Want to buy or sell something? Check the classifieds
  • The Fedora Lounge is supported in part by commission earning affiliate links sitewide. Please support us by using them. You may learn more here.

Leather Jacket Question for Athletic Build

MrEvoX

New in Town
Messages
2
Location
USA
Hi, new member here. I've been reading a bunch of great information here for the past few weeks and decided to join and ask for everyone's advice.

I'm looking to buy a quality leather jacket and from what I've read and seen on the classifieds, it looks like my best bet is to get something made to my measurements given that I'm fairly athletic looking. Since I have a 15.5" drop from my chest to waist when flexed, I think it's going to be a bit difficult to find something off the rack that's not going to restrict my movement or be way too baggy. I suppose my first question would be what maker generally seems to use patterns that are the most accommodating to athletic guys?

Height: 6'
Weight: 190 lbs
Chest, relaxed: 45.5"
Chest, flexed: 47.5"
Stomach/waist: 32"
Belt/hips: 34"
Biceps: 17.5"
Forearms: 14.5"
Neck: 18"

I've heard a lot of good things about ordering through Thurston Brothers and that's put Aero, Thedi, and Vanson towards the top of my list. I like the look of Aero's Hooch Hauler and the cafe racers from all three brands. I don't think I'd really layer too much with whatever I go with, maybe an undershirt, a thin henley, and a scarf at most. I'll probably just wear it with a t-shirt most of the time since I don't get cold too easily.

While I do ride a motorcycles, I'd like this to be more of an off the bike jacket but something robust enough to ride in if I had to. I'd like to have a good range of motion so I don't have to take the jacket off when driving. The Recaro seats in my car tend to put my arms in a more stretched out position than my bike does.

As for leather, I like the look of Russet Badalassi, natural Chromexcel, and maybe black for a cafe racer. I'm not a fan of the super quick aging I've seen on black Chromexcel jackets. I assume that natural doesn't age as quickly because there's less (or no) color to fade. Is this an accurate assessment? I'm also not familiar with the leathers that Thedi uses.

I know Aero cautions against interior pockets, but it seems like most Aeros on Thurston Bros' site have one. Would the pocket showing through be a lesser issue with a leather that isn't going to experience a lot of quick fading? I don't need any special pocket closures, just a place to put my sunglasses that's safe from zippers.

I'm sure I'll have some more questions as I think through all the details a bit more. Any insight and/or advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,243
Aero has the most aggressive chest to waist ratio drop, but it is 8” drop max in their most aggressive bike jackets. You’re like double that. Bespoke would be your only option.
 

MrProper

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,944
Location
Europe
I'm afraid most manufacturers who work with standard pattern limit the size difference to one or two sizes. E.g. 44 chest, 40 hem. I would simply ask directly at Aero, Lewis leather, Johnson leather etc.
If you like goatskin, you can make up any measurements you want at FiveStar.
 

mendelboaz

One Too Many
Messages
1,238
Location
The Netherlands
Being somewhat of an atheltic build myself, I find I usually don't get bothered too much by 'excess' leather at the waist. This excess material will get evened out as well by the width of your chest, in my experience. The buckles on Vanson jackets are very functional in trimming down the waist area, as well.

To me, the most important questions would be 1) what kind of jacket style do you like, and 2) what jacket maker ticks the right boxes for you in terms of leather used, hardware, functionality and fit? The first question comes down to personal preference, whereas you can only get a clear enough answer to the second question through trial and error. What I'm trying to say is: don't let your body type be the deciding factor in the jacket style of your choosing.

Most folks here already have multiple years of 'jacket experience', so they know which maker suits most of their needs. I personally really like some of the styles offered by Aero, but in my opinion they are far less functional than Vanson jackets. Movement on an Aero, to me, is more restricted because most of their styles don't offer the bi-swing back/full action back per standard, which most Vanson jackets do offer. Vanson ticks all the right boxes for me, also because their jackets always offer one or two inside pockets, and the sleeve zips close all the way for a tight fit.

As for your question about inside pockets showing through: I don't think this should be a concern. These are meant to be functional jackets, you want pockets to store your belongings, and only a chest pocket and two handwarmer pockets don't always get the full job done. If those inside pockets do show through a bit after years of wear, they won't look out of place at all next to all the other awesome creases and grain that will have formed on the leather. Just my two cents. These jackets aren't meant to look perfect or smooth like a freshly ironed dress shirt.

If you haven't owned any jackets by the makers you mentioned, I would suggest first trying to find a secondhand one in a size that you think would work based on your chest size. I would recommend something with a pit-to-pit of 24 to 25 inches, as this would give 2 to 4 inches of room in the chest area. This might be a bit on the snug side but it would probably work better with your trim waist than going up one size IMO. Second-hand Vansons can be had for 200 USD, if you're lucky. A size 44 would be your best bet, I think. Second-hand Aeros are a bit harder to come by at that price point. Get a regular-cut jacket in a size 44 (or whatever adheres to the pit measurement I suggested), see how that fits you, decide what could do with improving, and go from there. It also helps to ask the folks at Aero or Vanson for advice, or any other maker that you like.

