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

Aloysius

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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
View attachment 457067

Before the Simmons Bilt/Iron Heart fanboys crucify me for this, I’m not mentioning it to troll but as practical advice.

As you may or may not be aware, Simmons Bilt jackets use stolen Aero patterns. Ethical matters aside, this is relevant here because the shearling jacket patterns they copied were actually work-in-progress ones, with issues in the sleeves especially, that Aero has since fixed on their own jackets but SB continues to use.

I also think that the suggestion from some to go Five Star is actually very sound. Five Star patterned their B3 and Irvin (possibly their ANJ-4, too, but I don’t recall) off of originals. They’re based in Asia, so labor is cheaper, and they are in an area where sheep is one of the primary meats so they have a constant supply of good quality shearling. It’ll cost you about a third of the price of the Aero; you could conceivably get both designs, even, and an N-3B parka (the successor to these shearlings) from them for the price of one of the Aeros you’re considering.
 

f2002q

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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.

Thank you for the suggestion on the sheepskin cuffs. I think I've seen them in old pictures with that feature. I will ask for it, since it's not really changing the military spec of the jacket.
 

MrProper

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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!
Too much praise. But I'm glad when my posts are helpful. Thank you very much. :)
 

MrProper

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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.
In terms of weight, all are quite similar, the Aero maybe a tad heavier.
I made the Irvin at Aero without specifying a thickness. I think it is standard shearling for an Irvin (CC).
Maybe it's because I ordered it rather tight and fitted. In any case, it is very comfortable.
 

Bfd70

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I think the Irvin is unattractive. I owned a LW Anj. Best made jacket i’ve ever handled. Looked super cool. Pretty impractical. Only thing it was good at was walking around the neighborhood when it was super cold. It’s uncomfortable to drive in plus you get too hot. I needed to roll down the car windows in the winter. Can’t do that with a passenger. Go into a store and immediately sweat. I say get a B6. Much more practical 30-50 f. For colder days buy a thinner puffer jacket or heavy wool sweater. They allow for layering.
 

f2002q

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Before the Simmons Bilt/Iron Heart fanboys crucify me for this, I’m not mentioning it to troll but as practical advice.

As you may or may not be aware, Simmons Bilt jackets use stolen Aero patterns. Ethical matters aside, this is relevant here because the shearling jacket patterns they copied were actually work-in-progress ones, with issues in the sleeves especially, that Aero has since fixed on their own jackets but SB continues to use.

I also think that the suggestion from some to go Five Star is actually very sound. Five Star patterned their B3 and Irvin (possibly their ANJ-4, too, but I don’t recall) off of originals. They’re based in Asia, so labor is cheaper, and they are in an area where sheep is one of the primary meats so they have a constant supply of good quality shearling. It’ll cost you about a third of the price of the Aero; you could conceivably get both designs, even, and an N-3B parka (the successor to these shearlings) from them for the price of one of the Aeros you’re considering.


Once I get to know my size in sheepskin, 5* would be a future option. From reading the extensive thread, you must be very precise with them. @MrProper has a document where he lays out all the instructions (which I will shamelessly steal!!).

Also the second you change anything on the 5* jacket there is no return, so I have to be extra careful.
 

f2002q

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I think the Irvin is unattractive. I owned a LW Anj. Best made jacket i’ve ever handled. Looked super cool. Pretty impractical. Only thing it was good at was walking around the neighborhood when it was super cold. It’s uncomfortable to drive in plus you get too hot. I needed to roll down the car windows in the winter. Can’t do that with a passenger. Go into a store and immediately sweat. I say get a B6. Much more practical 30-50 f. For colder days buy a thinner puffer jacket or heavy wool sweater. They allow for layering.

Carrie from Thurston Bros. is actually sending me a B6 as the try-on jacket. If it's the one on the website, it's the redskin sheepskin. That thing might not make it back to them after the test :)
 

Aloysius

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Once I get to know my size in sheepskin, 5* would be a future option. From reading the extensive thread, you must be very precise with them. @MrProper has a document where he lays out all the instructions (which I will shamelessly steal!!).

Also the second you change anything on the 5* jacket there is no return, so I have to be extra careful.

That matters for the close fitting custom jackets that he and ton order from Five Star, not for the military repros which are made to spec/original size. Trying to get an ANJ-4, B-3, or Irvin to fit like a slim half belt would be absurd anyway.
 

f2002q

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That matters for the close fitting custom jackets that he and ton order from Five Star, not for the military repros which are made to spec/original size. Trying to get an ANJ-4, B-3, or Irvin to fit like a slim half belt would be absurd anyway.

