What would you tell your former self about ordering a custom Aero?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by TropheusDuboisi, Dec 3, 2020.

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  1. MrProper

    MrProper One Too Many

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    ^^
    Maybe that has changed because Greg had told me at the time that he also had this 0.5 tolerance. In my jacket, this tolerance was unfortunately exploited downwards. So it's more of a t-shirt jacket :D
    Unfortunately, I didn't have the option of a mockup jacket at that time.
     
  2. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    I've never ordered a custom Aero and only owned two of theirs. I like their patterns - but I only wear half-belts, cafes and utility styles. My advice to myself would probably be to get a Vanson PLU-3 cafe racer in Firenze weight. One and done. I don't need custom for a good fit. Know thine measurements.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
  3. Marc mndt

    Marc mndt Call Me a Cab

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    Then maybe mine was just a lucky shot.
     
  4. MrProper

    MrProper One Too Many

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    I do not believe that. Mine was just number 1 and I think Greg has also evolved. And that with the mockups is great.
     
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  5. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I've owned and still own jackets from Schott, Wested, Eastman, Lost Worlds, Aero, and half a dozen others, and handled countless vintage and modern British bike jackets (Lewis, Highwayman, Wolf, TT....). Of all the ones I've owned, the brand that for me consistently produces what I find most comfortable and aesthetically 'me' has been Aero. Of course brands will rise and fall in popularity - that's the nature of any market. A huge amount depends what you want, though. I'd be open to a Thedi now - didn't want to know for the first year or three. Why? Quality was always good, but their earliest work was simply too modern for me. Different strokes for different folks, of course; I'm just one of those who is genuinely perfectly comfortable in those earlier-style patterns.

    Only 'problem' I've ever had with an Aero - and the only reason I've ever parted with one - was because I'd bought it used and I called it wrong on the sizing - or, on one occasion, because the zip had been replaced with a modern YKK and while it function perfectly well, the look of it bothered me enough that I didn't want to hang on to the jacket in the end. Otherwise I'd never have parted with any of them.

    Changing fashions, really. When I was first round these parts, leather - like denim - couldn't be heavy enough for some, anything without a one-piece back was sneered at. Changed since.

    ...and in a style of construction that was available in 1959 or earlier. I guess as much as anything this is the nature of the Outerwear section: those of us who want 'period accurate' in such things (and who feel perfectly comfortable in same) are not as dominant in numbers s once we were, and many folks come here now for "high end leather jackets" rather than any interest in vintage. It's bound to affect what's popular. I've seen it all in guitars, too - every single permutation, including the players who adopted a whole host of modern innovations, and point blank refused to accept that anyone could possible actively prefer an earlier design precisely because they did not personally care for certainly design "improvements" that were rather less objective than their proponents liked to believe.

    This is something I've honestly never had a problem with, though I suppose the answer is to go for the lighter (and more historically "correct") hides anyhow.

    It's definitely well worth making sure the particular model has the fit you like. They'll all look great in the abstract, but not every jacket will fit every body ideally; that's not a design flaw, it's just the nature of human variation. I imagine most manufacturers can only wish the human body was uniform! I do often think the urge some have to reduce everything to a simple "x is better than y" can often blind us to just how much of this is wholly subjective.

    I think it's worth stressing the dangers of going too off-piste with things by mail, too. Back in the "anything goes" Lauder eras of Aero, I saw some real monstrosities, none worse than when people tried to take the Highwayman - an inherently boxy jacket by design - and turn it into a skinny jacket. Don't do that. Find something that's the fit you want by design and it will work far better.

    I'd also say that while you can give exact measurements and should strive to make sure those are accurate (I can't blame a company for a poor fit if my measurements are off), sometimes you do have to actually listen to and trust the company from whom you are ordering. They know what they're doing - and if you don't think they do, look elsewhere.

    Also worth remembering the reality of what we're dealing with - even when going full bespoke there will always be a level of tolerance built in to these things. It is possible to simply get carried away and simply be unreasonable with some specs. A half inch is nothing. If you really can't cope with the idea of a half inch either way of tolerance, then perhaps leather might not be for you - try lycra. ;)

    Yes, very different styles. I like both - though I don't as of yet own a Thedi - but they're sufficiently different in styling as to be far from interchangeable. There are much more obvious choices than Thedi if you wanted an Aero design not made by Aero - and, doubtless, vice versa.

