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Naive Flight Jacket Question(s)

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by JamesAveryAustin, May 23, 2019.

  1. JamesAveryAustin

    JamesAveryAustin New in Town

    Messages:
    8
    Like many folks here, I've long been obsessed with flight jackets. Because I've ridden many years, nearly all of my leather jackets have been purchased for that purpose.

    I'd finally like to treat myself to a flight jacket, but I'm a little concerned with the general fit as it relates to my body style.

    I'm short and a kind of "regular" build: 5'6" with a 36" chest and a 32" waist. It seems to me that the nature of a flight jacket design is to, for lack of a better term, blouse above the waist, which seems to make a short man with ~10 extra pounds around the middle look like he has an extra 25.

    My first question is: is this the case or am I just imagining this phenomenon? Should I just relax and have another beer (and embrace the precipice of frumpiness)?

    In addition, if this is a quality of flight jackets, would it be remedied by a bespoke fit? I appreciate Langlitz's designs on a bike, but I'm not thrilled by their flight jacket. However, would the opportunity to get the best possible fit eliminate this (perceived or not) problem of a slightly exaggerated waist?

    Thanks for your time and expertise!
     
  2. Seems you are actually talking about an A2. 'Flight jacket' can cover a lot of military or WW2 type jackets.
     
  3. JamesAveryAustin

    JamesAveryAustin New in Town

    Messages:
    8
    My apologies for being vague. I don't mean any offense in lumping them together, but I used the very general term "flight jacket" because it seems that any jacket that has a knit waistband "suffers" from this trait. For instance, I see it on photos of A2s, G1s, A1s, etc.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  4. El Marro

    El Marro One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,209
    Location:
    California
    James,
    This is a very common problem with A-2 jackets and I agree that it can make a small beer belly look like a big one!
    I find that the G-1 jacket fits much nicer in comparison to the A-2 and provides the wearer with more of a trim V-shaped appearance. There are several reasons for this, one is the fact that the G-1 is made with goatskin which allows for more flex and freedom of movement without the bulk. Also, the G-1 is a better pattern then the A-2, The addition of an action back allows you to reach up and out without the jacket pulling up from the waist the way an A-2 will. My advice for you would be to check out the G-1 if you are looking for a trimmer fit.
    With regards to going to custom route, I would recommend talking to Carrie at Thurston Brothers about getting a fit jacket in your size. This might be a good option for you because at 5’6” it might be hard to find sleeve and back lengths that aren’t too long on stock sizes.
     
    Seb Lucas and Peacoat like this.
  5. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    19,686
    Location:
    London, UK
    Having owned an A2 and USN type (an AN6552) from Aero, both in goat, the hide has nothing to do with it - it's all about the cut. Most modern versions of this general type are often oversized; a decent repro of an original ,particularly one of the earlier, trimmer patterns, will avoid that problem.
     
  6. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,879
    Location:
    Australia
    The A2 isn't a flattering jacket pattern in general - you definitely want to go custom. But if you are short and have a bit of a gut I personally would consider a different style that doesn't emphasise physical characteristics the way any jacket with knits will do. Something with straight lines that has a bit more length and will make you look taller, thinner. A Luftwaffe jacket is still a flying jacket. Just saying. :p
     
    El Marro likes this.
  7. jacketjunkie

    jacketjunkie One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,487
    Location:
    Germany
    I'm 5'9, in other words not particularly tall myself and I like wearing A-2s. Do they make me look shorter or fatter? Would longer styles or trimmer styles be better suited for my frame? I don't know. I certainly don't feel that way. Surely depends on the contract and its features.

    Warning! The following is rated S for highly subjective and only my very personal belief backed by no science whatsoever!
    It's my understanding that this whole body height thing is about physical presence. Taller people have a stronger physical presence than shorter ones. Muscular people have a stronger physical presence than slim people. So if you are short and are concerned about that, it's most likely because you are unhappy with the physical presence you have towards others; solution is simple, grow in the dimension which you can control (unlike body height) and get bigger. Now, translating that idea into jackets; I feel short people should wear jackets that emphasize male features; broad shoulders, wide sleeves and a broad chest. Most A-2s have narrow shoulders and narrow sleeves, slim in the chest, wide in the waist and therefore, instead of emphasizing on male features, emphasize your beer belly. Avoid these. If you want a flying jacket, either make sure the particular pattern you are going for has wide shoulders, broad chest and decent taper towards the waist or go for a style that has wide shoulders and slim body by default, like the G-1.
     
    El Marro likes this.
  8. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,879
    Location:
    Australia
    JJ I hear what you're saying - if you're short and you emphasise broadness, you often look shorter. A girlfriend of mine used to dress actors and the common wisdom was, the thinner you look when you are short, the taller you seem.
     