Agreed, the sheepskin jackets fit completely different. I definitely wan't clear with my thoughts, but what I meant to say was that once I know my "sheepskin" size, I could confidently order off the rack (or custom) from 5* or other manufacturers.

Just as a note, I took my measurements in a very detailed way. I actually followed the Langlitz measurements document. I shopped those measurements to various makers like, LW, Aero, USauthentic, 5*. They all gave me different sizes!! I think for the first sheepskin, going through Thurston and their try-on process is a great idea.
 

Canuck Panda

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I think going through a retailer is the best bet for the first one. If it doesn't work exchange for a different size is always available. Especially if the retailer carries more than one brand to choose from.
 

MrProper

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Trying to get an ANJ-4, B-3, or Irvin to fit like a slim half belt would be absurd anyway.



Hm... maybe absurd but I did this and think it turned out quite passable. My Aero CC is noticeably tapered to the hem, my M-444 (base of my reddish 5*) is true to my measurements and so is my B3 vest.
It may not look original, but I like it.
So if originality is not so important, I can recommend it.
 

Aloysius

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Hm... maybe absurd but I did this and think it turned out quite passable. My Aero CC is noticeably tapered to the hem, my M-444 (base of my reddish 5*) is true to my measurements and so is my B3 vest.
It may not look original, but I like it.
So if originality is not so important, I can recommend it.

OP is looking for one of the military repro models (where originality would be important). That’s different from your custom jackets inspired by them (and the M-444 fits trimly in any case.)
 

f2002q

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you may or may not be aware,
OP is looking for one of the military repro models (where originality would be important). That’s different from your custom jackets inspired by them (and the M-444 fits trimly in any case.)

I must say that @MrProper's Aero CC fits really well, so while it looks "original" a few alterations actually enhance the enjoyment.

I wouldn't go putting pockets on it since that would really change the jacket but it would make it very practical. However, I tried to get Aero to put a bigger zipper, and they politely told me no. Putting a different zipper would not make it "original" any more, but wouldn't change the jacket in my opinion.

I'll stick to preexisting designs for my first one. Now, trying to talk the boss into letting me get a second one, that's going to be hard.
 

bn1966

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B-6 & D-1 can be stylish practical options but not as warm. I had an ELC Irvin but found it too warm and impractical here in the UK & went down the D-1 route after moving the Irvin on. Pockets on the D-1 comfortaBly take my phone and wallet.
 

Aloysius

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I must say that @MrProper's Aero CC fits really well, so while it looks "original" a few alterations actually enhance the enjoyment.

I wouldn't go putting pockets on it since that would really change the jacket but it would make it very practical. However, I tried to get Aero to put a bigger zipper, and they politely told me no. Putting a different zipper would not make it "original" any more, but wouldn't change the jacket in my opinion.

I'll stick to preexisting designs for my first one. Now, trying to talk the boss into letting me get a second one, that's going to be hard.

The “you may or may not be aware” was about Simmons Bilt’s pattern theft, not MrProper’s jacket.

If you’re open to civilianized versions (which actually have much to recommend them, adding creature comforts like handwarmers and other pockets), there are a lot of domestic options you should consider as well.
 

f2002q

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The “you may or may not be aware” was about Simmons Bilt’s pattern theft, not MrProper’s jacket.

I was not aware about the Simmons Bilt pattern theft. I'm sure the stories are flying around the forum. No wonder that Polaris jacket looks so good, its really an Aero!!!
 

Aloysius

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I was not aware about the Simmons Bilt pattern theft. I'm sure the stories are flying around the forum. No wonder that Polaris jacket looks so good, its really an Aero!!!

There was a funny case on another forum where someone had just bought a Simmons Bilt shearling and posted about an odd fit issue. The owner of Aero happened to see it and immediately spotted that it had the sleeve mistake from those old copied patterns, lol. The poster ended up returning the SB and getting the Aero version, which of course did not have the sleeve issue.
 
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MrProper

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However, I tried to get Aero to put a bigger zipper, and they politely told me no.

I wouldn't worry about the zipper on the Irvin. Although it's not huge, it works well and doesn't seem undersized. I have chosen the Waldes zipper.
 

Canuck Panda

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When it comes to zipper size. I find bigger is always easier. Not better, but easier in daily operation.
 

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