The Armoury for Less: Blue, Grey, and Brown

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Nothing is more classic than the colors of blue, grey, and brown.  They are staples that every man should have in his closet, whether they take form as a suit, sportcoat, pants, or even ties! This article recreates an outfit from the Armoury (and Brycelands Co) utilizing these classic colors.  The fact that my outfit costs $300 while the other costs $3,000 is an added bonus.

The Inspiration

To continue this series of Inspiration for Less, I looked back to the always-fantastic Armoury S/S editorial.  The outfit I chose in particular was this “international classic” ensemble by NYC shop manager Jim Styles.  These pictures were taken from the official Armoury website.

As you can see, he’s wearing a herringbone double breasted jacket, a striped spread collar shirt, brown dot tie, grey trousers, and brown captoes.  Pretty classic right?  The combination of blue blazer and grey trousers is an ivy/trad/preppy staple and works for a variety of situations! You could wear this to work (if you have a dressed up, but not suited dress code), a formal dinner, or even to church!    If you’re ever in doubt on how to combine separates in your wardrobe, remember that the blue jacket and grey pants works all the time.   If you have a blue suit and a grey suit, its a great way to get the most out of your wardrobe; even the reverse (grey jacket, blue pants) also works.  

I’ve got to say, the jacket is my favorite part of Mr. Parker’s ensemble.  The peak lapels are large enough to cover the breast pocket (an important detail to have) to exude power yet the inclusion of patch pockets adds a casual flair to the jacket.  Some people don’t like combining casual and formal elements, but I think its great!  This DB is certainly a cool piece to have in your wardrobe, if you’re into sartorial style.  You may want to skip it if you have a much more conservative business dress code.

It’s also important to take a look at the tie and shirt combo.  The shirt is striped while the tie is dotted.  I find that many guys forget to take advantage of pattern mixing or forget how to do it well!  Mr. Parker shows us that you can definitely use it to create a more masterful outfit, combining his striped shirt and dotted tie with the herringbone of his jacket.  However, I will admit that the dotted tie seems more #gqmenswear instead of the “international classic” of The Armoury.  I think a foulard would have been much better, as it is a refined and “old school” look compared to the tie he wears in the editorial.

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Ethan Newton with Salvatore Ambrosi, expert trouser maker.

Ethan Newton, from Japan’s Bryceland’s Co, also wears a very similar ensemble.  He opts for a foulard brown tie and brown pants, although the later may be due to the editing of the picture.  I wish we could have seen the details much more clearly!

The Inspiration Price

If we go by the Armoury’s prices, here is the amount to pay if you wanted the exact same outfit:

 Ring Jacket DB:  $1, 700

Ascot Chang Shirt: $275

Tie your Tie Brown necktie :  $310 

 Grey Trousers: $495

 Captoes: $450 

 Cotton Pocket Square:  $105

Total:  $3,335 (Yikes)

My Version 

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zI th The colors of the jacket and pants nearly match, while my shirt is pretty much Uniqlo’s carbon copy of the Ascot Chang shirt.  One glaring difference is the materials; my outfit is more geared for summer time than the previous outfits.  My DB is made of a linen-wool and my pants are cotton chinos, which are the go-to summer pant.   The drape may not be as great as Mr. Parker’s wool trousers and his cashmere/silk DB sport coat but I still love my pieces.

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Expert pattern mixing.  Note the natural shoulders of the jacket.

Instead of picking a straight brown tie, I decided to add a bit more personality into the outfit with my vintage 1940’s tie.  It has a much bolder print and has unlined, hand-rolled edges!  This piece definitely makes the ensemble an “Ethan ensemble” as opposed to me simply copying the entire look.  Some people may think that this tie is too much or “too vintage”, but that’s what I love about it. In fact, you could see that the bold print + striped shirt combo is directly pulled from the 1930’s and 1940’s!

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Hard to tell, but even my chinos have 1.75″ cuffs!

