Black CHP jacket

This one I’m keeping for myself.  It’s a Langlitz Columbia / California Highway Patrol style jacket.  7 pounds of leather.

A lot of people out there buying modern high end reproductions of ’30s jacket styles talk about how authentic their jackets are. To prove this point they reference how their jackets weigh eight pounds and can stand up on their own, how they can stop bullets. How anything that’s not made from the worlds stiffest 4oz horsehide is “mall jacket quality”. That kind of thing.  The more I hear about this kind of thing, and the more original jackets I handle, the more I’m convinced these people have never seen an actual vintage jacket.  Most of the vintage jackets I’ve handled clock in at three and a half pounds, post conditioning. The counterargument people will use against that is that they’ve lost moisture and therefore weight over the years, and I know that these jackets do.  But they usually put on several ounces after conditioner is applied to bring them back to their original state, not four and a half pounds.

Back to the jacket at hand.  Like I say, clocking in at 7 pounds, which is a lot for such a short jacket, it’s almost uncomfortable to wear, so sizing is important. This one is a good fit for me, tight through the body, but not uncomfortably so.  A big complaint I have with modern production motorcycle jackets I’ve tried on is their length. As with seemingly everything these days, they’ve become longer and longer, gradually lengthening to close to the length of a suit jacket.

There was a reason that old utility jackets, denim jackets, and motorcycle jackets hit the wearer right at the beltline.  When you sit down, or ride a motorcycle, or do anything that requires any action, a long jacket will either bunch up or ride up.  With a heavy leather jacket like this, the riding up scenario is more likely. With a jacket like this, the bottom of the jacket lines up just about with where you bend in the middle, which means no matter how you move, the jacket stays right where it should.  Some modern jacket makers try to get around this length issue by putting a two-way zipper on their product, allowing the jacket to be opened at the bottom. It’s a good solution, but I fine that more often than not, makers continue the “V” shape of the jacket all the way to the bottom, which means (for me, at least) they are either uncomfortably tight across the hips, or that you have to size up, making them too baggy in the chest.  Give me an old fashioned waist length jacket any day.

You may notice on the long half-belt jackets of the ’30s-’50s that the zipper starts a good six to eight inches higher than the bottom hem, and that on older suit jackets and overcoats, the button stance was higher.  This allowed you, even with a longer length, to keep your jacket buttoned or zipped, keeping the cold and wind out.

This jacket dates from the 1970s, and has a heavy gauge Talon main zipper.  It has zipped sleeve cuffs with mouton panels at the end to keep a tight seal when fully zipped. I like my jackets on the simple side without a lot of hardware. It’s easy for a motorcycle jacket to get into punk or fetish territory in a hurry, especially one like this.  For that reason, I like the concealed lapel studs, the simple pockets, and the un-fussy yoked back.  It is well detailed, but practical, and thought out. I’m not in love with the belt loops, as I have no intention of wearing a garrison belt with it, but I can live with them. The jacket came with a snap on mouton panel, which covers the rider’s chest and throat while the jacket is worn with the lapels open.

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7 thoughts on “Black CHP jacket

    • Personally I prefer the shorter length and simpler styling to that of the Perfecto, but that’s more a matter of personal taste than anything else.

  1. Sir,
    The Perfecto that I have [size 50] only goes to just above my waist and actually is simpler looking than this CHP.

  2. danphunter123 on March 3, 2013 at 11:06 am said:

    Spencer
    Can you please tell me how long Stetson made the 7x Clear Beaver 50?

    I bought one recently on ebay and was wondering the production date:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Stetson-Hat-Genuine-Beaver-50-7x-7-3-8-cowboy-hat-w-Original-Box-/140907049826?_trksid=p2047675.l2557&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT&nma=true&si=9icM9vrEg%252BvvV26g3dIBvGBu7E8%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

    Thanks
    Dan

    danphunter1@aol.com

    • Hey, Dan,
      Yours is from the tail-end of the model, I’d say mid-late ’60s. It wouldn’t surprise me if 1974 is when it actually left the shop. They can be a bit hard to date. Most Stetsons stopped using the brown sweatband in the late 1950s, but the high end models, the 7x clear beaver, the 100, and the 150, kept using them for years after. That particular liner points to a ’60s date, and the quality of the stampings on the sweatband look more consistent with the tail end of the run.

  3. Thank you Spencer,

    Good to know.

    Even though the 7x is not from Stetsons best years, it is still a good hat with pouncing just below my mid 60′s, 100 and a nice feel to the claylike felt.

    The only thing I personally do not like is the stiffness of the brim.
    Sorry to go off on a tangent on your jacket thread.

    Thanks
    Dan

  4. Beautiful!  The thing that strikes me about vintage cut A2′s and other 1930′s and 40′s leather jackets is how downright slim and narrow-shouldered a lot of the original owners must have been.  These lads coming out of a depression and directly into a world war didn’t carry much in the way of extra flab.  A color, shirts-off snapshot of the “Tarawa Lumber Company” says it all.  These guys are just muscle, sinew and army rations.  My A2 would probably suit a couple of hours in a Mustang cockpit just dandy but after a year of wear, it still feels a bit strange on a walk to the noodle shop. I literally have to watch my weight simply so I can get dressed in the morning!     

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