This review was originally published by first-time customer Charles, on The Fedora Lounge, a popular internet forum for men who appreciate well-constructed, heritage clothing, as well as other fine lifestyle choices. The review is presented to you completely unedited from its original form, save that the names of other brands have been redacted.
I'd like to note as well that the long wait time Charles experienced was a problem resulting from our old ordering system, and that system has since been replaced.
The exact jacket that Charles purchased can be found here.
My experience with Himel started slowly.
I sent an email in May 2017, asking for more information about the jacket and the ordering process, and started waiting.
In February 2018 i receved a short answer "Are you still interested in the Chevalier?", "Yes i am" was my answer!
This was pretty much how my entire exchange with Himel went, Dave is a man of few words, don't expect to receive lengthy emails!
Once we had gotten the ball rolling, everything went very smoothly (and much faster).
I sent Dave 9 pictures, 3 of me in a tight rash guard, 3 wearing my [another manufacturer's aviator's jacket] and 3 wearing my [cafe racer jacket] (each set was front, back and side view). I included all my measurements, and both jackets measurements. And let him pick and choose what he needed from that.
I also sent him a picture showing five jackets made of Shinki photographed together (thanks TMitchel) and told him which shade i liked best.
Other than a couple small details, like the single row of holes on the belt, and the lining, i left him to do his thing. By the end of march my jacket was made and shipped.
I have to say, that this is IMO my best fitting jacket yet (8th jacket), i asked Dave and he said that the pattern was 100% custom according to the numbers i provided. He definitely has the eye when it comes to fitting a jacket! The only other piece of clothing that feels that good on me is my tailored three piece suit, and i was literally laser scanned for that one!
The stitching is very nice and neat, the triple stitching is very even and there isn't anything noticeably wrong anywhere on the jacket. If you go full OCD you will find things, but nothing i haven't seen on other jackets before.
The stitch count is much smaller than [redacted] or [redacted], and the needle holes and thread much thinner too. It feels less "industrial" and a little bit more refined, along the lines of what you would expect from [redacted] or [redacted].
The hide is what you would expect from Shinki, nice and supple, thinner than CXL, great grain, no break in, and a very interesting colour that really responds to lighting conditions in interesting manners.
The lining is Japanese blanket, it is nice and soft, it feels close to [16oz] tartan in thickness, but a lot softer and airier (not as tightly woven).
Picture time, the colour in these is as accurate as i can get them, and i will soon create a new thread with all my jackets together to show how it compares to brown CXL, to compare colour, grain, fit etc...
Fit pics, it works well both opened and closed, and can be worn with the collar up or down.
This really fits amazingly well, i have literally no restriction of movement whatsoever.
It hangs well, doesn't pull on my neck, doesn't choke me when i sit down, i can reach up, down, forward, the underarm gussets are super discrete, but very effective.
Even though the armholes are super high and snug, they don't feel restrictive.
Overall, i am very happy with my Himel Chevalier.
The only slight negative is the long delay to respond when i first got in touch, other than that this has been a completely flawless experience.
There is a lot of talk about the "is it worth it" question regarding Himel, [redacted] and other makers in these price range, and a bit of a cult following...
This jacket costs more than both my [aviator's jackets] combined. From a purely technical point of view, it isn't twice as "good" as an [redacted], but it fits me much better than any [redacted] or any other jacket has ever fit me, and that has to be worth something.
Would i do it again? Without hesitating a second!
I'm not going to go on a "Himel is the best and only his jackets are worth buying" spree, but i am definitely very impressed by what he has done, and would recommend him without hesitation.
Thanks for reading! Don't forget, if you want a Chevalier just like this one, it can be custom ordered through our website right here.
...at first sight, I was fascinated by the wonderfulness and design of leather...
How to order a custom jacket:
This is a brief explanation of how to order a custom Himel Bros. leather jacket. Many jacket buyers will have previous experience with tailoring or may own other custom pieces, and as a result have a very clear picture of their style and size. The following fitting primer is written for the first time buyer.
Selecting your style:
Think about your fashion style. If you ask your friends, they’ll probably be aware of your look and style. Are you classic, a sportsman, a rockstar, a motorcyclist or maybe a hero? Each Himel Bros. jacket has an iconic look ranging from staid to outrageous. When selecting a jacket it’s important to take careful consideration of what works best with body type and your personal style. The Heron, for example, has a looser fit and suits the widest range of body types, whereas the motorcycle styles are slimmer, and best suited to an athletic body type. Typically, most people can be grouped into three main body types: the average build, the muscular build, and the husky build. Our jackets are built for an average build, so it is important that if you are muscular or husky that you include that in a note. We of course ask for photos in a tight t-shirt front and side to assess your posture and build.
Selecting your size:
Once you have been through our instagram and social media and have settled on your desired style, the next step is finding your correct size. There are two important factors to consider in this process: your body size and jacket size. Your chest measurement corresponds to our stock size. For most people this is all you will need. If your chest measurement under your armpits is 40 inches you will wear a size 40 jacket. We have a video that shows you how to do it yourself, or you can see your local tailor (the first timer will likely need to do this). It is important to assess your arm and waist measures as well. Consider if you are average or if you have monkey arms or a big belly as any unusual proportions will have to be addressed through the ordering process. Below we offer a diagram you can have filled in by a local tailor or a friend with a measuring tape. For a first timer with an average build, our stock sizes are usually sufficient, so when in doubt stick with that.
If you are concerned about fit and still not confident as to your correct size, you also have the option to ship us a properly fitting jacket and we’ll build-up your jacket from that. Ideally the jacket you send us will be of a similar style to the one you’re ordering (leather jackets obviously are best for this purpose). Before you ship us your jacket, make sure to take pictures of youself wearing it so we can assess fit: at minimum we require a side shot and a front shot. Then arrange at your cost to ship the jacket to Himel Bros. Please note this on the order in the notes section. Your jacket will be shipped back with your new bespoke Himel Bros. jacket.
For the more particular or tailored order, you can send us very specific measurements. For example some gentlemen have thicker wrists or lift weights and require a different flatter shoulder slope or wider cuff. If off the rack jackets pop up on the shoulders it is usually due to a muscular posture and you should let us know. So in our video you can use measurements from a similar jacket in style to the one you are ordering. Of course we would appreciate pictures of you in that jacket front and side if you are using measurements from an actual jacket. Review the illustrations throughout this website that detail where to measure to provide us with accurate measurement for your custom jacket. It is not required to give us all the measurements, just the ones you want changed. Any specific custom measures or features you wish on your jacket we will need them in advance and in a note when you order.
Picking your leather:
We provide lots of information about our leather types, colours, finishes and characteristics. The order page gives you all the available options. For anything else you will have to email us in advance of ordering. Our instagram feed shows lots of examples of our custom jacket orders.
Picking thread colour, liners and special features:
We offer images and descriptions of all our liners, threads, buttons and zips. Generally each style comes with its stock options on buttons and zips, however you can chose your liner and thread. If you like to showcase our superior sewing techniques contrast thread is the best option. If you like a flashy liner or prefer something more more staid we have options for you. Extra pockets or other options are possible it is best to email us in advance. You can even choose between brass or nickel silver hardware.