We’ve been looking at The Armoury for a long time now, with a majority of my outfits focusing on recreating ones by Dick Carroll. As a result, it has been ivy focused, with repp stripes and oxford shirts. For this article, I’m going to be recreating one of my favorite outfits of all time, worn by one of the first Armourers: Jake Grantham.
Jake Grantham, like Chad Park, is one of my favorite sources of inspiration. Both of them rock the classic menswear look with a sloppy twist; they love the sprezza tie. It’s such a sharp contrast when both men wear extremely tailored clothing. The small non-detail of the sloppy tie is like a parody of itself, showing that these men don’t take it too seriously. Or do they? We may never know.
With his extended (yet soft) shouldered Ciccio Japan suit (with high-waisted pleated pants) Jake wears a striped shirt and an epic foulard tie from Drakes. What intrigues me most is that this outfit is almost a modern (or Italian) version of 1980’s pattern matching. Just compare Jake’s combo to this extremely dated ad from the 1980; it’s pretty close. Having a classic striped shirt and a print tie is my favorite pattern combination to wear.
It’s also important to note that these tight, geometric foulard ties and horizontal striped shirts aren’t just from the 1980s! This type of matching was also present in the 1930’s, which is my favorite era in menswear. All you’d have to do is swap the shirt for a spearpoint collar and Jake would fit right in! Going with these types of combinations are very safe and allows you to be playful without resorting to anything too crazy. I personally think that floral ties and microprint shirts are too “fashion-y” and too cluttered. Many guys make this mistake when they try pattern matching. There’s a reason why Jake’s combo works for the 1930s, the 1980s, and today. With this pattern combo and his high-waisted suit, it could possibly pass for a 1930’s outfit.
Jake seems really fond of this tie and I don’t blame him: it’s absolutely killer! Thanks to the coloring, it is extremely effective with neutral suits, most of all blue. The pattern is classic enough to work with conservative outfits yet filled with enough personality to work for younger sartorial enthusiasts. Drake’s is the best tie maker for these sort of ties; you can attempt to thrift to find similar ties, but you may end up with an uglier 1980’s version. Be wary of these 1980’s ties, since they usually have an odd pattern and the tie itself can be wide and thick (due to thick interlining) which can result in in a more dated look and a bigger knot. While you don’t want either of these things in your outfit, you should still try to look for vintage!
Ciccio Japan Suit: $2-5k
Drake’s tie: $150 (no longer available)
Total: Way too expensive for a budding menswear blogger.
I don’t have a suit quite like Jake’s, but I think that my soft shouldered, quarterlined, 1960s ivy suit will do the trick! It still has pretty large lapels and the high waist that I prefer, and ensures that I keep my classic-yet-vintage-inspired aesthetic. Like most tailored jackets, this suit is quarter-lined, which is a detail you’d normally have to pay a bit more for; mall brands typically have full lining, which can trap heat.
The shirt was easy to find since its a classic pattern. This particular one was purchased from Massimo Dutti when it was on sale for only $30 bucks. It’s not one of my classic spearpoint shirts and instead has a pretty spread out collar. Don’t let the collar space fool you though! Resist the temptation to fill up the collar gap with a huge, triangular knot like the windsor. Keep it simple with the four-in-hand.
This tie is from the 1940’s and is extremely light weight. It’s a bit bolder than Jake’s tie, with a muted color scheme and odd print. The tie is made from extremely fine silk, with handrolled edges and a thin interlining. Most mall brand ties like J. Crew or Banana Republic are not made like this and can be pretty thick. Additionally, you won’t find classic patterns similar to the one I have or the one that Jake has on. You can either go buy Drake’s, which can cost a pretty penny, or you can go vintage like I do! Either way, you’re sure to get some fun patterns that bring life to your sartorial wardrobe without being too trendy or fashion-forward. It’s always best to look to the past for inspiration.
Vintage 1960s Ivy Suit: $100
Massimo Dutti Shirt: $30
Vintage 1940’s Tie: $10
Allen Edmonds Loafers: $40
Other Inspiration articles have focused on the fact that while you can get visually similar items for much cheaper (through bargains or thrifting), true details are present in more expensive garments due to the process and quality of work. However when we look at Jake Grantham, we have another theme: look to the past and stick with the classics.
Striped shirts and printed foulard ties have been around for almost a hundred years. While shirt fit and tie width has definitely changed, the basic pattern matching has largely remained standard, resulting in a very classic look. My advice to you menswear enthusiasts is to look at the classics for inspiration! Even though Jake is a modern dresser, his outfit exudes both the 1930s and the 1980s. It may be a repeated MFA meme for your wardrobe to be “classic and timeless”, but I see it as a form of small adversity against those who dress too fashion-forward. Why not take a break from the #menswear trend of polka dot shirts and floral ties that seem to have flooded my explore page on instagram, and rebel with some old school techniques? You might find that you like it.
Always a pleasure,
Street x Sprezza
Photography by David W. Pictures of Jake Grantham are not owned by Street x Sprezza.