As some of you may know, I have continued to shrink even in the past few months after my big weight loss over a year ago. This means that I had to sell two more Freewheelers jackets recently, including my all time favorite jacket which really hurt. I ordered a brown deerskin Freewheelers Bodie as a replacement for the Sunset, but did not order a replacement for the black Mulholland.
The plus side of this was that I really wanted another deerskin jacket after losing the Sunset and the Bodie seemed like the perfect jacket for me in almost every way. The downside was that it left me with no black leather jacket. The plan was to switch my Field Leathers order to black from the brown pony hide that I was previously planning on ordering.
This changed on Saturday when I went with my girl and a friend (some of you boot guys may know him – Nick from Stridewise) to Mister Freedom. At the time, I didn’t necessarily plan on trying on a leather jacket while I was there, especially because based on the size charts, the sleeves were much too long for me. However, I knew I would try something on. I’m definitely into the brand and have quite a few items from them already, but Alee (@vintagefeatherr), my fiance, is REALLY into MF and has a lot more from them than I do.
The campus jacket was always one that I was sort of interested in and had considered purchasing at times, but a few things had kept me from ever really getting close to buying it. In fact, despite how many times I had been to Mister Freedom, I had never once even tried one on. This was because I always figured the sleeves would be comically long on me. Based on chest size, I would need at least a 40 or 42 in this jacket and would certainly have needed a 42 when I was heavier. At that size, the sleeves would be 2 inches too long and even the body would be longer than I would have wanted.
The other reason that I had not seriously considered the Campus jacket as an option before was because it was made with a relatively thin cowhide. I was so obsessed with Shinki Hikaku and Badalassi Carlo for so long that I didn’t really consider other leathers as viable options. Obviously, I do not feel that way anymore.
After taking some photos and encouraging Alee to buy a shirt while at Mister Freedom, I decided to try on the size 36 Campus Stallion jacket. I went straight for the smallest size because I do fit into a size 36 ranch blouse. Plus, I figured this would be the only jacket with sleeves and body length to my liking.
To my pleasant surprise, it actually fit pretty well and as soon as I tried it on, I loved how it looked. Alee, being a wonderful and enabler as well as a major Mister Freedom fan agreed that it looked great and told me to go for it given that I had no other black leather jacket.
The chest was a little tight, so I tried on another size 36 which actually did feel slightly more roomy, so I bought that one. It actually buttoned up decently well, but that doesn’t matter anyway. I live in socal and this is a lightweight jacket so there is no reason for me to ever button up the jacket.
In terms of fit, I’m thrilled. It’s nice and short. The chart says 23″ back, but it’s actually more like 22.25″ by measurements which is great for me. It certainly does fit slim, but it is quite comfortable. The great pattern combined with the light, unlined leather makes it one of the easiest leather jackets to wear that I’ve ever owned, if not the easiest. While I was at work, I actually forgot a couple times that I was even wearing a leather jacket which is something that has never happened before. The only real downside for me right now is that the sleeves are a little too long. They’re good enough for now, and hopefully the jacket will crease up enough that they’ll shorten a tiny bit. Either way, I’m happy with the fit overall. The sleeves being a little long rather than comically long is better than I expected.
The leather is tea core and based on other examples, should age pretty dramatically which should be fun. It’s a nice and light cowhide leather with no lining and even in pretty warm weather that day, it felt comfortable which is great. The more I can wear it, the better. It is also creasing up in the arms really quickly which looks great. The fact that the layer of black has chipped off in a couple of places as well as the pictures of it I’ve seen on IG tell me that it will age pretty dramatically like it’s natural version sibling, but in a different way.
The grain is pretty nice and variated in the leather, but it’s not a rich, deep black. It’s a fairly flat, painted look which I think is the point. I actually like the leather a heck of a lot more than I was expecting to. Construction quality is certainly solid for the price and I’m perfectly fine with it not being at Freewheelers level because it’s 1/3rd the price of some FW jackets. I will give more detail on all of this when I write the full review in the future.
As of now, I really love this jacket and having worn it most days since I purchased it, I love it even more than when I bought it so I know I made the right choice. The short length is fantastic, the style is great, the pattern is wonderful, and the leather is much nicer than I was expecting. Cossack jackets are a favorite of mine. I had a Himel one and currently have two moleskin ones from Oooe Yofuketen that I adore and this one slots in nicely with those two.
This purchase is a sign that I am reaching a new state of my leather jacket journey. I started out my leather jacket journey trying to figure out what I even liked, then I just wanted to get the very best, and now I’m more after the perfect fit than the perfectly constructed jacket. I’ve gotten to the point where I have had to sell off jackets that are objectively near perfect because they didn’t fit me well enough. Now that I’ve gotten jackets that do actually fit the way I always dreamed a jacket would, I’m focusing even more on how I look in the jacket than how nice the jacket looks on its own.
The funny thing was that after leaving, I realized that this was the first time I had ever gone to a store and purchased a leather jacket off the rack. Given all of the leather jackets I have owned, it’s kind of wild that this was the first time ever. I know I’ve owned at least 20 jackets and I figured that it would have happened at least once by now, but nope. This was the first. It was a really fun and spontaneous experience. I’m not used to this happening with leather jackets. You know that I’m excited about this jacket because I wrote this article. Never before have I written an initial review article like this after owning an item for less than a week so that should indicate how happy I am with this jacket. What makes that especially impressive is that based on the list price ($949) this is actually the least expensive leather jacket I have purchased.
Nick told me later he couldn’t believe how quickly I made the decision to grab it. He said that he would have agonized over it for weeks before purchasing it. I realized that like with my impulse buy of my roughout Freewheelers jacket, the ability to be this impulsive this successfully comes from experience. I’ve made enough mistakes to be able to do this and not worry about it at all. Enough jackets and enough mistakes in my past have really helped me know exactly what works and what doesn’t. Maybe some people can do this without experience, but I feel like most leather jacket enthusiasts need to make some mistakes before they get to this point. It’s taken me around 7 years.
I’ve also included some photos of the Mister Freedom store as well including one of Alee trying on the shirt she ended up walking out with (she took one size smaller though). If you’re ever in LA, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s the coolest clothing store I’ve been to outside of Japan, and it’s cooler than a lot of Japanese stores too. I have thought about writing articles focusing on the stores that I like and if I do end up doing that, Mister Freedom will be the first one that I cover.