A short article, featuring my own version of a classic summer look by Aussie Armoury shop manager and illustrator, Richard Caroll.
I caught this picture from a great (yet small) inspiration album from one of my collegues on MFA; the picture can also be found on the Armoury tumblr with extra details. His inspiration album focused on the sartorial polo shirt. Most young guys on the internet wear polos like this or like this; these same gents shudder at the fact of wearing them with a blazer or a suit. However, I am a huge proponent of wearing them not only with suits, but with blazers or even safari jackets. It’s a great alternative to a dress shirt when going for a more casual sartorial outfit. If you look at the inspiration album, you’ll see what I mean.
This particular outfit (and the similar one from Richard’s Instagram)stood out to me because of how simple it is! It’s a white knit polo, (with a deep placket as I always recommend), simple solid trousers, and a slightly patterned sportcoat. It’s very clean and “classy” while still comfortable, giving off Richard’s signature Ivy-inspired style.
Everything is meticulously crafted, and it definitely shows in the price. There’s no way I could buy these items, at least at this stage of my life. Let’s look at the main pieces in outfit from the Armoury’s tumblr:
Even though they are expensive, each of these items contain details that you wouldn’t normally find in a typical store. H&M won’t have a polo with that deep placket and ribbing and J. Crew will not carry those high-waisted grey trousers. However, I was still able to recreate the outfit for much cheaper!
Close enough right? All the colors and pieces are still there, but all from my own closet. Its still a very Ivy/prep inspired outfit, with the staple 3-roll-2 blazer, three button polo, cotton glen plaid pants, and tassel loafers. All light weight, perfect for summer in a sartorially casual way.
I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again, polo shirts are cool. There’s a guy on the MFA (male fashion advice) subreddit who is very against polos because they are the “inbetween item”. To him, there is no one who looks good in a polo because anything is better; dress up with a button up, dress down with a button down. He also thinks that only athletic guys look good in polos. I don’t think that’s the case.
To me, a polo isn’t something you wear as “business casual”; it’s not something you wear when you don’t want to dress up or dress down too much. I see it as the perfect summer item, about the same as a pop over shirt. In fact, if you follow my guide to pulling polo shirts off, you’ll see that I advocate for polos with a deep placket and fit close to the body. Basically, its the same principle to use when buying a pullover shirt, just in a pique fabric! I’m also not the buffest guy, but I think I pull this look off.
So there we have it, a perfectly replicated Armoury look that is still super comfortable and super affordable. Let’s break down the pieces:
Wool Suit Jacket made by Southwick – $50 (Full suit cost $100) from Ebay
H&M Polo – $10
Cotton Plaid trousers from J. Crew Factory – $50 ($40 + $10 in alterations)
Allen Edmonds Tassel Loafers – $30
Total: $140 which is 10% of the Ring Jacket Sportcoat
Much cheaper than buying only the polo shirt that he had on!
This post should serve to show you two things. First, it is entirely possible to get inspiration from guys at the Armoury, or Pitti, or tumblr in general. All it takes is a good idea of what pieces to get and to make sure that your pieces are verstatile. The polo has definitely been worn before and so has the jacket and the pants. I didn’t buy these items just to recreate the outfit. I simply looked into my closet and saw that I had all the pieces already, simply because these are all basics that can work with everything. A white polo, grey pants, and a brown sportcoat can be worn in different combinations with a bunch of different colors. All of these items were bought at cheap prices, so always look online! There’s no way in hell that I’m going to spend $1,000 on just a jacket.
Secondly, you should see that polo shirts are cool. Don’t think of them as your dad’s shirt or what frat boys wear. They are a classic summer garment that can be worn on its own or with sportcoats and suits. It just depends on the fit and details, like a spread collar or a deeper placket. You can check out more polo inspiration on my polo article or by looking at that polo inspiration album! You can definitely dress them up.
Big thanks to my pal from MFA and Richard Carroll for giving me the inspiration behind this post!
Always a pleasure,
Street x Sprezza
Photography by Scott E.