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Breaking In A New Horsehide Jacket

breaking in a leather jacket

Horsehide is an extremely tough leather and most tanning methods used in this leather require some breaking in. This can take a few weeks but it's well worth the effort as can been seen in the pictures of used jackets on our Customers Gallery.

Front Quarter heavy horsehide takes the most effort but one simple method will help enormously with a brand new jacket. Leave the jacket somewhere warm overnight, near a radiator but not on a radiator, or in a warm airing cupboard for example.

This leather is packed with waxes and oils in the tanning process and like any wax it stiffens up when cold; this initial stiffness seems to be the biggest drawback customers find with their new jacket. Warmth softens the hide so it's pliable and very comfortable to wear immediately, and natural body warmth and movement will keep it pliable during normal wear even in the coldest of climates.

Wearing your jacket for an hour or two will soon warm and soften the hide but for immediate ease of wear nothing beats starting a frosty morning with a pre-warmed Aero horsehide jacket!

Of course there are also the two traditional methods of breaking in new clothing but our advice is that leather will develop it's unique patina all by itself in no time at all. Don't try to fake it, age it, sand it, or any other method used by any other manufacturer, this is no ordinary jacket. Wear it and love it!

For those who can't wait these are those two methods...

The 501 Method

This involves sitting in a bath of water or taking a shower in the jacket and then wearing it until it dries, this not only helps break it in but it also helps mould the jacket to your own specific shape. Best done on a warm summer's day!

When we made "used" horsehide jackets for Levi Vintage we used a similar method, completed jackets were soaked for several hours in a bath of warm water, then put on a mannequin with his arms bent at the elbows, the collar area folded just right, the zipper done up and them dried a yard or so from an industrial hot air blower. This is best done in the depths of Winter! Do not dry on a hanger.

This is only a suggestion rather than a recommendation, although we know of several Aero wearers who've done this with spectacular results, we learnt from our work with Levi Vintage, every single horsehide jacket seems to react differently and if your jacket turns out not looking the way you expected it to we cant be held responsible for jackets looking too worn or for any damage to the jacket due to over-soaking or drying too quickly. Take these measures at your own risk!

The Savile Tweed Suit Method

This was a old favourite with the aristocracy when they still had estates, on taking delivery of a new Savile Row tweed suit, the Lords Of The Manor would give it to his gardener to wear for a couple of months so he could knock the newness out of it. His lordship then reclaimed the suit and wore it until it got too shabby for his tastes at which point, he gave it back to the gardener as a "keeper". This is a great method for breaking in a Horsehide jacket but does have a couple of minor drawbacks. Firstly this involves hiring a gardener that's the right size, and secondly, hiring one who is not going to abscond the second he gets a new Aero on his back.

Wearing A New Horsehide Jacket

This is much easier, just wear it, don't be precious with it, don't mollycoddle it, but don't ever hang it up on a hook at the back of the neck.

Otherwise, these jackets like to be treated roughly... but don't leave it on the back of a chair in a pub whatever you do, it'll be gone in a flash in most areas, quicker than you could say "Where's the gardener?"

Treating The Leather

This is even easier. Do nothing, absolutely nothing. Do not oil it, don't treat it with hide food - even ours, this is for old steerhide jackets and dried up old vintage horsehide jackets from the 1930s and 1940s, not for your Aero, well not until maybe 2035.