  9. jacketjunkie

    jacketjunkie One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,487
    Location:
    Germany
    That's interesting! And it makes sense in a way, because by going broader you look more square rather than long. Maybe my perception of height is more of a "how much sunlight does he block" approach than the classic "how tall does he look". :D
     
    Seb Lucas likes this.
  10. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,879
    Location:
    Australia
    Yeah, I think a lot of guys take the view that bulk is more masculine because it represents muscle and bull-like strength. But I think qualities differ even amongst shorter men.

    Couldn't help myself - Henry Winkler is 5'6" - don't know if there are any lessons here for a A2ish jacket.

    Fonz.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
    JamesAveryAustin likes this.
  11. Mich486

    Mich486 Practically Family

    Messages:
    648
    Inches alone don’t tell the full story imho. It’s more about proportions. You might be short but with relatively long limbs and that gives you a slender figure nonetheless.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    navetsea likes this.
  12. JamesAveryAustin

    JamesAveryAustin New in Town

    Messages:
    8
    Seb, spot on, man. It's funny you mention your girlfriend's profession. I used to work as a professional actor, and one of the things I learned from a costumer is to try to dress with similar tones on the top and bottom, because it creates the illusion of height. If I wear two vastly different colors on the top and the bottom (i.e., a navy blue shirt and a heather gray pair of chinos), it makes me look 5'2". Haha.

    It's so funny to me how quickly a normalized height has changed. It used to be that six feet of height was considered tall, and now that just sorta seems "normal."
     
    Seb Lucas likes this.
  13. JamesAveryAustin

    JamesAveryAustin New in Town

    Messages:
    8
    This makes a lot of sense to me. I love the look of Cockpit's Mil-Spec G1, but I fear it would be oversized, even though I've read comments to the contrary. I know Carrie and Thurston do an amazing job, but I wonder if a completely bespoke option is the best way to avoid an oversized cut in the arms, shoulders, etc.
     
  14. JamesAveryAustin

    JamesAveryAustin New in Town

    Messages:
    8
    I hear you, but if I get swole none of my other clothes will fit, and we all know that I'll have spent all my money on collecting jackets! :D
     
    jacketjunkie likes this.
  15. ShanghaiJack

    ShanghaiJack One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    129
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    My advice, go on a movie watching binge, and see what
    flight jackets appeal to you, in fitting with your body type.

    The 1930s Era Aviation themed movies are a great resource
    for both civilian and military flight jackets. And men of all
    shapes and sizes are sporting their leather jackets in films.

    Here's a few movies off the top of my head:

    Only Angels Have Wings
    Bright Eyes
    Test Pilot
    Love Affair
    Night Flight
    Central Airport
    Men Against the Sky
    Men With Wings

    Good luck, and keep us updated on what you decide!

    Tails Up!
    SJ
     
    El Marro likes this.
  16. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,879
    Location:
    Australia
    Yeah - I see a bunch of school boys around these days, who at 15, are 6'4".

    Golden era star, Alan Ladd and many US airmen during the war were 5'6" and wore A2's, so you've got plenty to work with.

    Alan Ladd - one of the original Indiana Jones models.

    Alan Ladd.jpg
     
    Edward likes this.
  17. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    19,686
    Location:
    London, UK
    Bogie was around five four, wasn't he?

    I always considered myself short because I topped out at five ten, though in my generation (X), that's on the taller end of average. Back in 2006 when I first visited China I stood out with my height (took a long time to twig that first trip that when the ladies at the market kept yelling "hey soldier!" they were talking to me - I was much thinner back then, but still the shaved head...). Back then there would be maybe on unusually tall kid in my class of 160, now there are quite a lot of the boys (I say boys, it's hard for all sorts of reasosn not to think of them as kids of about sixteen, but really they're mostly 20,21 when I teach them) who would be markedly taller than me.
     
  18. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,879
    Location:
    Australia
    Lauren Bacall said Bogart was 5'8" - he was described as 5'10" which is the height most short actors give as their "official" height.
     
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  19. willyto

    willyto Practically Family

    Messages:
    943
    Location:
    Barcelona
    If you want to admire some flight jackets then watch the new Cath 22 series. Oh man I'm drooling over all those uniforms and gear. The jackets and clothes are by Eastman...
     
  20. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    19,686
    Location:
    London, UK

    Been a while since I heard much about them - I think they mow mostly sell to the Japanses and the 'airshow' market. Goodmove for them getting in on that show - high profile, good publicity. Looking forward to seeing it in due course.
     

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