The Armoury For Less: Vintage and Vintage Inspired

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I swear, the Armoury’s tumblr and instagram are just a plethora of inspiration.  They’ve inspired me for my two recent outfits that I wore to Scott and Tim’s graduation! Don’t worry, I didn’t spend thousands of dollars like the Armoury Boys.

The purpose behind these inspired posts is to show that you can always look at other places to get ideas for your own outfit! While my wardrobe is larger than most, I still don’t own every piece imaginable.  So whenever I see something I like,  I look in my closet and find whatever is close enough and wear it!  It is in this process that I turn the outfit from simple inspiration to my own take and style.  You can do this with anything, not just suits!

I’ve also included the prices for each piece (roughly, as some of these purchases were made before I started the blog) so you can see that you can still look amazing without spending bespoke prices.  I do realize that many of these prices are not exactly the cheapest, but if you’re looking into starting a sartorial wardrobe it shows you that you can get quality items for much less.

The Armoury Outfits

New spring/summer arrivals online now! 👀🗣 (at The Armoury New York)

Armoury NYC shop manager/cartoonist Richard Carroll is slowly becoming one of my next style icons.  He doesn’t post on his instagram too often (its mainly just snapshots of his daily life but what I’ve seen on other mediums has been great!   He’s originally from Australia, but has a pretty apparent Ivy style preference! This outfit is one of my favourites, since its grounded in earth tones (browns, blues, greens) and its combined in a a way that utilizes all light colors without blending too close together.

It’s not an easy outfit to replicate, since the jacket alone costs $1,200.  You can see the actual prices of all the pieces here.  Remember that these aren’t branded items that are expensive in “name only”.  All of these pieces are hand crafted with details you can’t find anywhere else (other than vintage of course).

See Alan

Here is Armoury co-founder Alan See, wearing an extremely gorgeous double breasted pinstripe suit, spread collar shirt, and foulard tie.  You might think it looks pretty close to the 1940’s, but its more of an inspired look.  His suit (probably WW Chan, Orazio Luciano, or Liverano, which are all fantastic tailors) has natural shoulders, and a close button spacing. These are much more “modern” details that wouldn’t be found in the 1930s-1940s.  The spread collar is also a dead giveaway that this isn’t vintage.

However, its still a fantastically killer look. Brown is one of my favourite colors (other than navy) and looks fantastic on anyone!  This outfit by Alan has been in my mind for a while and I was very happy that I was able to do my own spin on it!

Vintage Vibes

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For one of the first days of the service, I decided to go with something suited for the warm weather but with a slight ivy-trad inspiration.  In his outfit, Richard wore a beige jacket, checked shirt, striped tie, and cream chinos; he had an earth-tone color palette.  Instead, I went with a white jacket and beige chinos (and some more blue injected in the shirt and tie) to change it up.   The inspiration is there but its definitely different enough to make it my own.  Thanks to the lapels of my jacket, the floppy pocket square, and the bolder, old school stripe of the tie, it makes my outfit anchored in a modern take of the 1930’s instead of just a modern outfit; the button down check shirt combined with the repp stripe tie also give it a 1960s ivy style as well.  A modern summer outfit would probably utilize a plain shirt, patterned jacket, and some form of floral tie.
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Because it’s summer, I’m wearing all the fabrics of the season: cotton and linen. The jacket is made of irish-linen, which is super comfortable and extremely soft.  There is a bit of stretch to it (oddly) which contrasts greatly with the texture of the linen Banana Republic shirt.  The shirt is modern, so the linen is a bit more scratchy and wrinkly than the jacket.  The tie is silk/rayon and my chinos are cotton! It’s a pro tip to have cuffed chinos, because they give your pants an edge (instead of just rolling them) and they can easily be used for more professional outfits since they look more like trousers!

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Manufacturer’s label.

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An awesome cuff detail.