Regardless of which maker you would prefer, my advice is to get a feel for what works for you in the secondhand market before splurging on a brand-new jacket without any experience.
 
Last edited:
Messages
16,515
Hi and welcome.

I've heard a lot of good things about ordering through Thurston Brothers and that's put Aero, Thedi, and Vanson towards the top of my list.

Aero is less be-spoke than Thedi and Vanson is pretty much OTR, at least at a standard price-point. Thedi does full on be-spoke to the point of making new patterns for individual orders that don't fit the classic mold.

While I do ride a motorcycles, I'd like this to be more of an off the bike jacket but something robust enough to ride in if I had to. I'd like to have a good range of motion so I don't have to take the jacket off when driving. The Recaro seats in my car tend to put my arms in a more stretched out position than my bike does.

Between Aero and Vanson, I'll definitely give Vanson an edge here. Though, while having never handled a Thedi jacket, I've heard they're very comfortable on a motorcycle so that's another reason for you to go with Thedi.

I assume that natural doesn't age as quickly because there's less (or no) color to fade. Is this an accurate assessment?

Yes and no.
Color fades if only the surface of the leather is dyed. Black leather jacket that's been dyed all the way through won't age any quicker than natural leather. If you're not a fan of fading, what you're looking for is aniline leather - or - leather that's been submerged into dye, soaked it up and is all is dyed through and through.

Would the pocket showing through be a lesser issue with a leather that isn't going to experience a lot of quick fading? I don't need any special pocket closures, just a place to put my sunglasses that's safe from zippers.

Don't worry about it.
The fuss they're making about the pocket show-through is in my opinion grossly exaggerated. And even if it happens, so what? Inside pocket is essential and no practical leather jacket should be without one. It's the best place to carry your valuables which is why I don't understand why a company taking great pride in producing brilliant, lifetime clothes, would advise against it.
 

Rich22

Practically Family
Messages
595
Location
G.B.
Definitely speak with the manufacturers direct. I'm 6'1 and a little heavier than you, and have done a lot of weightlifting and sport in my life, and have had all sorts of clothing issues, especially due to massive thighs. Your chest is huge compared to your waist, (while I have only a 10" drop) and when you find a jacket comfortable around your chest you will undoubtedly find the hem is much too big, and sometimes the shoulders are too.

Biceps were a big problem for me when I was 245lbs and really going for it in the gym, but now I'm lighter that issue seems to be reduced- your biceps measurement is huge, so bespoke is likely your only route. Speak to Thedi, I'd say, though others might make an exception for you and customise to your frame.

Edit: Natural CXL will age faster than black CXL, I'd say, rather than the other way around.
 
Last edited:

El Marro

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,510
Location
California
I think someone like Johnson Leathers should be at the top of the list because they can make you a cloth fit jacket in order to dial-in the measurements before making the real thing. Not sure where you are located but it would be even better if you could visit them in person to have them take measurements.
 
Messages
16,515
I think someone like Johnson Leathers should be at the top of the list because they can make you a cloth fit jacket in order to dial-in the measurements before making the real thing. Not sure where you are located but it would be even better if you could visit them in person to have them take measurements.

Absolutely this.
I am trying not to derail someone's choice of a maker if it seems like it wasn't just an arbitrary or most practical pick but instead something a lot of thought was given to, but for a full on bespoke piece, I think Johnson Leathers would be OP's best bet.
No intermediary, local maker (to the OP) thus simplified return / remake policy - Something that in this case really is an important factor - Plus I know from personal experience how fantastically detailed & in-depth JL's measuring process is.
 

AeroFan_07

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,395
Location
Iowa
Being of similar dimensions, (expect a bit wider at waist) I think what has been indicated about Johnson, or doing a semi-custom through Thurston Brothes makes a lot of sense. I met Carrie while they still had thier physical store, and there isn't anyone she cannot fit. Johnson will also do well with you if you decide to look into that, but it will be much more over the phone, sort of communication. Nothing wrong with that.

You could also look at Langlitz - although I am not personally a fan of thier styles these days. Lost Worlds is another option, if in your price range.
 

jglf

A-List Customer
Messages
430
Location
USA
Go full custom with Johnson leathers with a 15in drop. No other jacket maker will have a pattern to make you a slim/fitted jacket. You can start with 5* to nail down your jacket measurements and only be out like $300 with a fairly nice jacket. You’re like legit bodybuilder dimensions.
 

Aloysius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,613
The only off the rack pattern I can think of with this kind of huge drop is the Aero Indian Ranger, in its original repro cut.
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,243
What other members said about JL!
I totally forgot about JLs m500. My ATF. It has a decent drop, and can be tightened further with the laces, so in theory, you could probably get away with a 44 m500. Mine is a 40 and it can go down to the 18s from 24” P2P if I pulled it in really tight and hold my breath. So 44 would be 26” P2P and probably go down close to 18s waist and in theory should fit.
The m500 in size 40 would already be good for your biceps and neck so 44 would just be better. Go JL M500!
78255917-D262-4A10-B4B5-FE92AA952975.jpeg
 

roadking04

Practically Family
Messages
938
Location
The Rock 'n Roll Capital
All I can say is: GOOD LUCK. Your body type is the hardest to fit. Bodybuilders (the real deal, not just a guy who works out), who are leather jacket enthusiasts are VERY rare. NO MAKERS make a stock jacket to fit this very rare type of body. You will have to go custom if you want a fit like on this forum. A full on custom jacket for a first jacket can be very challenging/overwhelming.