    Quite. I'd say the tl/dr version is get the best measurements you can, talk to Aero about the models you like and take their advice on features / fit (i.e. if you're a Joey Ramone build, a Premier fit jacket is likely going to suit you much better than a regular Highwayman), and choose accordingly.
     
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  6. willyto

    willyto One Too Many

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    I own and have owned quite a few leather jackets and by far the most comfortable of the modern ones is my Lewis Leathers Universal MK2 I can open my arms doing a T and the jacket stays put and I can even swim with my arms without any trouble.

    You don't need to break anything in to make a jacket comfortable and you certainly don't need to put on any dressing or conditioner in a leather jacket to make it wearable or comfortable... that's just crazy.
     
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  7. Harris HTM

    Harris HTM One Too Many

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    You forgot to mention the type of leather - only horsehide. Which lead to Aero, under the previous management, selling heavy steer as horse and Schott glueing a fabric mesh on the interior side of horsehide to make it feel heavier and stiffer.
     
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  8. Psant25

    Psant25 One Too Many

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    I have bought I think 6 new aero jackets. Three from TB and three direct. The first 3 from TB were just too trim for me in heavy leather. Most have the fit issue. My aero chips was one of my best fitting jackets, but it worked poorly on my bike. I enjoy the process and also buying. Not a huge fan of selling and taking the 50 percent loss or more. I wish sometimes I would just go with a stock jacket from schott or vanson and call it a day. Johnson Leather has been really good to me. Got about 6 or so new from them now I think too. Finally feel like i know what I want and what fits and my preferred measurements. I think lol
     
  9. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Lewis make a nice jacket. THe pricing makes me wince, but one day I'll bite the bullet and order myself a Lightning in the original 1958 spec.

    I agree on break in. I've never had to consciously break in any of my jackets, inlcuding the Aeros - just wear the damn thing. Any stiffness in CXL FQHH was gone ina couple of weeks, notl ike boots which need "broken in".

    Yes, I remember that. Lauder really shafted Aero - so pleased they recovered. The one birght spot was how quickly, when it all came out, it put to bed so many of the claimed "obvious" superiorities of Horse when, to be frank, many buyers clearly couldn't tell the difference. (I recall that's one thing Lauder never understood - at trial he kept insisting they were perfectly good jackets, and geuinely couldn't understand why anyone would have been unhappy...).
     
  10. Guppy

    Guppy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    You didn't @ me, but you're responding to some points I made, so I feel like I should respond.

    If you have a jacket made from heavy, stiff, thick leather, then it will break in with use, and, as it breaks in, it will become more comfortable than it was when it was fresh out of the box. If it is a pattern that works for you, and sized correctly, when break-in is complete, you should end up with a comfortable jacket. If it's not a pattern that works for you, or if it's not sized correctly, breaking in the leather isn't going to make enough of a difference. If you don't have experience with wearing and breaking in this sort of jacket, it can be difficult to assess whether a new, unbroken jacket will work for you once broken in. It requires a little bit of faith to put in the wear to break it in and get the result. You can call it crazy if you want to, but my firsthand experience tells me that it does happen. If you don't want to believe it, I don't have anything more to tell you.

    Of course not every jacket is made from thick, heavy, stiff leather. So, of course the above doesn't apply to those jackets that I'm not talking about. If you want a jacket you don't need to break in, and will be comfortable immediately, you have plenty of options.

    There are plenty of leather jackets made from a leather that does not require much, or any, break-in. If you want an Aero, you have options there. Look at Vicenza HH, look at Goat, look at their lighter-weight leathers.

