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Sears Vertical Zip Map Pocket motorycle jacket

Guppy

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I wanted to start a thread on this style, to try to create a knowledge repository for what is an unusual, distinctive, and uncommon style of vintage motorcycle jacket.

It doesn't seem that there's an official name for this style, which makes it harder to search for... Accordingly, I'd like to coin a name for it, but I have no idea what I'd call it yet. A vintage Sears print advertisement calls it simply "Steerhide Motorcycle Jacket Vertical zipper map pocket", which is as official a model name as I've been able to find. For lack of anything better, I'll call it "VZMP" for short.

It appears that this style has been produced over a number of years by Sears, and so I expect as more examples turn up, we'll see various labels for them: Fieldmaster, Oakbrook, Hercules, The Leather Shop. I've even seen one made by Appalachian, so it's possible that this pattern has been produced by a variety of makers. The examples I've found claim to be from the 40s and 50s, but I don't have definitive info on the exact years these were made, nor do I have quantities. It seems to be a much less common style than the traditional Perfecto-style cross-zip jackets.

It has characteristics of a traditional motorcycle jacket...
  • cross-zip,
  • W collar,
  • the traditional Sears-style back,
  • gusseted, zipped sleeve cuffs,
  • belted waist
... and aviator jacket
  • A-2 style front pockets, with snap-closure flaps, (with slash handwarmer pockets).
Despite being a hybrid style, it's elements work very well to create a good-looking garment. The main features of the jacket that make it distinctive and unique are: a MASSIVE zipped chest pocket on the wearer's left side, the zipper running from waist to collar, and, on the back of the jacket, a semi-hidden zipped pocket, the entrance tucked away into the action-back gusset.

This jacket can be found in both horsehide and steerhide, presumably horsehide examples being of older vintage, as steer became cheaper and more common than horse during the middle of the 20th century. Some have a fleece lining, while others are lined in quilted nylon or rayon.

Although this jacket seems to be quite uncommon, I've scoured the web and found a couple of other examples:

The best-documented example:
This Appalacian example, currently for sale on eBay Ireland at the time of this posting:
Another Sears Fieldmaster, size 36, also sold on eBay in 2014. This one looks like it was in superb condition, near mint.
Mine
To keep the pictures from disappearing forever, I'll be re-hosting the images from the above links in comments to follow this main post. Once mine arrives, I'll be taking even more detail photos and fit pics.

I'd love to see Aero or another top maker re-create it as a new style. It's distinctive enough to deserve it.
 
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Guppy

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From https://vintagehaberdashers.com/2014/08/07/1950s-sears-steerhide-motorcycle-jacket/

IMG_0033[1].jpg IMG_0034[1].jpg IMG_0040[1].jpg IMG_0046[1].jpg IMG_0047[1].jpg IMG_0048[1].jpg IMG_0049[1].jpg IMG_0050[1].jpg IMG_0051[1].jpg IMG_0052[1].jpg
 
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Yep, that's an awesome collection of info on this jacket! I had no CLUE there's a pocket tucked away inside the action-back gusset, though nor did I realize before the snap-on flap pockets also doubled as slash pockets. Just makes the whole thing infinitely more impressive! This design is so much more practical than anything of the time - or any time, for that matter - it's not even funny.

Someone's done a lot of thinking when designing this jacket. Shame there's no repro of it, a damn shame. Also, I'll just note that the average length of both jackets in the advertisement flier averages at 23". :3
 

Guppy

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Yep, that's an awesome collection of info on this jacket! I had no CLUE there's a pocket tucked away inside the action-back gusset, though nor did I realize before the snap-on flap pockets also doubled as slash pockets. Just makes the whole thing infinitely more impressive! This design is so much more practical than anything of the time - or any time, for that matter - it's not even funny.

Someone's done a lot of thinking when designing this jacket. Shame there's no repro of it, a damn shame. Also, I'll just note that the average length of both jackets in the advertisement flier averages at 23". :3

Yeah, I learned about the back pocket through my research -- there's no mention of it, and it doesn't appear in the photos for the auction listing of the one I bought. So I don't know for sure yet if mine even has it! But I assume it will -- I should know in a few days.

Hopefully if more of these turn up, or someone has some more info on them, they can find this topic and add what they have to it now that I have it started.

