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Field Leathers Bespoke - what should I expect?

Carsonius

New in Town
Messages
4
Hello! As you could guess from the title, I've decided I can afford a bespoke, custom made leather jacket from Greg at Field Leathers, and so I've come to ask from those who have gone through it: what can I expect out of a process like this? What's he like? What questions should I be asking, how can I prepare to be able to answer his?

To add some context: I have never done anything like this before, not even remotely close. I've never owned a proper, everyday leather jacket (dedicated, partly-armored motorcycle stuff aside), never mind had one made for me. It has however been a bucket list kinda thing for years now, and I certainly prefer to buy nice instead of twice. The extent of my knowledge and research so far has been reading every single forum thread on this site in regard to Field Leathers that isn't a for sale post.

All of that said, I would greatly appreciate any help/information you're all willing to give me.
 

Aloysius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,431
I think Field Leathers is amazing, but is a very bad idea for someone new to this kind of thing.

There are really amazing Field jackets here, but virtually all of them are from people who have considerable awareness of how these things fit, deep closets of vintage and modern jackets, etc.

Which country are you based in? (That can help with what my next suggestions are.)
 

Carsonius

New in Town
Messages
4
I think Field Leathers is amazing, but is a very bad idea for someone new to this kind of thing.

There are really amazing Field jackets here, but virtually all of them are from people who have considerable awareness of how these things fit, deep closets of vintage and modern jackets, etc.

Which country are you based in? (That can help with what my next suggestions are.)
I live in the United States, northwest Ohio.

Is it really that bad of the idea? You're more than welcome to help me navigate a learning curve, if there really is one. This is exactly why I wanted to come here and ask about it. I would still like direct answers to the questions I've asked, however.
 

Brandrea33

One Too Many
Messages
1,046
I went custom on my first good leather jacket ( a Himel Imperial).

If I were to do it all over again, I probably would’ve started out buying less expensive used jackets and gone to retailers or makers in person to try on different patterns.

It took me 5 attempts to finally find a jacket that fits me well, and much of that was do to me not understanding what I was buying.

Take your time, read up on different patterns / styles to get an idea of what might fit you best.

Its a wonderful hobby, but it can be expensive and frustrating jumping right into the deep end lol.

Good luck!
 

AeroFan_07

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,338
Location
Iowa
I would agree with the thoughts listed above. I have done a few off the rack Aero's brand new (one of which was made by Greg Field while he still worked for Aero) , and then three custom Aero's. I still have two of those custom jackets, and no other Aero's left at this point. I do not wear either of the remaining Aero's all that often.

This is not the path I would encourage you to take, unless you simply have to have one of his direct patterns.

It's at least a year's wait as of now, and I sense he is extremely backed up...which is great job security for him.

Have you considered some of the US makers? There are several within the lower 48 that can do a pretty made to order jacket for you. Also are you intending to ride a motorcycle in this jacket you are planning to have made? If so, they are may indeed be better choices.
 

TartuWolf

Practically Family
Messages
937
Location
Tartu, Estonia
1 . Would not go custom without having tried various other jackets to get a really good feel and understanding of what you want.
2. Would not really go FL because of the mentioned crazy waiting time.
3. Would not go FL because he does not do custom anymore as far as I know.
4. Would not go FT if I'd live in US because there are just too many other crazy good options locally there.

So yeah, I agree with with @Aloysius - bad idea.
 

MrProper

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,884
Location
Europe
Hasn't Greg stopped offering customized jackets? Apart from that, the waiting time is very long. Probably too long for the first jacket, less of a problem if you already have 10 hanging in your closet. I would start the first jacket with something else. Especially if you're in the USA anyway.

Edit: Wrote the same as tartuwolf, sorry. Not seen ;)
 

cbez

One Too Many
Messages
1,042
Location
CA
I didn't really nail down what fit I liked and exactly what measurements were important to me until like my 12th jacket..all second hand.
 

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,858
I think Field Leathers is amazing, but is a very bad idea for someone new to this kind of thing.
I agree. I feel like Greg is still struggling to fine tune his basic patterns. When you go 'bespoke' (making adjustment to his basic pattern) you really need to know how to judge your mockup jacket and how alterations in one area will affect the fit of the jacket in another area.

In order to make this work you need to know how a jacket should fit and how you want it to fit. Not something you know as a first time buyer. My advice would be to either buy a jacket off the rack from established makers like Schott or Vanson or, if you want to go custom, order from a maker like Thedi Leathers. Theodoros is a pattern magician who knows what to do without the customer having to instruct him.

(I say this after having done three 'bespoke' projects with Field Leathers)
 

Aloysius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,431
I live in the United States, northwest Ohio.

Is it really that bad of the idea? You're more than welcome to help me navigate a learning curve, if there really is one. This is exactly why I wanted to come here and ask about it. I would still like direct answers to the questions I've asked, however.

Being based in the US, you have a lot of access to used jackets (via TFL and elsewhere) of 'known quantity' brands and models, which will help a ton in helping you gauge the jacket types and fit that work for you, not to mention different kinds of leather.