    Lastly, I never said that you have to, or even should apply dressings to hasten break-in and make a new jacket comfortable. I said it's a thing that one could do, if you really felt that a stiff CXL jacket was unwearable. I did it with an older jacket that I purchased second hand, which I felt needed conditioning due to dryness, and was surprised at how much it changed the way the leather draped and felt. I still don't recommend doing it with a brand new jacket, and it's certainly not necessary; but I often see people selling what looks like new/unworn Aero jackets, and, surmising that a reason might be that many new owners can't handle the break-in period for heavy, stiff CXL, this might be a better alternative to losing -$400-500 dumping the jacket that you just bought. Unless the measurements are obviously way off, I think most new owners would be better served by giving the jacket a real chance, and wearing it as much as they can stand to for a few weeks before they decide to give up on it. If they can't even do that, then maybe softening it up with a treatment of Pecard's can turn it around. From experience, I can say that it does have that effect, so no, it's not crazy. But I still recommend just breaking it in through wear, as Aero themselves recommend.

    That's all I'm saying needs to be done with them, too. They don't require extraordinary, special treatment to break in. Just wear them. They start out stiff, and they break in with normal wear and use. That's all they need.

    Well, one exception to that might be a jacket that has buttons. For this, I do recommend taking some time and reaming out the button holes with a pen or pencil, to stretch and flex the leather enough times that you can more easily pass the button through the hole. If you don't do this, you'll very likely break a button, or break the thread. This is annoying, to say the least, and easy enough to avoid if you take the time. It's much easier to button after, and well worth it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
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  11. El Marro

    El Marro Call Me a Cab

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    I can’t see any downside to this idea to be honest. Obviously a new CXL jacket does not “need” conditioning but in my experience a light coat of Pecards will not have any permanent effect on the leather. I have read of people using things like mink oil or neetsfoot oil that did change the color and that is not something I would want.
     
  12. Monitor

    Monitor

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    I'm sorry but this is still something that just simply cannot agree with and should not be so.

    I'm 100% with @willyto on this matter; Regardless of how heavy or stiff or whatever a new leather jacket feels, it should never, ever in this or any other alternate reality require any special treatment to become comfortable - or rather, to stop being uncomfortable, if you will.

    One can still find it overly cumbersome or difficult to wear due to physical weight of course, but as far as moving in it and range of motion goes, no jacket in this world should require you to invest crazy amount of time like weeks into it or slap grease all over it, before knowing if you even bought it in the right size.

    This cannot be. You should be immediately able to assess whether a brand new, unbroken leather jacket will fit you correctly or not.
     
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  13. Carlos840

    Carlos840 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Agreed.

    These two jackets are my two heaviest and thickest, they are ridiculously thick and heavy, both were comfortable and gave me full range of motion new out of the box, they took zero break in.
    They are both super well designed patterns.

    Lost Worlds Leathertogs: 3.44kg / 7.58lb
    Vanson Chopper: 3.60 kg / 7.95 lb

    My CXL Aeros weigh around 2.3kg / 5lb and no amount of break in could make them as comfortable as these two.
    Even though the LW and Vanson are heavier, they feel lighter when worn because the weight is balanced on the shoulders.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Guppy

    Guppy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I must not be coming across as clearly as I think I am. So I'll try again.

    I agree, you should be able to assess immediately whether a brand new, unbroken leather jacket will fit you correctly or not.

    The is mitigated by knowing whether things fit you generally. If you are trying on 50's patterns and are used to JNCO jeans and Flashdance sweaters after spending an entire childhood wearing hand-me-downs from older siblings and cousins, and thrift store finds, then you may not actually know fit as well as you think you do, for the particular style of clothing you're now attempting to asses, or the particular pattern of jacket. You may not know where the cuff is supposed to fall to, or where the hem should be, or where a proper waistline is. If you're not very particular about "proper" fit, then it may not matter to you. If you can fit your body into it and it zips/buttons up, then maybe that's all that matters.

    If on the other hand, your father was a 5th generation haberdasher who taught you everything he knew as you were growing up, grooming you take on the family trade when you came of age, then you might be a good bit more picky, and have a far more refined eye, and understanding of how garments are meant to fit. That still probably doesn't mean that some brand new leather jacket that you try on is going to be uncomfortable -- I've tried to say that the new jacket will become more comfortable, not go from uncomfortable to comfortable. It's not like a pair of shoes that will give you blisters and make your feet sore until you develop callouses and the she leather has time to break. Again, though, depending on what you're actually used to, what you're willing to put up with, etc., you might have a complaint about comfort. It's not a pair of silk panties, after all.

