Just to add the discussion..... I ended up with the short parka, sizing down from suggested size 50 to a 48 and have the shearling liner, size 50 which buttons in exactly and fits perfectly!! I'm guessing the sizing difference on them is minimal. I was impressed when I got the jacket but started wearing it and found some issues with it which I didn't like. I went through a phase of wanting to sell it, then deciding that the pros outweigh the cons and especially now as the cold weather has snapped in as I'm beginning to get the full benefits and some proper wear out of it.
Some of the issues I have are with the design. The cuff adjuster is a single button elasticated tab that when pulled has no further anchor point/button to keep tension. I expect a second button would do the job nicely and pull the cuff in sufficiently for a wearer who had no gloves on, therefore offering some protection from the elements. Otherwise it just forms a useless loop, even though some tension is formed with the material it's not weather tight. Seems a bit daft considering the material and how these materials can beat the elements. However, I've had mine on earlier this evening with some shearling norse p gloves and the cuff works brilliantly when wearing gloves but without it can feel a little open, so with gloves as you would probably wear with a winter jacket the issue becomes redundant. But still, a design point that could be improved.
The pockets are in a great position on the parka, nicely placed to stuff your hands which was a plus point for me on deciding to get this model. However, the weather seals are stitched to the sides of the flaps. It's like an additional piece of the pocket that folds inside the closing. The nature of the material is quite bulky, it holds its shape and is quite thick and therefore taking your hand in and out of the pockets makes the seals pop out and the pocket pouts. It's not pretty. I tend to tuck the whole flap and the seal completely in so it's just an opening which works much better for me. I suppose it's likely to get better once the jacket is worn in. There is no inside pocketing, something iphone friendly would be a huge plus point on a modern take on a mil jacket. I also tried the field jacket and due to the thickness of the material I really didn't like the boxy-ness of the jacket nor the chest pockets,it all felt just a touch bulky for me but no doubt would get better with weathering.
The hood, I hate it. It's been removed from the jacket since purchase and every time I have tried to wear it it proves to be annoying. The hood buttons on easy enough and is attached to the false collar, which is another gripe. Why not have a removable collar that can be attached without the hood? If you wear this jacket without the hood and without a liner then you just have the small open collar which doesn't have a button to secure it tight, leaving your neck open to the elements. The two holes, one on each side, are for the attachment of the hood. If only it had a button too, you could then secure the top of the jacket. This removes some of the versatility from the garment imo. The pull cords are just knotted, I expected a little more attention to detail with these for the money.
Now the hood itself.... It has a wired opening which is great in principle as it can be shaped to your desired opening, you can even letter box the opening and close your whole face in nicely which I would imagine along with the shearling liner , would be perfect for stormy/snowy days. The issue is that when you put the hood down you have to try and reshape it so it sits nicely, otherwise it's just bulky. It's a right pigs ear to mess around with and something I don't have the patience for. I'm not a fan of the throat tab too, it's all just too much work. ideally you just pull your hood up, quick adjustment if anything and then drop it when not needed. Not that easy with these. I'm hoping the shearling liner, which I haven't gotten around to buying yet as it's another £350 in the UK, will pack the hood out a bit better and offer something. Alternatively I'll wear the shearling hood without the outer for snow/cold days.
Saying all that.. the material is outstanding, a very plush, almost velvet skin like face to the fabric which is waterproof and windproof , along with the liner it's extremely warm and it's going to get better and better with age. The shape and fit is very good with and without liners and feel like a substantial jacket when wearing. The shearling liner is well worth the money and it fits under a number of other jackets that I have, arcteryx veilance composite, EG railroader to name a few, so it's versatile and although it's not going to button in to those it works really well. I can understand that the designs are fairly true to the original military spec jackets but the slight improvements could do with more improving imo. As it is I prefer to wear the jacket with the shearling liner and without hood and turn the shearling collar over, it works perfectly, has a great aesthetic and trudging home through London this evening, around 4 degrees, it's was almost too warm. A little high on pricing but worth it for a jacket that will last a very long time, that is if you don't get bored of it (tends to be my problem that one). If money was in endless supply then I would buy another one, i'll keep an eye on the next release to see if anything new comes out but probably the long fishtail in olive or perhaps the smock which is the one I tried for ages to get in my size. If these were my designs/products then the above areas are the things I would look to improve on further seasons but I certainly wouldn't suggest anyone to not buy one, just that if you are getting one then buy it for a winter jacket, with a liner and wear gloves.
Too many words I know but just my little review ^
pics say how nice these can be much nicer.....
Edited by rotide - 11/30/12 at 7:21am