While the jacket is great, it is important to note that my version has up-turned peak lapels while the Ring Jacket model has horizontal peaks.  There isn’t a real difference, but I do like the horizontal peaks more since they are a classic design from the 1930s-1940s.   It’s a pretty #gqmenswear thing to have large up-turned peak lapels with a rounded belly. You can see guys at Pitti wearing the same design.

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 If you ever get a DB, please get wide lapels with horizontal peaks and a wide button placement.  Narrow buttoning and skinny lapels are too “trendy” and will definitely go out of style in a few years. A true DB is full of power; the wide lapels alone are meant to emphasize the chest and pay more attention to the “inverted triangle” of the ideal male physique.  Read more about my stance on the double breasted jacket here.

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My Prices

I got a deal on almost every piece.  My DB is from SuitSupply when they were first expanding into the United States.  As some of you may know, Suit Supply rarely goes on sale and when they do, they use a secret website for their “outlet”.  During my purchase, the outlet site wasn’t used, so they put their markdowns on the main website.  I bought mine during Fall 2012 at only $150, which is a steal for a double breasted sportcoat.  Not many retailers stock DBs, let alone ones with wide lapels. Shame that SuitSupply doesn’t really make double breasted garments anymore.

My shirt and tie were very cheap.  A collegue was selling his closet and he offered me the Uniqlo Spread  collar shirt for $20 bucks cash; an online vintage seller was clearing out his tie collection and offered me the tie.  I obviously took both since they were great deals!

The deal on the chinos aren’t that great since I just used my employee discount to get them for 50% off full price! Good job Banana Republic.

The shoes have an interesting story.  I can’t recall the name of the manufacturer, but I bought it from a store that resells designer clothing for $50 bucks.  They aren’t the best shoes, but they certainly look great for a pair of two-tone wingtips. This was 2 years ago and they were one of my first dress shoes!

Here’s the break-down of the prices:

Double Breasted Suit Supply jacket: $150

Uniqlo Spread collar shirt: $20

1940’s tie: $20

Wingtips: $50

Banana Republic Aiden Chinos: $35

Pocketsquare: $5~

Tailoring: $30~

Total: $310~, only 10% of the inspirations price.  

Conclusion 

Every conclusion of this series will be the same: this is not a call out on The Armoury.  The Armoury retails artistically clothes.  They have a close and personal relationship with their suppliers and they ensure that each piece is handcrafted with the utmost attention to detail and care.  Plus, it’s hard to find a normal mall store that stocks silk-cashmere DB jackets or high-waisted wool trousers!  Sometimes you need to pay that extra amount in order to get the details exactly right.  For example, the reason why the tie is that expensive ($310!) is because of the material and the fact that it is completely without interlining.  Instead, the silk fabric is folded over and over to create the thickness of the tie (which isn’t that thick).  This practice is reflected in its name: “Seven-fold tie”.

While these details are great to those that care to look, I know many of my readers are just after the “look” of a certain style, whether it is streetwear or classic sartorial outfits.  These articles are meant to help you achieve that look and show you that it can be done.  Many people take a look at these prices and think that dressing well or dressing in their favorite style is impossible.  That’s where you’re wrong.

While I may not have “accurate” high waisted trousers, a hand-made unlined DB, or even a 7-fold tie, my pieces still exude the look I want.  Eventually I hope to be able to afford these truly beautiful, hand-crafted pieces that The Armoury prides its self of offering.  For now, I’ll stick to eBay, vintage, and thrifting!

Just remember to make the most out of your wardrobe and buy pieces that you can wear over and over.  For me, it is no longer a $150 jacket, but a jacket that costs around $10 per wear!  It’s blue and it goes with everything, whether in jeans or chinos!  If you invest in a wardrobe that is versatile, you’ll be able to use it to make a plethora of outfits.   I mean, you can use a blue blazer, a brown tie, and grey pants in hundreds of ensembles!

For example, I tend to buy classically styled garments with a touch of vintage fun; this makes my wardrobe a perfect match to exude the style of the Armoury! I suggest you do the same: buy basics or staples in your realm of style and use it to recreate your favourite outfits.  Just don’t forget to add your own personal touch!

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W.

Street x Sprezza

Photography by Scott E.  

 

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