    I can say the above with confidence because, after a good 6 years of buying and selling on over 100 leather jackets, new and used, I know a good deal more about fit than I did when I started. I thought I knew whether something fit me when I started, and I didn't know what I didn't know until after I learned it in many cases. I've had experiences with jackets that started out stiff and I wasn't sure at first if I should keep them, but after wearing them in, it broke and molded to my body, and I was happy with them. I might not have been happy with them if they never changed from new. And if I'd had some formal training in assessing fit and knew the type of garment that I was trying to assess, I might have known with confidence immediately. But for things I lacked experience with, it was a matter of trial and error, and learning from experience, as well as trying to read as much I could about something I was interested in before I took the plunge.

    In most cases it did not take weeks of wear to achieve, but merely a few hours to see a difference already starting to happen. Of course, the more you wear it, the more it will change, and there's a huge difference from brand new to, say, 3 hours, and 10 hours and 100 hours+. The number of hours needed might be 0, for certain types of leather. But if you're talking a 4oz CXL, it's going to be damn stiff out of the box, and take time to break. I say give it weeks because for a lot of people, weeks means maybe an hour or two each day while walking from house to car and driving to work. For someone who puts in 14 hours of wear in a single day, they'll get the same number of hours as the person commuting 2 hrs/day for a week, and probably achieve more break-in during that single day, because they'll be moving about throughout the day a good deal more than someone who's just sitting in a car and walking from the door of their building to their desk and that's it.

    In the end it comes down to a lot of variable factors: what you know, or think you know, what you want, what you're willing to do, what you consider comfortable, etc.

    The fact remains, you do see a lot of nearly new jackets being sold on ebay by people who decided they didn't want to keep them. Maybe they all got the fit completely wrong? Or maybe they didn't know what they were in for and were charmed by the beautiful pictures, then found out that it wasn't quite what they were expecting, being used to softer, thinner mall jackets. Or maybe they are hyper finnicky and want the exact same thing redone with micro-adjustments here and there, and have deep enough pockets to dial in fit iteratively through trial and error, or maybe they're chasing a dream of perfection that they never quite reach. Some I'm sure just realize that they couldn't afford what they bought and need to recoup their money, and wouldn't ever feel comfortable wearing the thing for fear of it getting ruined or getting mugged. In short, there's every reason imaginable. But I have to believe that there's a reasonably large chunk of that pie that consists of people who weren't prepared, didn't know what to expect, and were put off by how different heavy CXL is from leathers they were more familiar with. And if it wasn't what they wanted, I'm not here to tell them they're wrong. But I am trying to tell people that the stuff does change as you wear it, it does break in, and that does take time.

    I shouldn't have to belabor this point -- we all know it, don't we? We spend hours talking to each other about it, for years. So why is it contentious all of a sudden?
     
  15. red devil

    red devil Call Me a Cab

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    @Guppy , clearly it takes some knowledge to be able to assess whether a leather jacket fits you, especially that it is very different from other garments you may be used to prior to getting the first one. So there are a lot of people who buy a jacket too quickly, don't know what to expect and sell it too quickly. Does that summarise your thoughts?

    At the same time, when I see that most of these jackets fall on the neck as opposed to the shoulders as clearly shown by @Carlos840 , seems to me that it is a clear weakness in the pattern, wouldn't you agree?
    An OTR or MTO should fit different body types since it is not custom after all, so if it is not able to do that, it may be not so well thought out?

    Edit: directed the message
     
  16. Guppy

    Guppy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Yes, that covers it pretty well.

    Not exactly. If you want to assess anything, or compare anything to something else, you need a set of criteria. If you're assessing how comfortable it is to wear, and you find that resting on the shoulders is superior to resting on the neck, then yes, I would agree, the jacket which rests its weight on the wearer's shoulders is better from a comfort standpoint. And to be sure, comfort is a major consideration for just about everyone.

    If on the other hand the pattern is a reproduction of a historical pattern from period where that's how the clothes hung on the body, then the pattern is doing what it's intended to do -- replicate a period where that was how things fit.

