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Zip or buttons on a custom Aero?

Creeping Past

One Too Many
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1,567
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England
I'm finalising my specifications for a custom jacket in brown FQ horse or heavy steer. I've no pictures to offer, but to give an idea it'll be more or less a long version of the Highwayman (back hem finishing at arse level) with front handwarmer-type button-down pockets. No shoulder vents, just high armholes, so not like a Long Half-Belt.

I'm trying for a workwear-type look and I'm wavering over whether to have a zip or buttons at the front.

The way I see it, if the zip's going to be way shorter than the full length of the jacket, why not have a button closure, which will cut out drafts when windy and cold?

Then again, perhaps buttons would look odd with the side panel construction of Aeros.

Thoughts, anyone?
 

jack miranda

A-List Customer
Messages
382
Location
Up the hill from Ballard
There are times

when the zipper on my Hercules is a nuisance. I ride the bus to work and I have to unzip before I can sit down. If I had buttons...why, things would be a bit simpler. I'd just undo the bottom one and Bob's your uncle (someone must explain this one to me someday. One of you lads from over the pond).

On the other hand, with a leather as thick and stiff as FQHH or thick steer, buttons could be a hassle to manipulate (This from a guy who is terminally non-dextrous, whose brain and hands have never been properly introduced). I'm leaning toward buttons as it is a work coat. But you know, if it's an Aero, you're going to be wowed! whatever you do. Nome sane?
 

Jerekson

One Too Many
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1,614
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1935
Functionality aside for a moment - I'd say the zipper. Zippers to me look a lot more streamlined than buttons, and more natural.

Leave the buttons to your shirts, as I always say...
 

Rufus

Practically Family
Messages
518
Location
London
jack miranda said:
when the zipper on my Hercules is a nuisance. I ride the bus to work and I have to unzip before I can sit down. If I had buttons...why, things would be a bit simpler. I'd just undo the bottom one and Bob's your uncle (someone must explain this one to me someday. One of you lads from over the pond).

From Wikipedia as it's a more succinct answer than I'd have managed!

"In 1887, British Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, appointed his nephew Arthur James Balfour as Minister for Ireland. The press had a field day when he referred to the Prime Minister as "Uncle Bob".[1] Balfour later went on to become Prime Minister himself.

This theory claims that to have "Bob" as one's uncle is a guarantee of success, hence the implied meaning, "and if you do this, you cannot fail." Use of the phrase is not recorded until 1937, however, and, although the Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English suggests the phrase has been in use since the 1890s,[2] there is no known example in print predating the entry.[3]"

Cheer! Ruf
 

winston

New in Town
Messages
24
Location
UK
I would say go for buttons simply because I favour button-front jackets (which are relatively rare in leather compared to zip-front) and would like to see an aero jacket with buttons, as I plan to order one myself.

I've always thought that buttons look a lot more refined than zips. I think they're more versatile too, because you can choose how much of the jacket front to close.
I find zips to be inherently ugly pieces of equipment, and any edge finished with one is not kind to the hand. I feel that with zips you are bringing the mechanical into the softer world of tailoring.

I've just made it sound like I despise zip jackets, which I don't, but I have a definite preference.

The issue is how to finish the collar area with a button jacket. You need overlap of course, and you could go with the shirt-style flap collars that most aeros have, or you could design some sort of fold-back lapel style similar to what exists on the bootlegger but smaller.
 

Longshanks

New in Town
Messages
39
Location
New York, NY
buttons n zips

I like the look of buttons, and they are versatile, but the smallest paper cut on a fingertip can make it tough to work them. And on a chilly windy day like today (in New York) the wind can whistle right through the button gaps on a single-breasted coat. Brrr...

(and please please POST PHOTOS when you get it...)
 

bobjones

A-List Customer
Messages
315
Location
The Big Apple
I am surprised noone has mentioned the standard thought, at least in my book: if the jacket is waist-length or close to it, use a zipper. Longer jackets like a 3/4-length car coat, or at least 2-3" below the waist use buttons.

Buttons look much better for longer jackets, while zippers do better on shorter ones.
 

Jerekson

One Too Many
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1,614
Location
1935
bobjones said:
I am surprised noone has mentioned the standard thought, at least in my book: if the jacket is waist-length or close to it, use a zipper. Longer jackets like a 3/4-length car coat, or at least 2-3" below the waist use buttons.

Buttons look much better for longer jackets, while zippers do better on shorter ones.

Nice observation...
 

Creeping Past

One Too Many
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1,567
Location
England
Thanks for the comments. It's about 50/50, then, mirroring my thoughts!

I think I'm going for a zip, because I just don't see a button front working on a jacket with side panels. A zip for me, in this case, then.

Definitely a zip.
 

Peacoat

Bartender
Bartender
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5,652
Location
South of Nashville
The zip is a good choice on that jacket. Be sure and post some pictures when it comes. Also please let us know what the current wait time is.
 

bobjones

A-List Customer
Messages
315
Location
The Big Apple
feltfan said:
Not sure how useful such generalizations are.

http://www.goodwearleather.com/pages/gwa1_images3.html

I know that's a classic vintage but it looks weird to my late-20th/early 21st century eyes. I prefer 70s-style leather jackets mostly, and the ones from that era that are longer mostly have buttons, following my "rule" above.

Obviously though, rules are meant to be broken, and clearly the style will have a big impact on the choice.
 

Creeping Past

One Too Many
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1,567
Location
England
Yer, I'm trying to keep it vintage-correct, and I've seen photos of US work jackets with both zip and sb buttons.

My main concern was that buttons might look odd with the cinched side-panel construction that Aero favours. I wouldn't think twice about buttons on a jacket with side seams.

I'm avoiding the DB route generally because I'm a large chap (not fat, mind, just large) and wouldn't want to look any wider than absolutely necessary. I think FQ HH will carry enough heft and bulk in SB.
 

H.Johnson

One Too Many
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1,562
Location
Midlands, UK
I sometimes think we are too hide-bound in our rules on fasteners. I used to own a WW2 Irvin jacket (an IAC) that had been converted to buttons (possibly during WW2). It worked very well, actually, and I wore it for years but the 'authenticity police' would clap me in irons nowadays. Also, in a museum-type site somehere on the web (I forget where) is a photograph of a similar jacket that has been converted to press studs (poppers or snaps), again possibly during WW2. That's interesting, isn't it?

One of the nicest modern leather jackets I have ever seen was an experiment by Lost Worlds - a double breasted buttoned jacket with a large 'trench coat' collar and a buckled waist belt. A bit like a cross between a B-1 or Irvin and the jacket worn by Hans-Joachim Marseilles.
 

Creeping Past

One Too Many
Messages
1,567
Location
England
HJ, that's a very pertinent intervention.

In various bits of recent reading about military dress across the ages, both leather and other, it strikes me that adaptations and alterations (whether issue or non-issue kit) are often highly individual and as dependent on personal notions of style and awareness of historical forebears as on function, let alone established dress codes or rules.

I'm thinking particularly of kit adapted/adopted for desert use.

We should certainly take a leaf out of the adaptive style book of non-issue kit wearers.

As individuals interested in vintage clobber, we will, probably out of habit, seek an ideal cut/shape/style. I always bear in mind that it's me who's creating the 'look', rather than the look that's creating me.

Is some misty-eyed idea of authenticy constraining my choice of jacket? Possibly. But although I've visualised an 'authentic' image, it's limits are based on my requirements.

Notice the focus on function of John Blashford-Snell on the first part of the BBC series about Savile Row. More of this approach, perhaps.
 
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