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Newbie Questions As I Plan For My First Custom Aero

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Michael312, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. Michael312

    Michael312 New in Town

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Chicago
    Hello all,

    This is my first post here, although I've been doing my research to learn the basics about Aero jacket styles and leathers.

    I've never had a nice leather jacket before - just mall store jackets from Wilson and the like. I'm over 50 now, and the time has come.

    My stats: 5' 7", 155 lbs, roughly 41" chest, not much gut, 33" waist. My style tends toward more slim cut clothing, since everything else just looks baggy on me.

    I live in Chicago. I want a jacket that I can wear spring / fall and maybe on milder winter days, but it's not meant to replace my warmer coats. I don't want to have to baby my jacket, or worry about getting caught in the rain.

    I've made a few choices:

    For my first Aero (note that I say "first" - I'm already aware that there will be more) I'm going to get an Aero Premier 1930s Half Belt in brown. Being from Chicago, I'm going with the Horween CXL and just have to decide between steer and FQHH.

    So, here's my questions:

    1) Is there any advantage to steer vs. CXL FQHH for enduring the windy, rainy, cold weather of Chicago? Will both perform equally well? I think I'm leaning toward the FQHH, although I've read it's more stiff in the cold.

    2) Speaking of rain, is there anything special I'd need to do when my jacket gets rained on? I said I didn't want to baby my jacket, but I also want to care for it properly.

    3) Inside pocket - bad idea, even without a zipper or snap? It would be handy to have a pocket big enough for my phone, or even my Kindle, like most of my other jackets. I've read some posts about having pockets sewn into the lining. Is that the way to go?

    4) For the lining, I'm considering a navy blue moleskin. I saw a picture someone here posted of brown CXL with the navy lining, and it was stunning. Are there advantages to wool vs. moleskin? I'd probably go with whatever is warmer and more durable, especially if I might have pockets sewn into the lining.

    5) Is the Aero Premier 1930s Half Belt a good first choice, and a good fit for someone barrel-chested with a slim waist? Some of the more boxy cuts probably wouldn't look as good on me. I don't want to go with a Sheene or a Board Racer, since I think that would be just too form-fitting.

    I'm going to be contacting Carrie at Thurston Bros. shortly with these same questions, but I wanted to get a few opinions here first, particularly about the pockets and the style.

    Thanks for enduring my epic first post. I'm proud to be a member of the forum.

    Michael
     
    Edward likes this.
  2. Carlos840

    Carlos840 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,616
    Location:
    London
    Welcome,

    1: No, they have somewhat different characteristics but will both be fine with anything you can throw at them. Horse does get a bit stiff when it is cold, but less so when broken in. It also softens up with body heat after a few minutes. It's really not a big deal.

    2: No, just make sure you let it dry naturally, and keep it away from heat sources. It is also worth noting that leather stretches more when wet, so avoid bad hangers and hanging from hooks or chairs even more when the jacket is wet.

    3: Whatever you want, some people have had them show through the front and don't like them, I have never had that happen, but have seen it. I don't think it is a massive issue if it does happen. (most of my jackets have one and none show through)

    4: Wool is warm even when wet, and will wick moisture away. Moleskin is cotton, which absorbs water and isn't warm when wet. The moleskin is a bit thicker than the thickest tartan (strome), it feels nice and soft, softer than the wool.
    I prefer the wool, i run hot and it regulates temperature better IMO.

    5: Anything is a good first choice, and if you have a big shoulder to waist drop Aero can taper a jacket down at the waist. Just ask for a size 42 tapered down to a size 40 at the waist for example.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    Edward and ton312 like this.
  3. Contacting Carrie is a smart move with your first quality leather jacket. A Thurston Bros fit jacket will help eliminate mistakes and guesses. As far as cold and stiffness, both CXL FQHH and CXL steer will have the same properties since they are both infused with fats and oils. Either should be very water resistant.
    HD
     
    Edward and ton312 like this.
  4. Kuro

    Kuro One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    127
    I can answer some specifically of question 3.

    No to a pocket in the liner. It sags etc. However moleskin may hold up, but not popular as I understand. Carrie can explain better.

    You can specify the depth of the outside pocket bags, so they will hold a phone no problem. For instance I specified 7 inch pocket depth on my board racer.
     
    Edward likes this.
  5. BlueWallpaper

    BlueWallpaper Familiar Face

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    New York
    I'm English but live in the US. It would have been very easy to skip the Thurston Brothers expense for me but I'm very glad I didn't. The fit jacket really made sure I got the right fit and Carrie is very patient and knowledgeable not just with questions you might have but also suggestions if you want them.

