If you’ve been into quality menswear and heritage clothing for a while, you’ll know that The Real McCoy’s offers an end-tier product in almost every iconic category of vintage-inspired clothing and accessories. The revered Japanese reproduction brand makes all of its products to exacting standards, obsessively reproducing classic heritage clothing and often bettering the originals.
Whilst McCoy’s is a stalwart in our niche, many of its grail pieces are, and remain, exactly that – grails. The brand’s labor-intensive planning and production process mean that for some, McCoy’s garments are fiscally out of reach, particularly when it comes to outerwear.
If that sounds like you, we’ve put together this buyer’s guide to shopping 7 of The Real McCoy’s styles, for less. For each of the 7 styles, we’ve selected a worthy counterpart that allows you to cop the style at a more accessible price point. If you’ve got any McCoy’s grails that you’d like to see in potential future guides, let us know in the comments!
Outdoor Wool Pile Jacket
The American Trench Wool Fleece might not be the meticulously reproduced, high pile piece of fleece that The Real McCoy’s Outdoor Wool Pile Jacket appears to be, but it is one of the most premium things that AT makes, and can it certainly rival the McCoy’s fleece for functional quality. Its proprietary pile fleece fabric is constructed from all wool yarns, baby — not the typical polyester content you’d find in your average recycled fleece out there — and it features a premium YKK zipper, nylon trimming, elasticated cuffs, and hem, and sturdy cord zipper pulls.
The Real McCoy’s Outdoor Wool Pile Jacket also features a proprietary (modified) wool pile fleece in its construction, and its texture and hue of natural wool are as close to the original styles as you can get. As we mentioned earlier, The Real McCoy’s does reproductions like no other. This era-accurate fleece is so much like a vintage Patagonia in design, but better, thanks to its meticulous construction in Japan with some of the best materials and features you can find: Polyester mesh lining, vibrant blue nylon trim, stand collar, and nylon pull tabs.
At first glance, there might not be a whole lot of difference between these fleece’s design and function, but once you put them under a microscope you can see how RMC’s fleece is a lot more premium in its materials and construction. First of all, this Japanese-milled wool fleece is a heavily iterated fleece that RMC went to great lengths to reproduce in a vintage fashion, specifically for the use of this fleece (the same could be said for that beautiful polyester mesh lining). Secondly, McCoy’s’ incredibly skilled and tenured pattern makers know their stuff, this isn’t a modern fleece – its roomy fit and tailoring was ripped from the pages of outdoor mags of the 1970s.
While American Trench’s Wool Fleece isn’t thoroughly 70’s era-accurate, no one asked it to be, and it’ll certainly do the job of keeping you warm in the forest. And it will do that job for a huge saving of $560. Some folks might prefer AT’s domestic sourcing and production, as well as the more original design, modern spread collar, and charcoal coloring of the fleece.
The N-3 trouser was part of the utility uniform issued to U.S. Navy ground personnel. Issued in both olive herringbone twill and standard uniform twills, the N-3 trouser has a loose fit and simple construction, making it an accessible piece of military garb for your wardrobe
The Real McCoy’s makes a stitch-for-stitch repro of these USN classics in classic Color 7 olive, complete with era-accurate thread, donut button fly, laurel wreath button, slash pockets, rear patch pockets, and a stamped contract detail that denotes what batch of the N-3 they’ve reproduced.
Repro-rivals, Buzz Rickson’s, also produces its own interpretation of the N-3 Utility Trousers for over $100 less than the McCoy’s option. They’re just as functional and hard-wearing, but come in a faded hue of old Green and feature USN stamping on the back pocket — an accurate yet optional historic detail omitted by The Real McCoy’s.
Buzz Rickson’s is a brand under the umbrella of Toyo Enterprise, and unlike The Real McCoy’s, it appears that they’ve got the corporate backing to allow them to charge less for their products. In terms of design and function alone, there doesn’t appear to be any real advantage to not picking up the Buzz Rickson’s piece. Naval-style patch pockets, a roomy fit, stamped donut button fly, darted back, and bartack reinforcements throughout. unless you’re fiending for the darker, deadstock look of the unwashed Color 7 olive, you can’t go wrong with Buzz’s cheaper option.
Wool Varsity Jacket
The Real McCoy’s Wool Varsity Jacket doesn’t mess around. Constructed in one of RMC’s legendary leather jacket factories, it’s got the juice of 1960’s era Varsity Jackets, but an upgrade in the Japanese craftsmanship department. Custom 100% wool body, proprietary Japanese veg-tanned horsehide sleeves and piping (a detail worth drawing lines in the sand for), custom San Francisco snap buttons, striped wool ribbing throughout, welted hip pockets, and custom tags. It’s a beast, for sure.
American Trench’s Varsity Jacket does the job of evoking classic sportsman style, but without the holistic and obsessive Japanese construction details that, whilst making a handsome jacket, command a much higher price point. Available in a number of iconic colorways, AT’s Varsity features a heavyweight melton wool body, steer hide leather sleeves and piping, snap button front placket, welted pockets, and interior pocket, and comes fully lined with satin with a tactile and silky wearing experience.
As you can see, AT’s Varsity has the details that you need, but those details aren’t born out of Japan’s obsessive nature to craft the best thing possible – a vintage Varsity, in this case. If you’re looking for a durable Varsity that’s going to last and look better as the years go on, you can’t really go wrong with either, but the American Trench option will provide a whopping saving of $520.