I mentioned TFL classifieds because we tend to sell jackets in pretty much a 'passing on' fashion, which means that you could get something, essentially see how it works on you, and if it doesn't move it on on here again.

When I say 'known quantity' models, I mean things like a Schott 613/618 or a Vanson Model B, etc, where the sizes are known and you'll get a strong reference point for what other things might or might not work. Likewise, the patterns of various Aero models are known quite well by the regulars here, so if you grab one on the board, we can probably give you feedback off of them.
 

Salmosalar

A-List Customer
Messages
414
FL are not making bespoke jackets anymore, so that route is closed off anyway - I would also recommend getting a feel for what works first via second hand options and understanding how your own measurements map onto particular patterns and then go custom afterwards. If you do go custom in the end I would recommend looking atThedi….
 

Jasonissm

Practically Family
Messages
526
I thought he stopped making custom designs, but has he stopped bespoke jackets entirely as well?
 

El Marro

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,485
Location
California
Is it really that bad of the idea? You're more than welcome to help me navigate a learning curve, if there really is one. This is exactly why I wanted to come here and ask about it. I would still like direct answers to the questions I've asked, however.
The only way to really navigate that learning curve is by trying out some different leather jackets and seeing how they work for you. Not just trying them on in a store, but wearing them every day in different conditions and during different activities.
A jacket that fits nice and trim may look great in photos but you might find that same jacket won’t let you reach the steering wheel comfortably.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have your Field Leathers jacket though. Because he has such a long lead time you have some time to Do your homework. Check out the classifieds and/or eBay and try to find something you like. Wear it for a while and see how it works, see what you would change if you could.
 

barnabus

One Too Many
Messages
1,380
Location
Britain's oldest recorded town
The only way to really navigate that learning curve is by trying out some different leather jackets and seeing how they work for you. Not just trying them on in a store, but wearing them every day in different conditions and during different activities.
A jacket that fits nice and trim may look great in photos but you might find that same jacket won’t let you reach the steering wheel comfortably.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have your Field Leathers jacket though. Because he has such a long lead time you have some time to Do your homework. Check out the classifieds and/or eBay and try to find something you like. Wear it for a while and see how it works, see what you would change if you could.

Absolutely this I think.

Also a couple of questions for the OP:

If you've never owned an everyday leather jacket, what makes you think you need to go custom to get one that works for you?

Unless you've tried and dismissed Vanson, Aero, etc, how can you be sure what extra satisfaction you'll be getting from custom?

Many thousands of people buy OTR jackets and enjoy years of happy wear.

Also, and maybe worth mentioning; look how satisfied some posters are here with vintage jackets they've acquired. That's about as far from bespoke as you can get.

Second question: if you've never owned an everyday leather jacket, maybe you're not actually a leather jacket person?

I love leather jackets and I've owned many over many years, but I never enjoy wearing them as much as I enjoy looking at them or seeing pictures of people looking cool in theirs.

It turns out I'm more of a canvas or a waxed cotton person than I am a leather person. A year-long wait and thousands dollars seems a brave way to find out if you are?
 
Last edited:

58panheadfan

One Too Many
Messages
1,538
Location
Switzerland
If you have no experience in custom ordering and how to do it, it will almost certainly fail. Also, a leather jacket from FL is a bad idea, as already mentioned for the reasons.
 

Will Zach

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,469
Location
SoFlo
If you are average built (ie not super tall and lanky, or short and stocky, you get my drift), and know your measurements (or rather, measurements of a leather jacket that fits you well) you'll have a good luck with off-the-shelf jackets sold here on TFL. Often in as-new condition between 70-50% of new retail. I mean a bespoke-like fit is possible or even likely if you play it right. Measure a leather jacket that fits you well, zipped up and lying flat. Key measurements are: 1) Shoulder seam to shoulder seam 2) Armpit to armpit 3) Shoulder seam to sleeve cuff 4) Back length from bottom of collar to hem 5) Hem width. These are a good start. Fields Leather jackets show up here if you are determined to get a Fields. Of course all that is moot if your body build is not average in any way - that makes the task more difficult and in some cases (like guys who work out and are ripped) you will really need bespoke. Leather is very unforgiving in terms of fit - a couple of inches here and there may mean a difference between a jacket that fits well and looks great and...well...not so much.
 

Aloysius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,431
If you are average built (ie not super tall and lanky, or short and stocky, you get my drift), and know your measurements (or rather, measurements of a leather jacket that fits you well) you'll have a good luck with off-the-shelf jackets sold here on TFL. Often in as-new condition between 70-50% of new retail. I mean a bespoke-like fit is possible or even likely if you play it right.

This is really key. Leather (except perhaps lambskin) is not like fabric. The jacket will necessarily change as it is worn and mould itself to the wearer in at least some ways.

It's not like say a suit, which will always fit best if it's bespoke, because you genuinely cannot dial in the base leather jacket to that extent. The right jacket will make its fit known through wear, if it is new, or pre-wear if it is vintage.
 

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