Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
Everyone needs a good, lightweight jacket, and for many of us an MA-1 fits the bill nicely. They are the successor to the B-15 Flight Jacket, which is similar in design but with the addition of a mouton collar. They have been produced in a wide range of fabrics, but cotton and nylon are the two most traditional.
1) Universal Works: MA-1 Jacket in Olive
Universal Works’ MA-1 Jacket is a great budget option, although the design is a bit non-traditional. Generally, MA-1’s feature ribbing at the hem that matches the ribbing at the collar and cuffs, although the slimmed-down pattern of this jacket makes that ribbing a bit less necessary from a fit standpoint. The front hand pockets usually have a some form of flapped, snap closure as well. Those few nit-picks aside this is an excellent option if you’re looking for a basic flight jacket.
Available for $126 from Cultizm.
2) Neighborhood: MA-1 Jacket in Black Drab
Neighborhood’s MA-1 Jacket is a bit pricier than some other options on this list, but you get a lot of jacket for the money. This flight jacket is about as classic as they come, although the font hand pockets don’t feature the iconic flap closure. It’s constructed from a nylon outer shell, features Thinsulate insulation, and an orange satin lining; traditionally flight jackets feature a bright orange lining in case a pilot needed to bailout of their plane. Once landing safely the pilot could reverse their flight jacket so that they would be easier to locate and pick-up.
Available for £504 from The Bureau Belfast.
3) Schott: MA-1 Jacket in Khaki
Schott is a company mainly known for the made in the USA leather jackets, but their MA-1 is perhaps an even better reason to support them. It is very historically accurate, from the ribbing and flapped/snapped hand pockets to the utility pouch on the left arm and bright orange inner lining. It does feature the company named embroidered on the chest, which not everyone will be wild about, but even that is done in a tonal color that helps the jacket to maintain its understated appearance.
Available for $175 from Schott.
4) Falcon Garments: MA-1 Jacket in Suiting Wool
From the ashes of Temple of Jawnz rises a phoenix…err, or at least a falcon: Falcon Garments. As some of you may know, FG produces some fantastic made-to-order leather jackets are very competitive prices, but they also offer some non-leather jacket such as this MA-1 Suiting Wool Flight Jacket. They are made from a fine suiting wool that gives the jacket a bit of a more refined without having to alter the pattern much. It’s available in several different colors of wool, or you can spend a bit more and get the leather version.
Available for $475 from Falcon Garments.
5) Alpha Industries: MA-1 Jacket in Replica Blue
Alpha Industries offers a ton of different products, but their MA-1 Jacket is probably their most popular. It’s a near perfect replica of the original MA-1 and is available in a ton of different colors, sizes, and fits. This jacket is produced from a water resistant nylon outer with a polyester fill, so it will keep you warm and dry in some pretty nasty weather.
Available for $150 from Alpha Industries.
Plus One – Nanamica: Reversible Down MA-1 Jacket
Nanamica’s Reversible Down MA-1 is a pretty significant departure from traditional MA-1’s, but it’s a great jacket nonetheless. One side is constructed from a smooth polyester while the other is made from a wool blend. The jacket is made extra warm with its down/rayon/feather fill so you’ll definitely be able to wear this jacket for the remainder of winter.
Available for $193 from Superdenim.
Editor’s Plus Two – William Gibson x Buzz Rickson’s MA-1
I’d be remiss if we did not include the William Gibson x Buzz Rickson’s MA-1, which was literally ripped from the pages of his novel Pattern Recognition (read our interview with him here). One of the defining character traits of the book’s protagonist is her attachment to a black Buzz Rickson MA-1 repro. Problem was, Buzz never made a black MA-1 (in fact, the Air Force never made one either), but that didn’t stop dozens of fans writing in to the company to request one. Buzz turned around to the source, Mr. Gibson himself, and partnered to make the ideal version of the jacket under a collab label. It’s a little slimmer and a little longer than standard MA-1s to accommodate the author’s 6’6″ frame, but everything else is bang on perfect.
This jacket, however, is only getting an honorable mention because it’s currently sold out at Self Edge.