Jacket Evaluation: Bradley Associates A-2(Filed: 10 December 1999; updated 10 October 2004)
[Back to Jacket Evaluation Directory]
Maker: Bradley Associates
Model: Bradley A-2
Size: 42 Regular
Date of manufacture: recent but unknown
Date of evaluation: 10 December 1999
Fit/cut/proportionThe body section has a relatively trim fit, but the shoulders are broader like the modern version A-2 so that the shoulders stand up and flare out a bit at the top outside of the shoulders. On original jackets (and on the reproductions I have) the shoulder portion hugs the shoulder closely all the way to the arm seam. I'm not quite sure how to account for why the Bradley A-2 fits differently in this way.
The sleeve length is good so that the cuffs compress only a small amount when the arm is down at the side, but there is very little taper toward the cuff attachment and this gives a more contemporary appearance. Original jackets, with the exception of those made by Bronco, have a taper in the sleeve so that the circumference of the sleeve has much closer fit to the wrist where the cuff is attached.
The neck size is larger around than originals, making the collar feel somewhat large, but I am not sure how to account for this based upon the jacket construction.
The seam at the top of shoulder joining front and back panels is somewhat far forward, pushing the epaulets forward on the shoulder. This seam on original A-2's is a bit further back by 1/2 to 3/4 inches.
Hide[NOTE: More so than any other component of an A-2, the hide may vary from jacket to jacket and so not all of the observations from this one example will necessarily be consistent with other individual examples, nor will they be representative of the effects of time and wear.]
The hide is a dark chocolate brown cowhide showing some variation in grain and wrinkling over the entire jacket, although this is rather subdued by the finish coating. The hide is supple, of a good weight and feel, and should require little to no breaking in for comfort.
The dark shade of brown is more like contemporary A-2 jackets. Original A-2's were generally of a lighter brown shade.
LiningThe lining is dark brown with a twill weave and feels to be synthetic. By comparison, the lining of original jackets was made of cotton and was woven in a plain weave pattern rather than a bias twill weave. The color was also much lighter, although various shades were used.
KnitsThe knits are fine for this type of replica. Compared to originals, the knits are a darker brown than most originals and are just slightly heavier in weight.
ZipperThe zipper is a YKK of contemporary make and design.
SnapsSnaps are the small ring style on both pocket and collar. They are light grey in color.
The backs of the snaps on the jacket side of the collar snaps are not covered by lining material. This was sometimes done on original A-2 jackets.
Throat hookThe hook and eye are black while the rivets are golden colored. The hook is very narrow and the eye is smaller to match it.
The throat hook on originals was always a nickel metal while the rivets were usually nickel or sometimes black anodized. The hook was usually larger (wider) on original jackets.
StitchingDark brown thread, seven to eight stitches per inch.
Top stitching placement from seam1/8 to 3/16 inches, as was common on original A-2's.
CollarThe collar measures 3-1/2 inches from the attachment to the point which forms a 60 degree angle. This seems to be within the range of measurements that can be found on originals, but as noted in the Fit section the collar is long across its attachment and feels large.
There is a collar stand which is 1-1/4 inches wide, while those on original A-2's were 1/2 to 5/8 inches wide. The construction of the collar stand is simplified compared to originals by leaving the inside unlined. The attachment of the collar stand to the jacket also differs from originals in that the seam is dissimilar either by the way it is attached or perhaps in that it is not top-stitched. This is difficult to describe, so refer to the photos.
The vertical seam on the back of collar is zig-zag sewn whereas on originals it is top-stitched similarly to other seams on the jacket.
EpauletsThe epaulets are properly box stitched on the ends but they are of a simplified construction, being formed of only one piece of leather which is folded under on each side. The upper stitching has one stitch line running along each side.
The epaulets on original jackets were made of two pieces of leather, a top and bottom. And there were two parallel lines of stitches running the length of each side of the epaulet, about 1/4 inch apart.
Wind flapThe wind flap is of a good width at 1-7/16 inches. There is a minor section of unusual construction where there is a small piece of leather added to the bottom of the wind flap, whereas the entire wind flap would typically be one long piece which is folded over at the bottom.
SleevesThe sleeves are a good proportional length and good diameter at the upper sleeve, but there is very little taper toward the cuffs, spreading the cuffs at their attachment. As mentioned above in the Fit section, the sleeves on original jackets were tapered more toward the wrist.
The seam allowance inside the bare seam (the one which is not top stitched) is not glued down and this makes the seam appear not as tidy as it otherwise would.
PocketsThe pockets are of the proper patch type for an A-2 and do not have the side entry pockets of most inexpensive replica A-2's. The pocket placement and size, however, differ from original A-2 jackets.
The pockets are placed more closely to the front center of the jacket as with contemporary A-2's. On original A-2's, the pockets were placed about an additional two inches away from the center.
The pockets are also a little large, compared to originals, by about 5/8 inches too wide and 5/8 inches too high. The radius of curvature at the bottom corners of the pockets is also a bit large.
The pocket flap shape is more like the contemporary A-2.
Hanger loopThe leather hanger loop is similar to those used on original jackets with the exception of not having the X-pattern sewn into the boxes on each end. Also, the hanger is sewn through the lining only, whereas it would have been sewn completely through the back of original jackets.
TYPE A-2 DRAWING #30-1415 AIR CORPS CONTRACT W 535-28560 BRADLEY ASSOCIATES MONTGOMERY, AL 36106The label is unusually large, primarily in width. It is woven with yellow threads into a black panel.
The contract number listed was originally that of Poughkeepsie, but this jacket is not a reproduction of that or any other original maker.
The label is a reasonable style for such a replica jacket, but with differences in layout and size from the originals.
Under the spec label is the small size tab which is white with black numerals. There is also a flagged tab reading, "Made in U.S.A."
Summary and overall impressionMy assessment of the Bradley A-2 is that as a replica it exhibits a hybrid of characteristics from original and modern issue A-2 jackets while maintaining the requisite attributes which identify an A-2. The use of a one-piece back, two-piece sleeves, and patch pockets without the side-entry addition give the jacket a legitimacy that so many of the less expensive replica "bomber" jackets lack. The inclusion of a collar stand, even with the simplified construction, further distinguishes this A-2 jacket from the many poor imitations.
The jacket materials, I believe, also offer good value to customers. The hide is of a solid weight and feel. This, along with the lining and knits which seem to be at least partly synthetic, should provide a welcome durability.
For a price of less than $200 the Bradley A-2 addresses a budget minded market segment which may have had little choice before and it also provides good value for the price.
For more informationBradley Associates Web is no longer in business.
Copyright © 1999 Marc D. Weinshenker. All rights reserved.