    (Of course, if they didn't (or weren't supposed to) fit that way in that period, then, sure, that's an issue... and I'm not knowledgeable enough about clothing to speak with authority on that point.)

    But let's say that the jacket does place weight mostly on the neck, and this is indeed a problem. I'd want to investigate more to understand the cause, before jumping right to blaming the pattern, though. Could be that the pattern isn't properly tailored to the wearer, could be the materials used in the repro are different enough to cause issues that weren't there in the originals, or something about the maker's technique doesn't authentically replicate the original, or could be a need to break-in... )
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
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  17. Monitor

    Monitor

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    Haha, come on, man - Kills me you even think I'm tryna make this contentious in any freaking way! I'm actually learning alot thru every point you made so far & enjoy this discussion, regardless of the fact that I still ain't seein' things your way. :D
    You have said it yourself how we agree on mostly all things jacket on this forum and I wholeheartedly agree so please don't take this as arguing - I see it as simply clearing a major point. Huge chunk of my jacket knowledge comes from your first hand experience so you know this ain't competing.

    That said, while in general... I, well, perfectly understand your point and agree, to an extent, with much of what you've said above, it is my own personal experience in the matter of fit that forces me to still partially disagree with what you're getting at.

    To clarify; Point I absolutely agree with you on is that investing time into wearing a relatively uncomfortable, heavy leather jacket will undoubtedly result in it becoming, well, more comfortable. Might even end up becoming ones favorite jacket, grail piece, second skin, etc. It's possible, no denying that.

    What I do not agree with is that this ought to be an essential part of purchasing a high end, heavy leather jacket. That's all.

    And I'll tell you what I mean in the shortest way possible - I've also been through... Let's say many, many jackets throughout all these years I've been a member of this forum and of course, prior to that and the gist is, after owning equal number of jackets that fit me perfectly comfortably off the rack, by many makers, either well known or no-names, both new and used, to those I found very uncomfortable and restrictive, I find it incredibly tough to swallow that some jackets simply require special treatment & that breaking it in is an unavoidable part of the deal.

    This is just my personal experience and at the very end of the road, it may not hold any merit at all but yeah, I see no reason why one leather jacket should be perfectly comfortable versus the other that, made by entirely equal standards, is annoyingly uncomfortable.

    If you care for examples; Lewis Leathers Phantom vs. Aero Highwayman. My build may or may not be blamed for such an outcome but I don't think we're all that different.

    That's all I mean. :)
     
  18. red devil

    red devil Call Me a Cab

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    As far as I have seen, the few originals I have handled did not have this issue, but did others have it? I am not knowledgeable enough to say. I suspect it would have depended on how good the pattern makers were in all these small operations. If they had a good understanding of the human body and how it moves, it translated to their work.

    The only thing I know is that the leathertogs were really well thought out overall, hence why quite a few of us are in love with their patterns.

    This is a good example :)

    Edit: typos
     
  19. Guppy

    Guppy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    @Monitor, I have no problem with a friendly and respectful discussion with you or anyone on this forum, and that's all we've been having. It's fine if we don't agree on everything. We DO generally agree on a lot of things. And, I agree with you, discussing things we disagree on is how we learn. We can't make any progress if we're right all the time.

    I only express surprise that this is being disputed because I've been saying things that I've heard many, many times from many different forum users, and I thought it was more or less consensus that Aero jackets made from heavy CXL do benefit from breaking in. Now all of a sudden, there's a surprising amount of people on this thread saying that they don't like Aero jackets, and that jackets shouldn't require any break-in. It seemingly contradicts so much of what I've read here for years.

    As for the rest of your point, I'm ready to accept that other makers jackets made from other types of leather with other patterns may not have as much, or any, need for breaking in. That said, this thread is about someone asking for first time advice buying Aero jackets, so I think my points are valid and relevant.

