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Synthese

It has seemed in the past that people have occasionally taken these "reviews" as a bit too fanboyish, and perhaps they are. I like to think that they're fairly objective, but it's certainly true that writing in the heat of the moment leads to exaggeration and, perhaps, overzealous excitement. I hope people, including Drew, can appreciate that while I often gush, there's no such thing as perfection, and that - in my mind - TOJ doesn't really strive for perfection anyway. That said, I'm not entirely sure it's hyperbole for me to say that this might be my favorite TOJ - and, as Drew pointed out, I now own a jacket each in calf, lamb, calf suede, and lamb suede. I'd like to think that I've seen a representative example of each material, although I'm not entirely sure that my VTG jacket really counts as "calf." The most immediately noticeable thing about this jacket is, again, the feel of it. To answer part of Drew's question, it's much, much lighter than the calf suede, which, to me, feels quite burly. This is probably more in line with what people expect in a suede jacket - nappy, soft, with sort of that chamois-cloth feel to it. To be honest, I haven't seen nearly as many suede jackets as I have leather ones, so it's maybe less obvious to me what gradations there are in suede types, but the calf suede certainly doesn't feel less luxe to me than the lamb, just thicker. The lamb is softer, drapier, and I think it's probably more in line with what Drew aims for with TOJ. It's more like a fabric than a leather, in some ways. Although I, for one, am glad that my baseball jacket is calf rather than lamb, I can see why he would have wanted to change the materials. It would be a very, very different jacket if he were to do so, and I'd love to see one made - if anyone were feeling particularly daring, I think it would be worth sending an email to TOJ to see if they'd be willing to do a lamb suede version for you. Several posters have mentioned the idea that paying the full TOJ price for suede as opposed to leather feels a bit odd, and they're not entirely wrong. I don't know a thing about the hide market whatsoever, but you don't get the grainy, buttery feel of the lamb leather which has become, to an extent, the TOJ trademark. Of course, google will show you that this means nothing, and my only point here is to say that the T1 is probably not the best "introductory jacket" for children lusting after there first TOJ piece. It does, however, really encapsulate what the brand is about, I think. The patterning on this jacket is really fantastic, from the lower armholes (comfy!) to the pleating in the shoulder and hip that gives the jacket that awesome shape when it's unbuttoned. The fit is slouchy and cool - I don't really know if there's a better way to express it than through analogy, but it's definitely (again) a luc besson piece; it has a sort of parisian chic to it that is matched by the other jackets - well, perhaps parisian is the wrong word, but there's a louche-ness to them that makes you think "yeah, American," but it's through a sort of warped lens that keeps it far, far, far away from the stuff peddled by brands like Gant and Band of Outsiders. It's not really Americana at all, actually, just a fond gesture towards it. It's recognizable but also incredibly distinct. The same details are all there - horn buttons, straight lines, half-lined pockets (this jacket has two interior pockets which is a serious hallelujah design feature for me), stitched chain - this is actually my least favorite part, because metal makes my neck cold. The only feature of this jacket that bothers me is the cotton lining. It's a nice cotton, and a lovely herringbone, but it just makes it harder to put the jacket on over a shirt, and the satin feels so luxurious on my other jackets that it seems a shame not to have it lining this one. That said, I'm not entirely sure it would fit the look, and the cotton gives the piece a more rugged feel - which may or may not be necessary, considering the relative lightness of the lamb, but it doesn't feel out of place. I think my favorite bit, actually - aside from the way it looks - might be the way the seams looks on the inside. They're so neat, and the fabric is so light - it's really a thing of beauty. I love those little details; like the side button at the waist, and the pleat that sits just above it, and the way the suede dips down on the back of the collar under the all-seeing-eye. But - and I want to address this - there is a definite feel of handmade goods about all the jackets I own. I think that this is where some people get frustrated, and I would hazard that it's related to the MTM factor as well: Not every stitch is straight. There are dips, variations; quirks that I actually enjoy but imagine that some people with ocd that is more prevalent than mine could find disconcerting. Again, as with all the jackets, there's a tangible sense of thoughtfulness that's apparent in the pattern design and detailing. I think that I have used the term "labor of love" before, and it applies still. For all of these pieces (the ones I own, I mean), the most important aspect is the feeling of comfort that comes with wearing them - a sigh of relief as you slip a jacket on, the realization that you don't have to put any thought into the "styling" if you don't want to: they're just really, really nice pieces of clothing that stand entirely on their own. I love putting on my sneakers, beat-up jeans, and baseball jacket and going to get coffee, and I have owned enough crap in my life to know that that's not a universal feeling. There's this myth that TOJ deals in absolute, diamond-like perfection, and that's just not true - nor is it true of anything. I think the same thing happens when people focus focus focus on getting the "perfect fit" - something that has been absent recently in the WAYWT and RFT threads, but that I think TOJ unfortunately got a bit caught up in, to no fault of its own. I remember Aeglus talking about how forgiving TOJ patterning is, and that has been my experience as well. People are trying to cut these things, varsities included, as close to the skin as possible, which is pretty unfeasible and, in my own very humble opinion, missing the point of TOJ. Every jacket looks as though it was made for me - and most were - but that's because, in part, of how you wear them. People may remember Drew's post about how my Bball is actually a size too big for me (I would disagree), but that thought, combined with the fact that I bought it second hand, should give you an idea of how easy it is throw one of these things on. The only thing I would caution new buyers about is going too small. Add a half-inch if you think you need one. The measurements game is give-and-take; Charly knows his business but you know your body. I think there's a disconnect here, between more, hmm, educated - or seasoned - hobbyists, and people who are buying their first jacket, first piece of clothing, whatever. TOJ does, in part, assume that people know what they want - which a relatively short lifetime of experience has already shown me is practically never true - and some people who are buying TOJ assume that it's like a fire-and-forget thing; where they don't have to do any work at all and a perfect jacket gets delivered to their door. It's not far from the truth, but when you have people who are going in and fucking with the house cut, it's not surprising that there are occasional disappointments. In that same vein, I am still not entirely convinced of MTM's necessity. The ability to adjust lengths is, I think, the most important function of that system - and something that I find useful as well. However, as I've mentioned in the past, fretting over a quarter of a centimeter doesn't do anybody any good. However, the caveat to that is that I've basically been sizing up on everything lately, so when I say "size up" your TOJ, I recognize that it might not work for everyone, and I can recognize (even in myself) the validity of that frenetic desire for spot-on measurements. But, as I said before, thought has to go into the measurements on the buyer's end as well. Of course, the jacket that you guys have NOT seen is my girlfriends 2010 DR, which was sized based on her body measurements, and, frankly, I have no fucking idea how the TOJ guys produced a jacket with such a perfect fit. It's insane. So yes, Charly knows his stuff, but you should still be putting some thought into this, as you would anything else. I, for one, would like to see what Drew could do with a higher markup. I'm not even entirely sure I would be able to afford it if he went a step up, but it would be interesting nonetheless. There's a real disconnect (in my mind) between the legions of varsity addicts that we saw in the early days and a piece like the 4-zip moto, the T1, or the Bball (or the bombers, which I don't own), which I think are in a different league altogether. It would be neat to see a step up, particularly in the wool department. Weirdly, it seems that my tastes are lining up with Drew's more and more these days (obviously, I've never met the man, so that's pure conjecture) - not that that sentiment is really worth anything, but it's interesting for me, at least. I'm sure I'll have more to add once I'm able to actually wear the damn thing (it's 40 and raining here), but those are some first thoughts. Sorry for the massive wall of text. Let's see some pictures: