It’s always fun when we get to have a themed group post. As stated in the name of this article, the guys and I looked to the Armoury’s Spring editorial for inspiration for our outfits during this past week.
For those of you who don’t know, The Armoury is a high-end (yet small) chain retailer that specializes in sartorial pieces sourced from around the world. Started by Mark Cho, Alan See, and Ethan Newton (has has since moved on to other ventures), the Armoury first started in Hong Kong with two stores until eventually moving west to the United States. Just one look into any of their stores will transport you into a sartorial wonderland.
Books, shoes, suits, and fabric swatches adorn the interior as their helpful staff will help you with their off the rack stock of Ring Jacket and Drake’s or even get you measured for your own bespoke suit from Italian tailor houses Livarano & Liverano or Orazio Luciano (provided that they are visiting on a trunk show). I’ve been told that if you stop in frequently enough, you may see some of the founding partners taking time to work in their store; Alan and Mark do so when they’re not traveling around. Simply said, these guys are living the life that I wish to have.
It was during my perusal of the Armoury New York website, tumblr, and instagram that I found that they launched a spring editorial, showcasing their current products picks for the new season. Normally, the Armoury’s photography utilizes natural light and have a much more candid vibe. In their editorial however, these pictures use a backdrop and props, to give it a much more “menswear advertisement” feel. I fell in love immediately.
In the editorial, you can see NY managers Dick Caroll and Jim Parker style their Ring Jacket suits, Drake’s ties, and high-waist chinos (from the Armoury’s own label). Here are the outfits that served as our inspiration:
As you can see, the spring style for the Armoury is all about separates, utilizing chinos and blazers to create a balance between casual and formal. Their chinos are naturally high waisted (just look at that fly!) and help ground the outfit in their theme of “international classic”. In fact, you could say that their style is a combination of American prep wear and Italian sprezz.
It’s important to note that our styles are not exact; we are using our own clothes to exude the vibes of the Armoury so the detail will not be the same. Our chinos aren’t high waisted and our jackets aren’t unlined and hand made for us since we essentially shopped vintage or at a mall store. However, we all had fun doing our own versions of these outfits! In fact, you could consider it a sequel to my new series “Inspiration for Less”. You can check out the actual prices for these garments on their official website.
Jay’s outfit is a dead ringer for the classic Armoury prep look except with his own spin. He trades the brown chinos for grey ones and drops the dark brown suede penny loafers for leather moc-loafers. I’d say its much more American prep than “international classic” but it still looks fantastic.
The key here is that Jay utilizes pattern mixing to make his outfit stand out. Most guys would stick with a white shirt for this conservative combination (blue blazer, grey pants). Instead of being too “safe” why not stand out and try my favourite type of pattern mixing: stripes on stripes. With the right scale, it shows a bit more sartorial prowess and is definitely a lot more interesting than just using solids.
Jacket from H&M, thrifted shirt and tie, Pants from Express
Spencer takes his cue from the casual outfit of Dick Carrol, with a striped shirt and casual brown blazer. He keeps the suede shoes (using wingtips instead of loafers) but swaps the khaki chinos for grey flannels. I guess grey pants were a favourite among my friends! The addition of the grey trousers makes his outfit a bit more classic and formal but its still a very good look overall.
It takes some balls to try the “disco collar” as my friend Jake so affectionately calls it. While the look has been ruined by the 1970s, you have to remember that this style (with suits and sportcoats) was common in the 1930s to the early 1950s. If you avoid the crazy paisley prints of the 70s and wear much more sophisticated patterns like stripes, you give off a different vibe. If you simply can’t remove the disco look from your head, I wouldn’t suggest trying this to amp up your style. I think it works for Spencer since he is almost always wearing true-vintage head to toe.
1930’s spearpoint shirt, 1960’s blazer, Pants from Banana Republic, Vintage Suede Wingtips from Joyride Vintage
Rajesh’s outfit is a much more Italian version of the casual Armoury style. He still blends brown and blue, but instead of the muted chino colors of khaki, brown, or grey, he jumps right into summer with white pants! If you haven’t noticed, white pants have been the hit of all the #menswear places like gq and pitti uomo. It’s a bit more fashion forward, but it’s a perfect look for summer, especially if you choose white linen or cotton pants.
Wrinkling has been a huge turn off for menswear for the longest time. I remember when my dad would refuse to let me out of the house until I ironed my sleeves. However, I like to see natural wrinkling in the arms of a jacket to be a sign of loving wear. It shows that you actually like to wear your clothes and don’t put them on a pedestal. Raj’s jacket is a cotton-linen blend and is incredibly soft to the touch. It does wrinkle a lot, but it just means that Raj really enjoys wearing this jacket!
Shirt from Asos, Jacket from Suit Supply, Pants from J. Crew, Shoes from Johnston Murphy
My outfit is very similar to Rajesh’s but I tried styling it a bit closer to the Armoury instead of going Italian. I kept the chinos and suede loafers but decided to play a bit more with my shirt and jacket choices. You’ll notice that my sportcoat is much more boldly patterned and does have more fall vibes to it (even though it is only half lined). For the shirt, I went with a pop over shirt instead of the normal full-button dress shirt. It’s just a touch different of what is expected and is perfect for spring, whether your wear it with a blazer or untucked with jeans and shorts!
I’ve got to say that chinos are my favourite spring trouser! These particular ones from Banana Republic are comfortable, fitted, and available in a multitude of colors that work for every outfit. No tapering was needed; these are pretty slim!
These beige ones are great when you still want to have a preppy/Americana vibe without going too Italian. I personally have mine hemmed and cuffed to look just like my other trousers.
Jacket from Massimo Dutti, Shirt from J. Crew, Pants from BR, Shoes from Zara
I gotta say that this feature was one of my favourites in a long time. The Armoury has been such a huge influence on my style due its classic nature. It’s even one of my dreams to come work for them!
Like I said in my previous article, this is not some attack on high-prices or snobbery. The Armoury stocks some of the best pieces. The details on their jackets, the high-waisted trousers, and the fabrics are definitely worth the price. You literally can’t find these items anywhere else. You can’t go to a mall store and get a linen three button suit with those lapels or get high-waisted chinos. The Armoury’s pieces are quality, hand-made, and detailed to reflect their personal aesthetic. I read once where they only sell what they would personally wear. However, you don’t have to spend that amount of money if you simply like their style.
Hopefully the idea that you can dress how you like on any budget is the theme that permeates through this blog. However, just remember that almost all of our pieces are tailored and fit for us. If you look closely, you can see that my chinos have cuffs and are hemmed perfectly. Banana Republic doesn’t have this feature right off the rack, but if you go to your tailor, they can make any pair of pants look like they’re made just for you.
I’ll be sure to continue series like this to explore where my inspiration comes from and how my prices contrast with the prices of my dream items. It’s important to me that you all know that I don’t spend thousands of dollars on my clothes in order to look the way I want! Even as a college student, I can look like I was styled by the Armoury without having to pay Ring Jacket or Ambrosi prices.
Always a pleasure,
Street x Sprezza
Photography by Ethan W. and Jay V.