    The only thing I'd add to the above is that the belted jackets will be more boxy and less slim fitting (confirm with Carrie though). Like Kuro I have a board racer, it's slim fitting which is what I was looking for. I'd started considering a half belt but changed my mind since I hadn't realized they are inherently more boxy. Also not to contradict Carlos but they won't actually taper or otherwise effectively change the size of any measurement except length. I think there's a little skirting around saying that outright, but the Thurston/Aero jackets are not really custom. They can only add length to the body or arms, but that's honestly enough for the vast majority of people to get a jacket that fits well.
     
  6. Carlos840

    Carlos840 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,616
    Location:
    London
    I have a couple Aero production sheets with " 2" taper to waist " written on them ( I was told corresponded to a one size taper), and they did it to both my bootleggers, if they don't taper anymore it is a new thing!
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  7. El Marro

    El Marro Practically Family

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    California
    Welcome to the lounge!
    I think the 30's halfbelt is a great choice for your first Aero. To my mind it is probably one of the most versatile styles that Aero offers.
    I have wool lining with moleskin in the sleeves of both my Aero's and I really like that combination.
    I would also strongly advise you to opt for a horizontal pocket with no zip or button and not to worry about it showing through someday. These pockets are just too handy not to have at least one.
    Finally, Carlos is correct that Aero will taper the waist (i.e. 42 chest to 40 waist) for individuals with a true V physique.
    Congratulations on getting ready to order your first Aero, I think you're off to a great start!
     
  8. Willybob

    Willybob One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    California
    All good advice. I have a fqhh and a heavy steer Teamster. I found that the horse repels water better/longer than the steer as horse hide is denser.
     
  9. BlueWallpaper

    BlueWallpaper Familiar Face

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    New York
    Ah interesting. From the Aero website:

    "It was never our intention to offer "Custom Made" jackets much beyond a choice of lining, colour of zippers and basic size amendments such as an 1" or 2" off the length or added to the length of the sleeve or body to fit taller or shorter customers as our basic size jackets are cut to fit a height in the 5'10"/5'11". While we will consider any requested amendments, we reserve the right to refuse any detailing that we feel will detract from the finished jacket."

    Maybe the Bootlegger offers itself a little better than the Board Racer to customization... or maybe Carrie didn't think I tapered quite as much as I did and stopped me from making a terrible error!
     
  10. Guppy

    Guppy One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,845
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    1) I think Steer and Horse will perform equally well. However, I would recommend Steer if this is your first jacket, unless you are confident that you know what you're getting into. They're both thicker, heavier leathers than you're likely to be used to if all you've worn until now is Wilson, and while they're excellent, it seems not uncommon for first-time buyers to end up deciding that a brand new, not at all broken in 3+ oz jacket made from CXL isn't for them.

    2) If it doesn't soak into the leather, and it won't for a long time, you just wipe it off and go. If it soaks through into the lining, then let it air dry at room temperature, and it's best if you have it on a good dress form (mannequin) ideally, although it'll probably be just fine in a good hanger. By good hanger, I mean get yourself one of those ones that has a 2" flare at the ends, or improvise with some swimming pool noodles. Use that hanger all the time, never hang the jacket on a hook or peg. If you don't have a hanger, lay it down on a flat surface like a table or bed. But also, don't worry about babying it, these things are made to take a beating and last a lifetime of hard wear.

    3) The standard inside pocket is a vertical slit with a leather mouth. These can "print" through the outside shell of the jacket, but even when it does I don't think it's particularly unsightly. If you're obsessive about having the "cleanest" look, then maybe consider asking for a horizontal slit pocket sewn into the cloth lining, or skip the inside pocket altogether, but I find they're quite useful and prefer them, and I think buyers in the secondary market are much more likely to buy a jacket with an inside pocket than not. I don't think it matters whether it's open, zipped, or snapped, but open pockets will print the least, and a snap closure will show through in time.

    4) I'm not sure which is more durable, or more warm, but both are good materials. Aero don't really offer anything bad. If you're ordering a custom jacket for yourself, you might as well ask them to send you a sample swatch of each, and decide after handling them firsthand. Getting the lining right is kindof a big deal, and if you don't know what you're getting, it's a lot to guess on. I'd also recommend considering corduroy for the main lining as well, if you're looking at something warmer. Alpaca is nice, also, albeit more expensive, and some have found it to be scratchy. My only alpaca lined Aero was already broken in when I received it, and I didn't find it to be scratchy at all, although it's also not the softest.

    5) The premier range is known for having a more tightly fitting cut. I think any of their half-belts are a solid first choice: 30's, 50's, Premier 30's, HB Deluxe, Long HB, and some of their styles that incorporate a half-belted back, such as the Dust Bowl and Wayfarer are all classic styles that will always look good, and are quite versatile.