I got into powerlifting and outgrew my Harley brand jacket and needed a new one for my motorcycle. In my prime, I was 5'10" 240ish, 49" chest, 36" waist, 20" arms (never got the 21 gun solute). I went with Vanson, filled out the order form, waited a year, got the jacket, and it never quite fit right on the m/c. Then tried a few times with Langlitz and they could not make a jacket that worked on the bike either. Then went with Johnson Leather. They got about the best fit for me.

So after about 6-8 years of trying to find the "perfect" motorcycle jacket, I wore out my shoulders (arthritis), and had to give up my powerlifting hobby for good. Now I am needing total shoulder replacement on both shoulders. Now I eat pizza and drink beer and have a "dad bod". lol. Most off the rack stuff fits me fine now.

Bodybuilders/powerlifters bodies are always changing. Bulking up, cutting weight, on/off cycling, injuries, aging. Always changing. 20-40 pound swings in body weight throughout the year is the norm. So yeah...... finding the "perfect" leather jacket for a true bodybuilder is quite a daunting task.
 
Last edited:

MrEvoX

New in Town
Messages
2
Location
USA
I hadn't looked into Johnson Leathers too much, mostly since their site is pretty empty right now. But thanks to everyone's suggestions and Canuck Panda's photos, I decided to check their social media and I'm definitely impressed with what I see. I'm going to email them and Thurston Bros on Monday (so my email doesn't get buried while they're out of the office) to start talking through the custom ordering process.
 

AeroFan_07

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,395
Location
Iowa
Being of similar dimensions, (expect a bit wider at waist) I think what has been indicated about Johnson, or doing a semi-custom through Thurston Brothes makes a lot of sense. I met Carrie while they still had thier physical store, and there isn't anyone she cannot fit. Johnson will also do well with you if you decide to look into that, but it will be much more over the phone, sort of communication. Nothing wrong with that.

You could also look at Langlitz - although I am not personally a fan of thier styles these days. Lost Worlds is another option, if in your price range.
Funny how times change in ~ 2 years. Looking back at my earlier post, I would now put a Langlitz direct in-person fitting in Portland as my top choice.

@MrEvoX - Hope you found something you enjoy
 

Johnny Deadlifts

A-List Customer
Messages
390
Hi, new member here. I've been reading a bunch of great information here for the past few weeks and decided to join and ask for everyone's advice.

I'm looking to buy a quality leather jacket and from what I've read and seen on the classifieds, it looks like my best bet is to get something made to my measurements given that I'm fairly athletic looking. Since I have a 15.5" drop from my chest to waist when flexed, I think it's going to be a bit difficult to find something off the rack that's not going to restrict my movement or be way too baggy. I suppose my first question would be what maker generally seems to use patterns that are the most accommodating to athletic guys?

Height: 6'
Weight: 190 lbs
Chest, relaxed: 45.5"
Chest, flexed: 47.5"
Stomach/waist: 32"
Belt/hips: 34"
Biceps: 17.5"
Forearms: 14.5"
Neck: 18"

I've heard a lot of good things about ordering through Thurston Brothers and that's put Aero, Thedi, and Vanson towards the top of my list. I like the look of Aero's Hooch Hauler and the cafe racers from all three brands. I don't think I'd really layer too much with whatever I go with, maybe an undershirt, a thin henley, and a scarf at most. I'll probably just wear it with a t-shirt most of the time since I don't get cold too easily.

While I do ride a motorcycles, I'd like this to be more of an off the bike jacket but something robust enough to ride in if I had to. I'd like to have a good range of motion so I don't have to take the jacket off when driving. The Recaro seats in my car tend to put my arms in a more stretched out position than my bike does.

As for leather, I like the look of Russet Badalassi, natural Chromexcel, and maybe black for a cafe racer. I'm not a fan of the super quick aging I've seen on black Chromexcel jackets. I assume that natural doesn't age as quickly because there's less (or no) color to fade. Is this an accurate assessment? I'm also not familiar with the leathers that Thedi uses.

I know Aero cautions against interior pockets, but it seems like most Aeros on Thurston Bros' site have one. Would the pocket showing through be a lesser issue with a leather that isn't going to experience a lot of quick fading? I don't need any special pocket closures, just a place to put my sunglasses that's safe from zippers.

I'm sure I'll have some more questions as I think through all the details a bit more. Any insight and/or advice would be greatly appreciated.
You should check out @regius, his patterns are well suited for athletic frames.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
107,515
Messages
3,038,977
Members
52,905
Latest member
johnmichael
Top