Vintage Cal - It's changing my outlook on things

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead, Mar 26, 2021.

  1. TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

    TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead One Too Many

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    1,121
    I definitely have jumped into this hobby head first. I won't deny it. Didn't even know what Aero, Himmel, Real McCoys, etc. were. Barely had heard about Schott. Didn't know the components on a jacket like a biswing back, cross zip, half belts, etc. Probably generally categorized them into black or brown and biker or fashion to be honest.

    It's been fun/educational/mostly successful, but there were a couple mistakes along the way. No biggie. Somehow the closet currently has 21 leather jackets with another in the mail and that's with me selling a few as well and not counting several "starter" mall type jackets.

    I definitely have some redundancy mostly because of fine tuning the fit or variables. But I also think I have a pretty good cross selection. I'm justifying it all in my head, but I'm really just fooling myself. Some of it I dismiss as I know I can pass some of the tighter fitting or less favorite jackets off to my two sons soon.

    But to the point of it all. Been on a Cal mania lately. Bought 3 variations in short time span. Then this 4th became avail on Ebay. Again, it was slightly different, mostly in that it had a teacore base. So I hit buy and it showed up. Needed some love and luckily I've gotten to know the Cal shop pretty well, so I was confident they could bring it back to life.

    Just guessing on the zips and all that, probably a 50s model. It's a little big on me and using my others as reference, I would say is probably a 46L. The 44s tend to fit me perfectly. But again, justifying in my head, it'll be my "too much pasta CAL" in case the others start getting too tight.

    What I love about it is that when I grab it, I really feel like I'm holding on to history. If I'm being honest, it's probably just turning the corner of seeing it's apex, but just barely because it still has a lot of life to go. There's a few scratches and cuts, glorious patina and oxidation, random stitching here and there. One of the snaps is visible while the other 3 are hidden, don't know why. Almost has this Indian Ranger mixed hardware sort of thing. Probably spent 30 years plus on a bike getting exposed to sun, rain, bug guts, and whatever else it picked up in various dive bars (or at least that's the romantic image I'm giving it in my head).

    But what really has me rethinking everything is that this jacket is what a leather jacket should be. I don't think me having 22 jackets and wearing each them 5 to 10 times a year will ever get any of those jackets to evolve to this point, even though many of them have the pedigree for it. And while I really really tried to capture it in photos, you really got to see this thing. It was lathered in Skidmores the get it alive again, so some of the brown base is hiding. And even though the jacket probably weighs 8lbs, it feels like nothing when I'm wearing it.

    Lastly, wanted to give a shout out to Greg Field @Honeyman1935 for helping me source some missing hardware so I could fix a couple things on this bad boy. And of course the wonderful ladies at the Cal Leathers shop in Ventura for doing their usual magic, and her dad for giving me some tips on conditioning the leather.

    Anyway, enjoy. I do think this is my goal with my jackets. To get them to evolve to this. So not saying END GAME by any means. It's too much fun to be on the hunt. But I do want to get my rotation down to maybe like 8-10ish. I figure 1 for each day of the week and maybe a few for random situations like a B3 for instance.

    Anyway, thanks for reading.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. ton312

    ton312

    Messages:
    12,448
    Location:
    Chicago
    Cals really are wonderful jackets. I’ve been through about a dozen or so myself. Sadly they were always just too short( at least for my comfort). The nicest one I ever had made every other jacket I’ve owned seem like a piece of Carl Budding lunch meat. It was absolutely mint and I sold it for a small fortune.
    I’ve seen quite a variety in the ones I’ve had in terms of hide quality and construction. The later (70’a-80’s) models seem thinner.
    Those older ones though. They are special.
     
    El Marro, sweetfights, JMax and 5 others like this.
  3. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    8,660
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    SoCal
    What a beauty!
    I know what you're talking about, There are certain individual jackets that really stand out and are special. I have a couple myself, so I totally relate to your situation.
    Enjoy the heck outta this one!
     
    sweetfights, El Marro, Jin431 and 2 others like this.
  4. TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

    TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead One Too Many

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    1,121
    LOL. As an aficionado of Boars Head, I think I get the analogy :):)

    But I also don't want to make it sound like we need to be hunting for that perfect jacket. Actually the opposite. I think most of us already have that perfect jacket (if not more than one) already in our closet. We just need to start wearing them more so they develop
     
    sweetfights, El Marro and Torstein like this.
  5. AeroFan_07

    AeroFan_07 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    3,847
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    Nice write up here. You do those all very well. I agree with your sediments, I owned one Cal, probably should not have let it go. Exceptionally well crafted jacket - built like a really good pair of boots in fact.

    To your collection, a few things to consider. Provided you are comfortable with it, keep them. I got a little sideways last year and sold off many that I now wish I had back. Also here in the Midwest, I can wear a jacket 8 months out of the year. Perhaps a more northern climate would suit you better? :) Certainly help your jacket break-in efforts.
     