Lot 004J Type III Denim Jacket
The Type III denim trucker jacket is the iconic denim jacket pattern. There are dozens of high-quality options out there, but to match McCoy’s masterful Japanese construction and details, we’ve gone with a Type III from Samurai Jeans.
When comparing The Real McCoy’s Lot 004J Type III Denim Jacket to Samurai’s 15oz Type 3 Denim Jacket, the only thing setting them apart is the types of denim. The Real McCoy’s obsessive denim milling process means that this subtly slubby 14.5oz unsanforized denim is the star of their Type III show, because they had to work long and hard to get this denim looking like it’s straight from the early 60s.
But that’s not to say that Samurai doesn’t work hard to craft its own proprietary denim, either. Whilst McCoy’s has worked hard to reproduce Levi’s denim from the early 60s, Samurai stays in its own contemporary lane with 15 oz. raw selvedge denim, woven from 100% texas cotton yarns dyed with grand indigo. Heavily textured and slubby, this denim will produce high-contrast fades, fast. In contrast, the McCoy’s denim will fade slowly and subtly, producing more authentic mid-century fades.
Both jackets feature classic Type 3 design. McCoy’s’ Type 3 is unsanforized so will shrink down to tag size, and comes with dual flap chest pockets, custom iron buttons, interlocked shoulder seams, 100% cotton thread, and a branded leather patch. Samurai’s Type 3 is once washed, so you’re clear to go with your tag size. Samurai’s classic take on the Type III also ships free from Corlection, providing a total saving of $120 when compared to buying the McCoy’s piece from Standard & Strange.
MJ19001 Type A-2 Rough Wear Clothing Co. Seal Brown
The Real McCoy’s MJ19001 Type A-2 Rough Wear Clothing Co. Seal Brown Jacket is just like they used to make ’em, but new. In contrast, the Cockpit USA WWII Government issue A-2 Jacket Z2107H is a bit different, but in ways that make it accessible (including the price).
The Real McCoy’s take on the classic leather flight jacket is exacting in detail to its WWII-era counterpart, but updated with some of the world’s finest leather, horsehide from Japanese tannery, Shinki. RMC’s construction is unmatched, these things are made one at a time, by a skilled jacket craftsman in McCoy’s’ revered leather studio. They’ve detailed their A-2 to exacting specifications: 40’s bell-shaped Talon zipper front, handsome flap closure hip pockets with hidden snaps, epaulets on the shoulders, and wool ribbing on the hem and cuffs.
Cockpit’s A-2 is also the real deal, being cut from a mahogany horsehide finished in seal brown, it’s a fine-looking, perfectly utilized leather that’s sure to last forever and a day. Some might prefer the liberties Cockpit has taken with updating the A-2’s silhouette to modern standards, as at the end of the day, fit is king. The Cockpit A-2 comes complete with a tobacco brown cotton liner, dual flap closure hip pockets, vintage brass zipper, ring snaps on the collar, underarm grommets for ventilation, and knit cuffs and hem — all of which is sewn up into a package that’s a huge $1176 less than the McCoy’s version.
For more info on the A-2, check out American Flight Jackets From 1927 to 1946 – The Complete Guide
MA22105 Wool Baseball Cap
I don’t have to tell you that The Real McCoy’s went out of their way to use a specially milled wool fabric to use in their MA22105 Wool Baseball Cap, you already know. But that doesn’t mean that American Trench’s Melton wool Ball Cap doesn’t hold up, all while saving you over $55.
RMC’s Cap is classic baseball style: Navy wool panels, black metal hardware, sturdy brim, and McCoy Sportswear tag. You can bet that all those materials were sourced in Japan, too. It comes in fitted sizes and sans-adjuster, so be sure to check your head measurements if you’re considering it.
American Trench’s Melton Wool Ball Cap plays a fair game. They’ve employed a trusty 100% melton wool cloth, one that you might not feel a major difference if comparing the caps if we’re being honest. There are more colors to choose from here, as well, and AT’s offering is adjustable via a leather tab and metal hardware. Taped seams, structured brim, and AT tag round out the details of this American-made cap.
Some might not like that AT’s cap is sans-grommets, giving the McCoy’s offering a slight edge in breathability, and making AT’s cap better suited for cold climates.
MS21108 Military Souvenir Shirt
The Real McCoy’s MS21108 Military Souvenir Wool Shirt Red looks like it was found in a thrift store, in a good way. It’s the meticulously vintage style that you’re getting with RMC. Era-accurate nylon-wool blend fabric, beyond boxy fit, dual chunky flap chest pockets, adjustable cuffs, urea buttons, shoulder yoke, and a single-layer collar.
The Schott CPO in Orange isn’t the same style as McCoy’s’ Souvenir Shirt, but it’s a beefy woolen overshirt nonetheless. Based on the iconic CPO shirt (a military piece that Schott was once contracted to produce) the ever-popular Schott CPO features a heavyweight wool fabric, slim-fit, shapely flap chest pockets, USN style anchor buttons throughout, and a rounded hem.
Both solid options influenced by vintage styles, but the Schott piece can be had for $116 less. For warmth and comfort alone, either option is good to go, but you might prefer Schott’s beefy 20 oz. wool fabric. The Schott CPO is also available in a ton of colors over at STAG, which makes their shirt more accessible to those who can’t wear such a vivid red as employed by RMC on their Souvenir shirt.