So, Cockpit USA makes real-deal military apparel.  Most notably, leather pilots’ jackets worn by actual pilots.  They made the leather jacket Tom Cruise wore in Top Gun as well as Sylvester Stallone’s shearling coat in Rocky III.  Obama rocks a cockpit jacket when he steps off Air Force 1 and Beyonce rocks one when she’s, well, being Beyonce.  Ok, enough name dropping…  For those who don’t know, Cockpit USA is the same company that used to be called Avirex and they have been making high quality American made military goods since the 70’s.

We recently hooked up with Cockpit USA to explore our Break-In concept.  For those who don’t know, or who are new readers of Style No Chaser, The Break-In is a recurring series where we explore the evolution of a garment through time and use.  Basically, we put denim, leather goods and anything that purports to get better with age, to the test.

Today, Cockpit USA has sent over their ‘Mountain Fur Hood Coat’.  A waxed cotton duffle coat, with a fur lined hood reminiscent of the classic N-3B Parka commonly referred to as a ‘Snorkel Coat’.  Snorkel Coats got their name by the military personnel who wore them in WWII because of the silhouette they create when the hood is up and the jacket is zipped, leaving a small opening in the front to see and breath.  Incarnations of this coat are everywhere in NYC in the winter time, it is the classic coat of the New York City winter.

Ok, on to my initial perceptions on the coat.  This coat feels very nice.  It has a reassuring rigidity and the fit is excellent on me, (and my brother, pictured).  I got a size large and I wear a 38-40 in sport coats.  If you typically struggle between whether to get a medium or a large, go with the large.  One thing I noticed right away was that the length of the sleeves was perfect on me and did not have any unnecessary bulk creating a very smart look compared to other parkas I’ve tried on.  The coat is also darker in person than it appears on the Cockpit USA website, which in my opinion is a good thing.  It’s lined with a quilted nylon satin lining that feels very sturdy and after wearing it a few times, I can assure you it is nice and warm and blocks the wind like a champ.

Ok, on to the hood.  A lot of times the hoods on parkas I try on look kind of floppy when you put it up.  This coat is not like that.  Because of the rigidity of the waxed cotton and the sturdiness of the nylon lining, the hood sits up nice and high, a very good thing in my opinion.  There is a definitive sense of quality when you put the coat on and we can attribute some of this to the fact that it’s made in the U.S.A..  Not to say things made elsewhere are intrinsically inferior, but every garment I try on that is made stateside just feels right from a quality standpoint.  In my opinion we make the best workwear in the world and this coat is very high quality military inspired workwear.  I’ll be wearing it all winter as I shoot streetstyle in the windy streets of SoHo as well as when I am dressed up for dinner.  I wore this over a cashmere blazer and chinos last week at a wedding reception and it just felt right.  When high quality workwear meets classic sartorial style, it is a match made in heaven.  You could wear this coat over a tuxedo and just be killing it.  It’s also right at home over a t-shirt and jeans for a run to the bodega in the morning.

Ok, so you get it.  The coat basically kicks mega a** and is incredibly versatile.  It retails for $450.00 online at Cockpit USA and various retailers.  The price is right on the money for an American made coat that will last you for years to come, if not the rest of your life.  Personally, I love the idea that I might not need to ever buy a parka again, and that it will look better in ten years than it does now.  I’ll be rocking this every day and will post a follow up in a month or so with my take on how it handles the elements and how the waxed cotton patina is developing.  Cheers!

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