  6. TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

    TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead One Too Many

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    1,121
    Many thanks and good advice. Yeah, I'm definitely not going to start fire selling stuff. But I do have a handful that just don't get touched or are a carbon copy of something else I like better. And it's a shame to leave them just sitting in the dark. Luckily I've got deep storage options here so I can tuck away and forget about it for a while in case I change my mind. So hard to get rid of something when it fits you well, was hard to track down, you got a deal on it, etc. etc. Once my kids start raiding my closets, will all come together. There's a plan here :cool::cool:

    Living in Los Angeles, on paper there's maybe 3 months of jacket weather. But it does get chilly at night for most of the year. I'll surprise many by saying my most worn jacket since starting this adventure is my B3. It's the perfect dog walking jacket. 20 minutes of wear time, keeps me cozy, don't need to layer to leave the house and it's off before I feel like I'm about to spontaneously combust. Probably have worn it 50 times since Nov. Albeit in 20 minute bursts LOL. And this past summer, it was a very common site to see me in some sort of jacket and boxer shorts in 100 weather after every time a package arrived. Wife thinks I'm nuts. Can't even imagine the neighbors.
     
  7. Boyo

    Boyo One Too Many

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    I get it! .. that one does look great.
     
  8. jonbuilder

    jonbuilder Call Me a Cab

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    Redwood City, CA
    TMHOOH you scored a beauty. I would say defiantly 50s gotta love that hide, and these Cals work being on the larger size better than the reverse.
     
    JMax and TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead like this.
  9. Jin431

    Jin431 Call Me a Cab

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    2,390
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    Bay Area CA
    Oh man what a find, this surely must be a keeper! Would love to get my hands on one of these cross zips for sure! Thanks for sharing
     
  10. TREEMAN

    TREEMAN One Too Many

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    1,603
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    USA
    Sweet Cal Almighty !!!
     
    JMax and TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead like this.
  11. Superfluous

    Superfluous My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Great jacket and great write-up. Your passion epitomizes exactly what our core pursuit is all about, and your Cal jacket is the paragon of outerwear!
     
  12. Marc mndt

    Marc mndt My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    3,068
    Thanks for this interesting post, it was a nice read. Indeed a beautiful jacket and I love those nice brown undertones peaking through.

    Imo, the best way to jump into this hobby is to go headfirst exactly like you did. You can read all you want about jackets, the leather and how they should fit, but there's really just one way to find out what you like and what works best for you and that is by experiencing them in the flesh. Plus, handling jackets is a lot of fun, the more the better :)

    How cool will it be when in a couple of years from now your sons will be flaunting your beautiful leather jackets when they wear them to highschool :)

    My dad never wore leather jackets but he was very much into luxury fashion brands back in the 70s. I'm glad he kept some of it. Quality garments will last a lifetime.

    This is me wearing my dad's Monsieur Cristian Dior jacket with Yves Sain Laurent tie from the 70s. The iPhone 3S (and my hairline hehe) give away that this is an old photo. Today I cannot wear the jacket anymore because it has gotten too small. But it's still here in my closet, it's a nice piece just to look at once in a while :)

    9D322F31-DB32-4017-A899-36E6AB3B44C3.jpeg
     
  13. TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

    TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead One Too Many

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    1,121
    nice. the apple doesn't fall far from the tree
     
    Marc mndt likes this.
  14. JMax

    JMax I'll Lock Up

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    5,569
    Cals give me that feeling too. And this one is special.
     
  15. Monitor

    Monitor

    Messages:
    13,481
    Funny thing with Cal's. They're the best, there's no debate there but I love them on the photos more than on myself. I can't say why, but that's just how it is. Except the padded one I had, I really miss that one.
     
  16. JMax

    JMax I'll Lock Up

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    5,569
    I was recently telling Jin that it took me sifting through a whole bunch of vintage Cal LAPDs to end up with one that fits great. The other one I kept fits well, and is too special to let go.

    The 90s Cal I’m not counting here, but it’s awesome. And I got super lucky with the one vintage CR I found in my size at a reasonable price. Super lucky. That would have been a PIA and a lot more time to get right than the X zip.
     
    Mandarin and dannyk like this.
  17. jonbuilder

    jonbuilder Call Me a Cab

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    2,699
    Location:
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    The beauty of Cals is they were prolific jacket makers over a long time period and they made bespoken and custom so many of one-off jackets available at reasonable prices.
     
  18. dannyk

    dannyk One Too Many

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    1,653
    I know @Jin431 will agree with this. There’s something about those old Cals. Rarely does anyone find one that fits just right; but the leather and design on them is just special. I can’t even say it’s this or that, can’t say specifically what it is....but they are special.
     
    Jin431 likes this.
  19. Carlos840

    Carlos840 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,141
    Location:
    London
    Maybe i have been unlucky, but i still have not experienced a "good" Cal...
    I have had 4 in total, 3 CHP and 1 Cafe racer, and all of them have been pretty disappointing.
    My first one was a 60s padded CHP (teardrop talon zippers), the stitching on that one was horrible and the leather was thin and vinyl like, sent it back.
    The second one was an unpadded version from the same era, it was just as bad and went back to the seller too.
    My third one was the red Cafe racer, it's not bad, but not great either, the stitching is average, the leather is thin, if it wasn't red and rare i would have sent it back.
    Fourth one is a later era center zip CHP, YKK zippers, same messy stitching and average leather, bought on TFL so couldn't send it back but i would have done so if i could. It's used as a riding jacket by my GF when she comes on the bike with me.

    I'm still looking, hoping i will finally score a good one, but they are hard to find...
     
    AbbaDatDeHat, ton312 and JMax like this.
  20. lucky23

    lucky23 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    271
    Location:
    portland, oregon
    Wow, Gorgeous jacket. My only gripe with Cals was that the vintage ones didn't have bi-swing backs, so my sleeves rode up a bit when riding my motorcycle.
     
    Cognoscente likes this.

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