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Pre-war Irvin or AN-J-4, which one to choose??

f2002q

One of the Regulars
Messages
152
I'm finally taking the plunge on a shearling jacket. I've always wanted one and finally got permission from the "Boss" to purchase ONE. I guess I wore her down to the ground, because she told me that if she agrees, then I have to stop talking about it. (no chance, but I agreed with my fingers crossed!)

Anyway, I'm getting an Aero through Thurston Bros, just because it's much simpler and I can get a fit jacket. Carrie spent so much time with me on the phone, while I was sounding like a kid choosing a Tonka truck. My choices are the pre-war Irvin or the AN-J-4.

Pre-war RAF Irvin
Pro's (in my opinion):
Classic style
Brown fur coloring
Eyeball catching, you don't see many of these
Zippers on the sleeves
Belt around waist
Cool zipper pulls

Cons:
No pockets
Exposed fur in wrists and waist
No leather reinforcements in sleeves
#5 zipper, wish it was a #10

AN-J-4
Pro's:
Rarely seen shearling jacket
Pockets for gloves, iPhone, etc.
Horsehide reinforcement in sleeves and waist
No fur at waist or wrist

Cons:
No belt for tight cinching
Off white fur, could get dirty quickly
Underarm gusset not sheepskin
#5 Talon zipper
No leather reinforcements in sleeves


I'm leaning towards the AN-J-4 because it looks like it can take more punishment, even though either jacket will be babied and wiped with a diaper. I live in the Northeast, so I should get use out of them when it snows.

I would like to know your opinions, while I have time to make a decision.


The Irvin
pre-war Irvin.jpg

The AN-J-4
AN-J-4.jpg
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,286
Location
Cleveland, OH
You can do a ANJ4 with custom fur colors. I think you could add pockets to the Irvin. I've at least seen Irvin jackets (or knockoffs) that had pockets. Aero might not do that level of customization anymore to their patterns.

I'd probably go with the ANJ4. But the Irvin sure is a good looking jacket too.
 

f2002q

One of the Regulars
Messages
152
You can do a ANJ4 with custom fur colors. I think you could add pockets to the Irvin. I've at least seen Irvin jackets (or knockoffs) that had pockets. Aero might not do that level of customization anymore to their patterns.

I'd probably go with the ANJ4. But the Irvin sure is a good looking jacket too.

Aero would not make changes to these jackets when I talked to them. Even Carrie told me that it would be an uphill battle. I could go with a different maker, but Aero makes a good Irvin, and Eastman is $$$$$, and I could only push the "Boss" so far, money wise.
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,286
Location
Cleveland, OH
Aero would not make changes to these jackets when I talked to them. Even Carrie told me that it would be an uphill battle. I could go with a different maker, but Aero makes a good Irvin, and Eastman is $$$$$, and I could only push the "Boss" so far, money wise.
Yeah, looks like they are not allowing as many customizations as they used to, and maybe that's in order to stick with authenticity for the military jackets. A few years ago they dialed way back on the amount of customization requests they would allow, but it wouldn't hurt to ask about doing a different color sheepskin fur. All they can do is say no.
 

Salmosalar

A-List Customer
Messages
414
I'm kinda agreeing. Seems like AN-J-4 is a G1 on steroids!!!
I have an Aero Coastal Command on order, largely because of family history, but I already have an Eastman ANJ4 - in my view the ANJ4 is the perfected heavy duty flight jacket - the shortcomings of both the B3 and Irvin are not found in the ANJ4 and it is a fantastically designed jacket. It also looks less military for day to day wear - very practical but still makes a statement - it is one of my favourite jackets and my number 1 for winter wear. Will report back when my CC arrives in a few weeks, which I am v excited about, but objectively I would say the ANJ4 is the better designed jacket and would be the one I would go for if I had to pick only one….
 

CBI

One Too Many
Messages
1,419
Location
USA
function: ANJ4, awesome looking: Irvin FWIW, these jackets are both really impractical and uncomfortable if you plan on wearing them a lot. If you have non-leather jackets that will work for you practically, you may end up wearing those most of the time anyway. Aero makes a great Irvin
 

MrProper

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,003
Location
Europe
really impractical and uncomfortable if you plan on wearing them a lot.
Do you think so? Impractical possibly because they have a lot of volume and are difficult to store on the road, but otherwise? My Irvin is no less comfortable than other jackets. Since I got it, I don't wear down jackets or anything like that anymore.
But of course, as always, it depends on personal preference.
 