    But, for a first jacket, I would recommend taking a long look for a good used jacket, either on Aero's website, or eBay. A premier 30's HB is not going to be found readily on the secondary market, but you can find a decent amount of the more popular styles, especially the Highwayman and 50's HB pretty commonly. The Bootlegger is beginning to be a more popular jacket and shows up from time to time in the used market also.

    I recommend going used for several reasons:
    1. These things are built to last a lifetime. I'll say it again. It's not like you're going to get one on its last legs and not get all the enjoyment out of it.
    2. You'll find that it's anywhere from 1/3-1/2 the cost of new. That's $450-600, against $900-1200.
    3. It'll most likely already be at least a little broken in. But then again it seems fairly common that new buyers end up selling something that they regretted buying, either for fit or because they didn't realize what a task it is to break in a stiff heavy CXL jacket, and gave up on it way too early. You can score a real bargain that way.
    4. As you said, you already know it's not going to be your first, and you're going to learn a lot about fit by wearing the first one, and you'll get far better results when you do order a new custom jacket with that experience. Better to put that big money into your second jacket than into your "learner".
    5. If/when you decide not to keep that used jacket, you can re-sell it for about what you paid for it, and be no worse off. If you do find that you really need custom measurements, you probably won't find exactly what you want in a used jacket, but that's fine, just sell it on once you've learned what you needed to from it. If you realize that their standard cut suits you fine, then you'll have avoided a very costly mistake in having them make you a custom jacket that doesn't fit you how you wanted, isn't returnable due to being a custom order, AND is harder to sell away because it's not a standard cut.
    If you do go with a new jacket your first time out, then order a fit jacket through Thurston Bros., ask a lot of questions, and don't make decisions after wearing it for just a few minutes. Wear it for a few hours, or even a couple days if you can. Fit will change significantly over the first couple days as the leather goes from being stiff and uncompromising, to broken in and moulded.
     
    Monitor and El Marro like this.
  11. El Marro

    El Marro Practically Family

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    California
    BlueWallpaper,
    You are absolutely correct that Aero does not allow significant modification of their patterns. I know this because I once requested to have the shoulders widened by 1.5" on an A-2 jacket I planned to order. They politely explained that that would throw off the pattern and therefore was not a request they could accommodate.
    I think you are also correct that the Board Racer is a trimmer jacket to begin with and therefore tapering might not work as well as it does on a Bootlegger or a Highwayman
     
  12. Kuro

    Kuro One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    127
    The board racer is a shirt. It fits and wears like a shirt. That means you can size it up, and it will be baggy, or you can wear it fitted. It is trim when ordered fitted. It does not normally taper, but I have seen some have a tapered look. Typically it seems to be a straight fit, as a shirt fits... This may change as your shoulder size increases though. My 42 board racer is quite straight in look.

    Jackets that I have seen with a tapered look are jackets in the premier line, or the bootlegger stf. Wide in the shoulders that taper to the waist.

    I hope this is helpful.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  13. Michael312

    Michael312 New in Town

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Chicago
    Thanks for the quick responses and all the good advice so far!

    Here's my thinking on some of the suggestions:

    Excellent point about cotton vs. wool. I'll have a look at some of the wool lining options. That is probably the better choice.

    I was thinking that a pocket on the liner would probably sag. Thanks for confirming my suspicions. I'll skip that idea.

    Tons of great information in your post. Thanks!

    I may not be 100% prepared for how hard it will be to break in a CXL jacket, but I'm thinking about it this way: I used to wear cheap Levi's, and then I started wearing raw denim. That first pair felt really dense and heavy, and every new pair of jeans takes a while to break in, and can be uncomfortable at first, but they break in so nicely it's worth the effort. If I think about a CXL jacket the same way, I'll be prepared for it to seem a bit stiff or uncomfortable at first, knowing it will evolve into something molded to my body.

    I like the idea of buying used jackets, but only after I figure out my fit in Aero styles. I'm going to buy my first one from Carrie, since she'll help me figure out what size I am in various styles. Then I'll feel more confident grabbing something used from the Aero site or eBay.

    I'm going to get Carrie's opinion, but it sounds like my original choice of the Premier '30s Half Belt is still the way to go for my first jacket.

    Still feeling brave enough to try the FQHH. Haven't made up my mind about the pocket, but between this thread and others in this forum, more people seem to prefer having a pocket to going without.

    Think it's time for me to contact Carrie.
     
  14. ProteinNerd

    ProteinNerd My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,165
    Location:
    Sydney
    If you have an even slightly athletic shape, I'd avoid the premier jackets. I have similar measurements as you with a 41 inch chest and 32ish inch waist, I'm about 170 pounds.

    I've had 4 premier jackets now and the shoulders are just too narrow unless you size up and live with the looser fit. I had 1 remade, sold 2 and will probably sell another.....they just don't work for an athletic shape and tbh (and is evident in my fit pics) I don't have broad shoulders.

