A Beautiful Failure.
A year with the Pagnol M1 Leather Jacket.
Finding the Perfect Jacket
Finding the perfect leather jacket is the search for Atlantis. What makes a jacket perfect, you ask? Well, it should be made of high quality, take a beatin’, tougher than nails leather. Something to patina and age with. An heirloom-able outer layer of skin that will regulate temperatures and keep your hide safe as you skid along the highway. Even if you’re not a motorcycle rider, there is no point in getting a cheap leather jacket – it should stand out among all garments in your closet.
M1 Ain’t It
I demo’d 20+ leather jackets trying to find the holy grail. Eventually, I settled for the M1 because of its price and looks. Make no mistake, it’s a handsome piece. Its athletic shape and contrast stitching shout confidence. Wrap that up with a thick serving of Full Grain leather, and you feel bullet proof like Super Man. However, Pagnol riddled it with so many crappy design mistakes they ruin the entire garment. Did they focus so much on looks that they forgot to make any sense of functionality?
The hand warmer pockets are so mis-angled you need alien arms to jam them in. No human could possibly have the geometry to fit their mits comfortably in these things.
You end up resting them in the pockets and the jacket bunches up in unattractive places while revealing your back. Body types make a difference, but 2 friends put the jacket on and similar effects took place.
If you can contort your body like a Ukrainian gymnast than you’ll also need the hands of a lawyer. I’m not being flippant, the pocket openings are minescule! I can barely fit my naked hand in them, forget about wearing gloves. My hands are average size (between medium and large glove) and forcing my hand in the pocket results in scrapping them on the zippers. Then once jammed in, ripping them out looks like Barney Fife drawing a gun. An absolute design failure!
As a side note, I messaged Pagnol’s sale chief about this and he claimed the size and angle was perfect. Liar. Other bloggers complain about the pocket size, too.
Then there are the two (coin?) pockets atop the breast. Purely for aesthetic. Functionless both because of angle and depth of pocket lining. You might fit a silver dollar in there, but good luck fishing it out and not looking like a jackass while doing so. FORGET about pulling toll money out with gloves on. You might as well drive around with a ceramic piggy bank held under your arm ready to crack open at every toll booth.
Big Neck Hole
The jacket fits my body like OJs glove (it fits) but the neck hole is disproportionate to the rest of the jacket’s openings. This problem is solvable with a scarf (and maybe why they did it) but still something to note. If George Costanza was looking to borrow this at a party, you’d have no problem lending it to him.
If you look at them the wrong way, they’ll come undone. The sleeves have button snaps at the end to secure the zipper. No kidding at highway speed I saw one undo itself from wind force.
The Pagnol M1 comes with shoulder pads built in, it’s a moto-jacket after all, but when sitting down the jacket bunches up turning your shoulders into a permanent shrug. Maybe you’re wondering why the hell you can’t put your hands in the pockets…
The contoured shape of the jacket is easy to fall in love with and should make for a more natural fit when in riding position. But it falls short. Sitting down is so unforgiving that the top neck line of jams into your chin causing irritation. It’s uncomfortable and a bad design.
Oh, these goddamn zippers. Fine quality zip – if you can get your adult sized hand on the pulls…
Like the pockets, the zipper pulls are molecular. Have a glove on your hand? Good luck pulling the zipper down when you want a bit of air, worst yet is pulling up to close off the wind.
The zipper gets caught on the breast section every time you pull it up (if you can manage to get a grip on the tiny zipper). They used sections of leather to build the breast area, and it overlaps the zipper area. Basically, if you want to zip the jacket up past your sternum, you’ll be fighting with it for a while until the leather in that area wears out.
The solution to the small pulls would be to add a bit of leather or chain to the zipper loop, but it should have come with a more elegant design in the first place.
Things to Like
The stretch back and elbow with lycra stretch material in the armpits are a great touch. While the stretch can compromise durability, they make it much more comfortable with less restriction. Good touch.
Padding expandability is good for those into that kind of thing.
Ventilation in the jacket is a win-lose. Great in spring and fall, awful in winter. Useless in summer – on a hot day this jacket is an easy bake oven.
Full grain leather is nothing to scoff at either.
I wrote an email of constructive criticism to Pagnol listing these flaws, met with disagreement, claiming the jacket is perfect “as is”. My guess is they made too many units and are having a hard time selling them. The direct to consumer price structure allows a high quality leather at a low price, but there are too many stupid issues to enjoy. Unless you’re in love with the styling, pass on the Pagnol M1.