Let’s talk about the jacket.  It’s a 1930’s  Irish Linen belted-back jacket, with triple patch pockets.  Now, there is normally a huge difference of cut and design when you compare vintage jackets to modern ones; this particular piece is an exception to that.  My jacket is completely unlined, with natural shoulders, classic button stance, and fantastic waist suppression.  In other words, it looks and fits like a modern jacket.  Since it doesn’t have skinny lapels, its a classic piece that worked well 80 years ago as well as today! If I didn’t tell you it was old you probably wouldn’t have noticed!

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Classically designed jacket, with an ivy-trad shirt/tie combination.

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Bi-swing action with a center pleats held down with a half-belt.

Just look at the back of this jacket.  It has a bi-swing back, which are essentially pleats at near the armholes; this feature allows much more movement with your arms.   Creating these designs utilized more fabric, but the tailor would then include the belt horizontally across the back to “hold down” the excess fabric utilized by the pleats; this results in waist suppression, keeping the jacket functional and well-fitted.

This was the original “sportswear”.  Guys would wear this when playing golf or dancing at clubs!  People today complain about how suits are uncomfortable and restrictive. Perhaps if we brought these details back (bi-swing backs, high-armholes, belt-backs), guys would actually feel comfortable in suits and sportcoats.

  • 1930’s Belted-Back Jacket (eBay): $150
  • Linen Shirt from BR: $20
  • 1930’s Tie: $10
  • Aiden Chinos from BR: $35 (Employee discount)
  • AE Loafers (eBay): $30 
  • Suspenders from Darcy Clothing: $35

Straight Vintage

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Instead of using modern pieces to look vintage inspired, why not try to do a vintage take on a modern outfit? That’s why I decided to go with a vintage version of Alan See’s outfit.  It’s not that hard, considering that a brown pinstripe suit is classic and has had variations over the years.  However the vintage nature of the piece is all in the details.

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Large lapels, spearpoint shirt, four-in hand knot. Definitive Ethan style.

Note the lower button stance, button spacing, and shape of the lapels.  The shoulders are also padded and made to exaggerate the “male physique”.  If you’re wondering if its hot, don’t worry because it isn’t.  The wool is breathable and the jacket is only half-lined! These are the hallmarks of a mid 1940’s jacket.  They don’t make them like this today, at least not for less than $1,000!

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Vintage jackets were ventless to create a fitted torso.  Just check out that waist suppression and figure!

I also want to mention that I love vintage ties.  Ties back then weren’t made with polyester and instead were made with high quality fabrics.  They usualy have handrolled edges, along with being untipped at the ends.  These practices are still done today, but often go for more than $100!  Going vintage ensures you can get it for cheap. It may be a bit shorter than typical ties, but that’s why you go high-rise right? 

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Reverse pleats; you can see where the 1990’s got their designs from!

The pants are (obviously) wider than modern pants, made without any taper and with a large leg opening.  However, I refuse to allow them to pool at my ankle.  To keep the fit classic, I opted for no breaks and have them hemmed at my ankle.  Even though the pants are high-waisted, pleated, and wide they still offer a clean silhouette down my leg.

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No breaks, even on vintage!

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If you can’t tell, I love this suit. A brown suit will look killer, whether you’re wearing a vintage one or a modern one!  The pinstripes add just a touch of old-school cool to the outfit, as well as the details like the spearpoint shirt and the paisley vintage tie.

  • 1940’s Suit from Reese’s Vintage Pieces: $350
  • Natty Custom Shirt $40
  • Tie: $10
  • AE Captoes (eBay): $60
  • Suspenders from Darcy Clothing: $35

I hope you enjoyed this latest edition of “Inspiration for less”. It’s always a great challenge to try and recreate outfits from my style icons, because in finding your own pieces you turn the change the styling from theirs to yours!  It also helps that thanks to eBay and vintage buying that I don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get high-quality items.

I also encourage you to read the details in the articles and captions.  Every outfit of mine has some history behind you can learn or it some cool information that you can apply to future outfits!

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W. 

Street x Sprezza

Photography by Adam B. 

PS:  I’d like to take this small section and take the time to say congratulations to my friends Scott, Jon, and Tim for graduating!  They’ve been a big help with this blog and I can’t wait to see where the next steps of their life take them.

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