    I think you may be better served by a 30's half belt (which is a relatively slim fit as it is).

    Go through Carrie and get a fit jacket.
     
  15. Carlos840

    Carlos840 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,616
    Location:
    London
    They wrote that because under previous management any and all alterations were allowed, which created a few monstrous jackets, and jackets that didn't fit anyone.
    When the Calders came back, they originally had a "no alteration whatsoever" policy, as a way to take back control, this is when the text you quoted was written.
    After a while, they relaxed that stance and allowed waist tapering if really necessary and if the pattern allows it. (i have a 10" drop from chest to waist, i need tapering)
    They still don't do things like widening the shoulders, custom chest size, custom sleeve diameter etc

    Edit: CXL isn't hard to break in, people talk about it like it is made of adamantium or something! IMO after a couple weeks wear it will be nice and soft.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    Edward likes this.
  16. Peacoat

    Peacoat I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,061
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    First of all, welcome to the Lounge. You certainly did your homework before posting.

    You have received a lot of advice, most of it I agree with.

    As @Carlos840 said above, CXL isn't difficult to break in. As this will be your only leather jacket for a while, you will be wearing it constantly in the Fall and Spring. With constant wear, it should break in within a week or two and be comfortable to wear. As you are in Chicago, I would go with the wool tartan lining. The cotton drill or moleskin won't give much insulation. As you are aware, none of the linings in the style you are considering will be sufficient for your Chicago winters. The best you can hope for is something to knock off the chill when the temps are in the upper 30s to lower 50s.

    I have found the inside pocket to be a handy option. I have inside pockets in all of my leather jackets and have not noticed sagging or print through. Evidently Aero feels that print through will eventually occur and recommends against interior pockets. There are two types. The first is attached to the lining and is horizontal across the front chest of the jacket. The second type is the G-1 pocket, also known as a gun pocket. As you are in Chicago, you will never use it for that purpose. The G-1 pocket is attached to the leather right next to the zipper, and is installed vertically. This type of installation will never sag.

    Below is the link where Aero recommends against interior pockets. Also shown is a G-1 pocket.

    http://www.aeroleatherclothing.com/product-detail.php?id=1231
     
  17. jacketjunkie

    jacketjunkie One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,201
    Location:
    Germany
    Premier patterns are cut with very tight shoulders, and tight in the body throughout, I feel they are good for slim people, not so much for those with broad shoulders and chest. If it is to be a HB, I would also recommend you to go with the 1930s HB instead, broad shoulders, tapered body. However with you being 5'7, most jackets will be too long on you in standard size, you'll have to make sure they adjust the length accordingly. How do you like the Windward model? It's short and has elastic band at the hem, so it fits close to the body. Imho this is an incredibly cool style.
     
    sweetfights likes this.
  18. BlueWallpaper

    BlueWallpaper Familiar Face

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    New York
    Happened to look back at my order to check the sleeve length and noticed from the email exchanges that you can taper if you want (but I didn’t). I had really wanted and an inch off the chest and waist of the 42, which wasn’t possible. So, apologies Carlos (and everyone else for the faulty information)!
     
  19. Michael312

    Michael312 New in Town

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Chicago
    Update on my progress:

    I have been in contact with Carrie, and I've just pulled the trigger and paid my money. Carrie recommends I try a '30s Half Belt size 40 for my fit jacket. I still suspect I'll end up with a size 38, but we'll see.

    She said the Premier 30s Half Belt is the same fit as the regular '30s Half Belt, and that the main differences are the slightly higher arm holes and slimmer sleeves of the Premier. The collar is different too, as I remember. The Premier wasn't available as a fit jacket, so I'll be trying on the standard '30s Half Belt.

    Still 99% sure I'm going with brown CXL FQHH, unless there is a general consensus that I should consider black for my first jacket. I love the pictures I've seen of the FQHH in brown, and wear mostly jeans so I think it would work fine. You know I'll just end up getting a black one later, right? I see how this works.

    Next decision will be the lining, and I'm working with Carrie. She's going to send samples with my fit jacket. I don't think I want a tartan, since it's just not really my style, but I want something warm that can hold up to damp weather. Very curious to see what she sends.

    So it's all real now - I'm getting my first Aero!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    El Marro, torfjord and Dav like this.
  20. torfjord

    torfjord One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    260
    Can’t go wrong with a 30’s half belt in brown CXL FQHH! That’s what I did for my first aero as well. It’s an awesome jacket.

    Just be prepared that the FQHH is very stiff in the beginning. Have you considered the steer CXL? I have a bootlegger in CXL steer cordovan and it is less stiff than the horse and easier to wear, while still being equally thick. If I was redoing my 30’s half belt I would choose the steer over the horse. I like them both, can’t go wrong with either, but in my opinion the steer is a little nicer.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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