighter than CXL ( 1.53 kg / 3.37 lb for a Californian VS 2.55 kg / 5.63 lb for my CXL bootlegger) and although i don't have the weight of a Vicenza jacket on hand i know Vicenza is still heavier than ELMC horse.

    Add to that the super thin Rayon liner of the Californian and you end up with a jacket that is great to wear in the summer when it gets hot. I wear my Californian at temperatures where i would not be able to wear an Aero.

    Fit wise i think the ELMC is a very comfortable jacket, although i have to say that the "action back" is pretty useless and doesn't do much for range of movement. But then i don't rate Aeros very highly in that department either.

    Where the Eastman wins hands down IMO is the collar, it is one of my favourite collars and Aero doesn't make a similar one.

    Here are fit pics of mine, 42 Long:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. ton312

    ton312 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,829
    Location:
    Chicago
    I like both jackets. I’ve never handled anything from ELMC but have plenty of Aero HB’s under my belt. I think the key deciding factor is probably how much you want to customize the fit and finish. I took the more generous cut of a 50’s HB base and changed the collar, cuffs and back config, liner etc. . To my knowledge ELMC does not allow for this level of customization. 5D83C5AD-EC09-4833-957D-98F0441280D5.jpeg B199BD44-2FEF-4F34-AD6E-5AAE19950C3E.jpeg CED76F96-EBD4-47B3-B97E-AE4F69FF00FD.jpeg
    Both are very nice jackets but for the price I demand the type of options that Aero allows the customer to specify.
     
  6. Lebowski

    Lebowski Practically Family

    Messages:
    804
    Ton, your Aero HB does looks to be one of a kind, hardly possible to copy/repeat this beaut even when given all the correct specs to the maker. Supposedly hard to find such nice - such grainy and pliable, but still very thick and heavy - piece of CXL. Such jackets are usually on a show-window of any maker. This jacket talks.
     
    Benny Holiday and ton312 like this.
  7. Mich486

    Mich486 Practically Family

    Messages:
    850
    My suggestion is go Aero if you want CXL or have an unusual body type otherwise the Eastman imho is hands down a nicer design.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. ton312

    ton312 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,829
    Location:
    Chicago
    Minus the hand-warmer placement/angle...That's my only gripe with the Eastman, those hand-warmers are impossibly high/awkwardly angled. I never use them on most of my jackets but to me the ELMC sits them at a useless position and actually hurt the jackets overall aesthetic a bit. I actually think if the angle were a bit steeper it would really improve the jackets appearance. It's surely up to personal taste but that's the first thing I notice on that jacket. The back design is lovely though and I love where they sit the HB.
     
    Mich486 likes this.
  9. From these photos I think the Aero HB placement on the jacket looks much better than the ELC which seems too high.
     
    nick123 likes this.
  10. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,729
    Location:
    California
    anyone remember that thread with that GW breast pocket? Lol.

    I like both. A lot. But I'd go with chromexcel as per Ton.
     
    tmitchell59 and Carlos840 like this.
  11. Carlos840

    Carlos840 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,313
    Location:
    London
    I have to agree with this, i never use the pockets on my Californian because the leather is thin and i don't want the pockets to end up deformed and gaping, but if you plan on using them they are pretty uncomfortably high.
    For me they are pockets for things, not for the hands.

    But then this is really a nice weather jacket, i don't walk with my hands in my pockets when it is warm.
     
    ton312 likes this.
  12. ton312

    ton312 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,829
    Location:
    Chicago
    It's somewhat apples to oranges comparison as Carlos pointed out...the aero does feel more like a utility jacket, and the eastman almost seems closer to a cafe racer...a bit more sleek. Since the op isn't interested in CXL I should have posted a shot of my acquired via ksosazy/nick 123 vic 30's HB. Maybe I can find it...
     
  13. ProteinNerd

    ProteinNerd My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,659
    Location:
    Sydney
    If the ELMC fits you, I'd go that every time for a lighter weight jacket over an Aero.

    Dont get me wrong, I love my Aeros but ELMC beats them (slightly) in pretty much every aspect as Carlos mentioned. Plus that lining makes them a dream to wear, sure a nice tartan lining on an Aero looks nicer but to actually wear...It makes much more of a difference than I thought possible.

    As for the high half belt that HD mentioned. I always thought that as well and assumed it was a kind of design flaw but then someone posted a picture here of an original (I think it was on Ebay ) that the Californian is clearly a directly reproduction of. The placement of the half belt was identical....its just the design of this particular half belt jacket. TBH I never notice the height of the belt on my 2 ELMC Californians when wearing them.

    Just my 2c
     
    ai00344, Lebowski and Benny Holiday like this.
  14. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,266
    Location:
    Australia
    I don't like the patterns of those ELMC half-belts, for reasons already mentioned by others. Those pockets are a deal breaker - poor, crazy high placement and not practical and they just always look wrong to my eye.
     
  15. Mich486

    Mich486 Practically Family

    Messages:
    850
    Only who owns the jacket can tell for certain but they look alright to me:

    [​IMG][​IMG]



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,266
    Location:
    Australia
    If you have one and you're happy with it - that's great. They have a big following, so a few dissenters who think they are funny looking ain't going to make any difference. :D
     
    Captain Sensible likes this.
  17. Captain Sensible

    Captain Sensible One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    297
    Location:
    Scotland
    I have one and love it. The leather is a bit special.
     
    HPA Rep and Carlos840 like this.
  18. AeroFan_07

    AeroFan_07 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,085
    Location:
    Iowa
    I've yet to own or even handle an Eastman. These seem very nice, and I am sure the OP will not regret it if he chooses to go with one. I guess the customization factor would pull me toward a lighter, easier-wearing Vic leather Half-Belt, and as Tony indicates, there are two. Perhaps a 50's model this time around? Or maybe the Dustbowl? I think this jacket looks very intersting: http://www.aeroleatherclothing.com/product-detail.php?id=1470

    Even better - to the OP - could you post some fit photos of your 30's FQHH Half-Belt? Always great to see how they are gaining character...
     
  19. Captain Sensible

    Captain Sensible One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    297
    Location:
    Scotland
    Great idea! I can also recommend the Dustbowl, superb pleated back design.
     
  20. Superfluous

    Superfluous My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Location:
    Missing in action
    If the hand warmer pockets on the ELMC Californian were not so high, I would already own the jacket. It is particularly pronounced on long version because the additional length is added below the pockets. For me, it is not a functionality issue, but rather, an aesthetic issue — to me eye, it just looks odd. If ELMC moved the pocket down, I’d buy one in a heart beat.
     

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