Monday, January 26, 2015

1960s Brent half-belt jacket

This vintage leather jacket was made in the 1960s for Montgomery Ward under their Brent label.  It is a classic half-belt cossack leather jacket style, popular from the 1930s-1960s. While it is not labeled, with its heavier weight, this feels like a steerhide rather than horsehide. This one has a larger Talon zipper than earlier models, as well as a quilted nylon lining.  These are rare to find in larger sizes like this, and even rarer to find in such good condition.

This type of '60s version, with its heavier leather, simplified lines and detailing and disproportionately large zipper seems to be more in line with the "ruggedly manly" perception some people have of '30s jackets of this style who have never handled the originals.

Friday, January 23, 2015

1980s Reproduction belted leather surcoat

This leather jacket was made in the 1980s or so in the style of a 1940s fully belted leather surcoat. The belt buttons on and off like the originals (though most of them have lost their front sections).  It has a zipper front (the nylon ykk is a giveaway to an otherwise nice reproduction) and a bi-swing back.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

T.W. Stevenson leather lined mackinaw coat

This vintage mackinaw coat was made in the 1920s by the TW Stevenson Mfg. Co of Minneapolis. Stevenson was a producer of mackinaw coats and leather jackets from the late 1800s through the 1930s. The company was headquartered at 416 N. 1st Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This coat is an early-style shawl collared mackinaw. It is double breasted, belted, with patch pockets and is constructed from heavy brown mackinaw wool. The coat is fully leather lined, body and sleeves. Such leather linings were popular in the 1910s-1920s as a windproof layer in outdoor / workwear coats. Starting in the late 1920s, leather became a more a more popular material for coat exteriors, and the popularity of the position wool and leather switched. The coat has the name Walter Sternitzke written in the lining, though the coat was probably originally purchased by his father, Reinhold Sternizke, a farmer from the town of Aitkin, Minnesota.

For another leather lined shawl collar coat from this period, see here:

Monday, January 19, 2015

German Theatre-made A-2 Flight jacket

This vintage A-2 leather flight jacket was made in the 1940s, either at the end of the war or during occupation. A-2s ceased to be produced in 1943, but remained popular with servicemen, leading to a secondary market for non-contract private production. Theatre made examples like this are rare, but were commissioned by Americans who wanted a jacket that was no longer available through official channels. It is made loosely to the A-2 pattern, with a shirt style collar secured by snaps, flapped, snapped patch pockets, knit cuffs and collar, and a zipper front with a wind flap. The jacket has a one piece back and two piece sleeves. Unlike contract examples, this one has a Prym snap closure on the windflap, which takes the place of the hook and eye fastening usually found on the collar stand. The jacket has war-time German hardware, with a Zipp main zipper (with the back marked DRP, which stands for Deutschers ReichsPatent, and points to a 1945 or before dating of manufacture of the zipper). All the snaps are PRYM brand. The jacket is lined with a typically German plaid, which has been heavily worn and has been patched.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jack C. Miles two tone halfbelt leather jacket

I find regional leather jacket styles very interesting. For example, the deerskin jackets made in Wisconsin have distinctive patterns which changed very little over the decades. Denver also had their own sense of style when it came to leather jackets, one which seems to be unique to makers in that city.  Last August, I profiled one of these makers, A.T. Hendrick, whose history can be found at

I recently was fortunate enough to buy another jacket, made by Jack C. Miles, a furrier and taxidermist operating on Broadway in Denver.  The pattern, with its button front, boxy cut, zip breast pocket, and distinctive cuffs, is very similar to the one made by Hendrick. This one is two tone, which really pops all the detailing.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Abercrombie and Fitch utility jacket

Before they became what they are today, Abercrombie and Fitch outfitted presidents and sold such high quality goods as this beautifully simple utility jacket, made in the early 1950s.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

1941 Aviation Style jacket

Here's a step on the way to the motorcycle jacket.  1941, with zipped sleeves and a D pocket.  The epaulettes give it a bit of an A-2 vibe.

Friday, August 22, 2014

1941 Boyville Aviator jacket

These jackets must have been fun for the makers at the time. How many pocket and fiddly details can be tacked on? This one has handwarmers, a "chart pocket" and a small pocket, described on this one as a change pocket.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

1940 - Boyville JR aviator's jacket

I love seeing jacket designs in unexpected materials.  Case in point- the Aviator style, complete with D pocket and cigarette pocket (though I would guess they weren't used for maps or cigarettes in the 2-8 year old size range), rendered in blue plaid instead of the leather which is associated with the style.  Very sporty.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

1940 - Boyville Aviation Jacket

Boyville was Sears's children's and teen's line. Capeskin leather.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

1940- Ponyhide Aviation Jacket

Horsehide Suits - 1896

Listed in with the hunting clothing section, these horsehide jackets and pants were oil tanned and advertised as, "wind-proof, pliable and soft as kid".

Monday, August 18, 2014

Leather Jackets of 1896

I'm always on that quest to find the origins and the evolution of the styles we all know and love.  Here's a selection of leather garments from 1896. The leather on these is Sumac tanned, but is not named as to what kind of leather it is, other than the French Calfskin pants, which is nearly double the price of the standard version.  The cut of most of the jackets is similar to hunting or denim work coats of the period. It is interesting that many are reversible.