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Full custom Field Leathers Manhattan review

Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Was the wait too long? Yes

Did I get frustrated? Yes

Would I order again knowing the lead time would be 15 months? Definitively

The order

Ever since I got my first FL I wanted a second one. It had to be brown and when Greg showed me some pics of the beautiful brown semi aniline Shinki Horsehide he had sourced, I put in my second order. That was January 2021 when the lead time was said to be 6 months. I ordered the Idaho, similar to my first FL but with a couple of small tweaks.


I knew Greg was working hard on improving his patterns so I figured they would be ready by the time my order would be up for production. Unfortunately they were delayed once, twice and a couple of times more.
Fast forward one year and I had become quite frustrated. The new Idaho pattern still wasn’t finished and I was on the verge of cancelling my order. But then Greg told me the new ‘Manhattan’ pattern would be ready within a couple of weeks so I said f*ck it let’s get this over with and do a crosszip design instead.

The design

The fun of ordering a FL is that Greg allows you to come up with a custom design. Imo one should take advantage of that opportunity by designing a jacket one cannot get elsewhere. That’s exactly what I did. I came up with a 30s style aviator design which was a mix and match of design features I’ve seen on several other jackets, both vintage and repro.

My inspiration:


Getting the shape of the D pocket right isn’t easy, a little too wide or a bit too much curve and it looks totally off. It also has to look good relative to the shape and size of the lapels.



Greg did not offer any buttons when I put in my order over a year ago and therefore I decided to source them myself. Which turned out to be easier said than done: I’ve searched the internet back and forth without any success. Luckily @Yamahana was more successful and found these NOS 30s vegetable ivory art deco buttons. I used fiber reactive dye to get them to match the color of the Shinki pony hide.


Greg had run out of repro ball and chain zipper pulls by the time my jacket was up for production. Which meant even more delay but Greg made more than up for that by sourcing this original 30s Ball and Chain Talon.


The fit

Greg made a mock-up of the jacket based on the measurements I suggested. As a base we used Greg’s size 42 pattern (because pretty much every jacket I own is a size 42). Unfortunately the jacket just didn’t sit right on my body. There was material bunching up on my lower back and on the back of my arms (see middle pic). Because of that I suggested to rotate the sleeves backwards by 1”. Turned out I was wrong and they actually needed to be rotated forwards. Luckily Sam interpretated my suggestions that way so what you see in the pic on the upper right is the jacket with the sleeves rotated forwards. As you can see it sits much better on my body. BUT…the rotated sleeves also greatly limited forward reach, making the jacket feel very restrictive.
When I measured the back girth of the mock-up and compared it to one of my aviator jackets I realized I needed a lot more room in the back. Therefore I decided to go one size up from my normal size while rotating the sleeves by 0.5” instead of 1”, hoping that would enhance the fit without compromising the moveability too much.


The mock-up had a back girth of 16.5” (pretty tight as compared to this FW aviator). The final jacket measured just under 17.5”.

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Marc mndt

I'll Lock Up
Fit and Finish: FL vs FW


In terms of construction quality and attention to detail, both jackets are pretty much on the same (very high) level. The FL has one minor flaw though, which is where the panels come together above the back vent. Splitting hairs really. Anyway, Greg told me this is the first time he did this design feature in the brown pony leather (which happens to be quite bouncy). The leather just didn’t want to play along. The next time he said he’ll sew the seam shut for the first 1.5”. Like I said, splitting hairs. Only noticeable when inspecting the jacket with a magnifying glass (which is actually tempting to do because the jacket is just so damn perfectly executed).


Even though I went one size up from my usual size, the sleeves on the FL still feel a bit narrow and slightly restrictive as compared to the FW. But apart from the sleeves the FL has a much better overall fit. Moveability is great and the shape of the jacket perfectly matches my built, whereas the FW’s bottom hem is too wide for my waist. This is where the benefits of custom vs OTR really show.


Some additional pics



I'll Lock Up
Awesome jacket. Truly.

And not to inflate your noggin, but your write-ups are the best on TFL. Cheers bud.


My Mail is Forwarded Here
Both absolutely beautiful jackets. I like the way the Freewheelers looks on you more, but I think that is largely because of the deerskin leather and how it drapes. That could be different after the FL gets broken in more. Either way, they're both fantastic.
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Really beautiful! The gentle swoop of the main zip alone is quite a feat. Greg really is quite impressive with his attention to detail. The collar and lapels are really terrific too. Feels like an Art Deco jacket.

I’d say this one is dangerously close to being almost as cool as your vintage stuff:p

For me the FL is leaps and bounds above the FW. No contest.

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