I'll probably keep saying it, I'd love to see Aero, Thedi, Himel, Lost Worlds, or one of the other top makers introduce a reproduction of this model. Depending on how wearable mine turns out to be, I'd consider sending it to someone to have a copy made, and I'd be particularly happy to see it turn into a regular production item.
 

Guppy

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Delivery happened today.

I tried it on, fit is ok. Jacket is definitely a shorter length waist jacket, as you'd expect of a 50's vintage motorcycle jacket.

A couple of surprises:
  1. There is NO hidden back pocket, and no action back or gussets on this jacket! Interesting variation. I was curious about the back pocket, but to be honest I'd probably never use it, although I would have liked for it to have an action back. It seems like it's mobile enough without it, but all the same I think it would have looked and felt just a bit better if it had it.
  2. The giant vertical zip map pocket for which the jacket style is named is fairly shallow -- it's a tall, skinny pocket. I can insert my hand up to just past the knuckles. I figured it would be as deep as my hand, but nope.
  3. It has attachment points for a detachable mouton collar, but the collar is long gone (as well as the removable belt).
  4. The lining is dirtier than it appeared in the auction photos. Definitely going to need a good cleaning before I start wearing it.
  5. Lining is synthetic fleece, not shearling, as I had suspected.
  6. The leather is pretty good, I'd estimate between 2.5-3.0 oz, and in decent condition, although it feels to me like it's a bit thirsty. So it's going to get some pecards treatment once I've given it a preliminary cleaning.
Fit pics will have to wait for the cleaning, which I may not get to for another week or two, as I'm fairly busy with other things at the moment.
 
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Delivery happened today.

I tried it on, fit is ok. Jacket is definitely a shorter length waist jacket, as you'd expect of a 50's vintage motorcycle jacket.

A couple of surprises:
  1. There is NO hidden back pocket, and no action back or gussets on this jacket! Interesting variation. I was curious about the back pocket, but to be honest I'd probably never use it, although I would have liked for it to have an action back. It seems like it's mobile enough without it, but all the same I think it would have looked and felt just a bit better if it had it.
  2. The giant vertical zip map pocket for which the jacket style is named is fairly shallow -- it's a tall, skinny pocket. I can insert my hand up to just past the knuckles. I figured it would be as deep as my hand, but nope.
  3. It has attachment points for a detachable mouton collar, but the collar is long gone (as well as the removable belt).
  4. The lining is dirtier than it appeared in the auction photos. Definitely going to need a good cleaning before I start wearing it.
  5. Lining is synthetic fleece, not shearling, as I had suspected.
  6. The leather is pretty good, I'd estimate between 2.5-3.0 oz, and in decent condition, although it feels to me like it's a bit thirsty. So it's going to get some pecards treatment once I've given it a preliminary cleaning.
Fit pics will have to wait for the cleaning, which I may not get to for another week or two, as I'm fairly busy with other things at the moment.
Interesting, specifically the long vertical pocket. What could that be intended for?? I'd have thought it would run much deeper, to accommodate giant paper maps. Weird!
 

Carlos840

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Could the pockets be vents?
A lot of modern motorcycle jackets have zipped opening in the front to allow air in, and usually one or two zipped openings in the back to allow air out, to prevent balooning at higher speed.

Could it just be that the front "map pocket" was the first iteration of a front vent.
Putting the "air out" vent one on the action back would make sens too.


Horrible design, but you get the idea:
https://www.rhinoleather.com.au/leather-motorcycle-jacket-with-vents-and-armour-australia/
 
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Guppy

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Cleveland, OH
Could the pockets be vents?
A lot of modern motorcycle jackets have zipped opening in the front to allow air in, and usually one or two zipped openings in the back to allow air out, to prevent balooning at higher speed.

Could it just be that the front "map pocket" was the first iteration of a front vent.
Putting the "air out" vent one on the action back would make sens too.


Horrible design, but you get the idea:
https://www.rhinoleather.com.au/leather-motorcycle-jacket-with-vents-and-armour-australia/
It's lined like a pocket. I'm sure if it were left open for a ride, it would flow a lot of air, but it is pretty clearly not intended to be a vent. I don't know when vents were introduced to riding jackets, but this seems a bit early for it.
 
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