    Anyone can have the opinion that Aero jackets aren't as comfortable new as other jackets made by other makers. I'm not here to dispute that. I am here to say that if you're set on buying Aero, you should expect there to be some need to break it in, and it will get more comfortable as the break-in process goes on. If you don't want that, the recommendation is to pick a leather other than CXL, and Aero has plenty of options there, or pick a maker other than Aero. And if you buy an Aero not knowing to expect this as part of the experience, it could surprise you, put you off the brand, and cause you to give up on a perfectly good jacket that would have rewarded you if you had stuck with it.

    Part of the point I was making, there, was that there could be a difference in materials used in the repro that causes the issue.

    We KNOW that Aero does use leather that tends to be heavier and stiffer than a lot of what was used in originals. We commonly speak about Aero jackets that stand up on their own. When a leather is that stiff, it affects drape. So if the jacket's weight is mostly on the neck, but should be on the shoulders, if that's due to the leather being so stiff that it's not draping over the shoulders, because it first lands at the neck, and being stiff as hell, doesn't lay down over the shoulders, then that could be the issue -- not the pattern, OR the fit. If that's the case, then the answer is either go with a leather that doesn't have that property of being too stiff, or work the stiffness out of that leather if it's the leather you really want, by rolling it, folding it, flexing it until it breaks and becomes more flexible and drapes as it should.

    To test this theory, we should look at fit pics of jackets that started out with this issue, and see what they look like when worn after being fully broken in. Unfortunately, most of the examples in this thread are from @ton312, and he moves his jackets too quickly. Ton also expressed the opinion that those lines by the shoulders were not an issue for him. And most people say that his Aero jackets all look fantastic on him. So... I dunno if those lines are truly an issue, despite the wearer's opinion that they are not. But if they are, then we should see Ton wearing one of his customs after it's been worn enough that it doesn't stand on its own any more. That could take a very long time, unless we start introducing deliberate efforts at breaking the leather around the collar and shoulders.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
  20. AeroFan_07

    AeroFan_07 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    To the Original Poster's point - I'll share what just happened with me.

    After owning 2 off the rack Aero's purchased through Thurston Brothers at thier shop in Seattle (prior to it's closing to go online only) I later purchased 2 more off the rack Aero Highwayman "standard" jackets through them as well. I held onto the 4-pocket Cafe Racer & the 30's Halfbelt, both made of heavy CX Steerhide (Horween sourced) for 4-5 years each. Each of the two Highwayman jackets, a brown size "40" and a black "42" were moved along relatively soon after recieving them due either to the leather itself or simply a change in intrest. Trust me - this gets expensive.

    I also purchased pre-owned several other patterns and styles of Aero leathers off both here at FL and the world of ebay at various price points. At this time all of those have been sold off. This is also expensive - however less so as the price point variation is less robust.

    Finally, what just completed today, I ordered in late Feburary a Ridley (custom) through Thurston Brothers in a slightly less conservative style and with some modifications that I thought, to some odd extent, would make this my "grail" jacket. That I could "end" this quest in. See here: https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/aero-ridley-j106-repository-thread.101995/

    Results were not what I expected. The FIT was excellent. It really did work from that perspective. However I am not the younger man I used to be. I found this garnered, if anything, too much attention. Also I really was not in love with it when I wore it. After wrestiling with the fact that the pattern of the jacket was simply too busy for me, and I really was not 100% on board with Cordovan leather and bright nickle trim, I finally sold it. I just shipped the jacket during lunchtime today.

    So here's what I have learned through this crazy journey...Know Thyself first. I still like cross-zip "perfecto" style jackets, but now I am dedicated to only black, more conservative ones. I have such a one on order (again through Carrie at Thurston Brothers) and have vetted out most of the "extra" items I no longer want. One of those, TBH is olive drill stiching. While nice, I just do not want that feature moving forward.

    The second item I have noted is that I still also would like a simply black straight-zip jacket similar to a zip-sleeve HWM with nickle hardware as well. This "fits" my more conservative style that still has room for an "edge" to it. Hence why I am contemplating a different maker & model completely for this "second" jacket.

    I have experanced a lot here, and yes, it has cost me some serious cash in the process. However compared to a lot of other hobbies this has cost much less, and the enjoyment of trying and experancing such products, and being part of this great community has made it all worthwhile. So I reccommend sorting out what you like & do not like first of all. Then direct your attention in the direction you are led to go.
     
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