John Lever

One Too Many
Messages
1,777
Location
Southern England
The Anj4 is heavier and after an hour of wearing can strain the shoulders, it is also more restrictive to wear because of its shape unless you go up a size.
Pockets aren't much of an issue as they are pretty useless on the Anj4, the position and design makes access difficult. The leather cuffs can irritate the backs of the hands unless you opt for one with sheepskin cuffs. Adjustment of the side belts can be near impossible when being worn.
Irvins are just a shapeless bag but that is what makes them comfortable to wear. They are designed to be worn sitting down so are short, often too short. Also the collar fastening can be difficult to master with the two ring design. Zipped cuffs allow easy arm access but the pulls can abrade the sides of the body panels.
The belt allows easy waist adjustment but dangles down if the jacket is open...
I could go on and on...
Both are great to own and are very stylish just not very practical
 
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f2002q

One of the Regulars
Messages
152
I have an Aero Coastal Command on order, largely because of family history, but I already have an Eastman ANJ4 - in my view the ANJ4 is the perfected heavy duty flight jacket - the shortcomings of both the B3 and Irvin are not found in the ANJ4 and it is a fantastically designed jacket. It also looks less military for day to day wear - very practical but still makes a statement - it is one of my favourite jackets and my number 1 for winter wear. Will report back when my CC arrives in a few weeks, which I am v excited about, but objectively I would say the ANJ4 is the better designed jacket and would be the one I would go for if I had to pick only one….

I love the Coastal Command Irvin. Too many choices, and I've been warned that I will be shot between the eyes with a large caliber pistol if I event think about getting another shearling.
 

f2002q

One of the Regulars
Messages
152
The Anj4 is heavier and after an hour of wearing can strain the shoulders, it is also more restrictive to wear because of its shape unless you go up a size.
Pockets aren't much of an issue as they are pretty useless on the Anj4, the position and design makes access difficult. The leather cuffs can irritate the backs of the hands unless you opt for one with sheepskin cuffs. Adjustment of the side belts can be near impossible when being worn.
Irvins are just a shapeless bag but that is what makes them comfortable to wear. They are designed to be worn sitting down so are short, often too short. Also the collar fastening can be difficult to master with the two ring design. Zipped cuffs allow easy arm access but the pulls can abrade the sides of the body panels.
The belt allows easy waist adjustment but dangles down if the jacket is open...
I could go on and on...
Both are great to own and are very stylish just not very practical

John, you are an authority in these jackets, and your advice is most welcome. So please go on and on...

I didn't think the cuffs on the ANJ4 would irritate the hand more that a regular jacket with storm cuffs. But I'm guessing the sleeves are longer that a regular jacket.

Yeah, the side belts are in the con's category in my description, never been a fan, but you always get some bad with the good.

You describe the Irvin as a shapeless bag, which is what the "Boss" was yelling at me the first time I was asking permission to acquire!!

100% agree that these jackets are not practical.
 

f2002q

One of the Regulars
Messages
152
Just for completeness, I also considered the B3 but ruled it out after talking to a few manufacturers and all of them warned me that even in the Northeast, that is a beast of a jacket.

I did look at the AN-J-4 from Lost Worlds. It looks like a beautifully made jacket, top notch, but the price was double of what Aero charges. I'm not sure the LW jacket is THAT much better.

One jacket that was very interesting was the Simmons Bilt Polaris. But dealing with an overseas manufacturer and not having a try-on was not appealing. Once I know my size in shearlings, then maybe I can get this made. Of course after the Boss calms down.

Simmons Bilt Polaris
Screen Shot 2022-10-13 at 6.47.51 AM.png
 
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f2002q

One of the Regulars
Messages
152
I‘m biased and vote for the Irvin.

You sir are the one that lit the fire on my Irvin quest. You rock that jacket like a supermodel !! In fact, I used your pictures (all your shearlings) to convince the Boss that I COULD look like that in an Irvin jacket. She calls you the tall, handsome gentleman, and I thank you!
 

CBI

One Too Many
Messages
1,419
Location
USA
Mr. P: Yes, perhaps 5 Star sheep is a lighter weight hide? I am familiar with many thinner sheepskin jackets that are pretty comfortable but I don't think the Aero's are (unless there are some hide thickness options) ELC offers a lightweight version of the Irvin for this very reason.
 

John Lever

One Too Many
Messages
1,777
Location
Southern England
John, you are an authority in these jackets, and your advice is most welcome. So please go on and on...

I didn't think the cuffs on the ANJ4 would irritate the hand more that a regular jacket with storm cuffs. But I'm guessing the sleeves are longer that a regular jacket.

Yeah, the side belts are in the con's category in my description, never been a fan, but you always get some bad with the good.

You describe the Irvin as a shapeless bag, which is what the "Boss" was yelling at me the first time I was asking permission to acquire!!

100% agree that these jackets are not practical.
The HH cuffs are quite long and usually reach the centre of the back of the hand, where they rub and are annoying unless they are folded back.
Sheepskin cuffs are softer and don't rub as much. I think Aero will do this but check with them.
 

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