Playful, relaxed and a touch nostalgic, The Armoury’s spring-summer ’21 look book recently dropped and, as you’d expect, it’s a deft exercise in styling your high-summer wardrobe.
Moreover, it speaks to a conundrum that we all face as we start thinking, tentatively, of a return to the office in the coming months—even if only for a few days a week; does it make sense to pull out your sharpest three-piece suit and dress up again, or stick with the comfortable, casual aesthetic we’ve all grown used to during the pandemic?
The Armoury has decided—quite sensibly, we think—that the reality of life after lockdown will involve a bit of both extremes. Jim Parker, the brand’s sales and merchandise director, explains: “This new look book is an extension of what we’ve been talking about as a team for the last year or more. We’d been quietly pushing into more sportswear pre-pandemic, and the last 12 months have just accelerated the process.”
Even so, Parker maintains that suiting still has its place, and that returning to the right kind of tailored pieces after a winter in pajama shirts and sweatpants is an exciting prospect. “Tailoring is getting more relaxed, for sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear tailored clothes and look really sophisticated,” he says.
With this goal in mind, here are Parker’s pointers for shaping a post-pandemic warm-weather wardrobe.
“The collection’s colour palette is much less severe than some of our previous seasons,” Parker says. “When I think classic Armoury, I often think sober suits, light shirts and dark ties. This spring, the palette is softer and easier—the neutral shades we’ve gone for can help you to ease back into wearing tailoring after some time off. We felt that jumping straight back into imposing suiting might be a tough transition straight from working from home.”
Bet on a Blouson
“We took the decision to expand the range of casual jackets we offer in collaboration with Ascot Chang for spring-summer ‘21,” says Parker. “We find these are so easy to swap out for a sport coat. The ‘3PB’ (Three-Pocket Blouson) is a house favourite, but we also have our wool jersey City Hunter and new Road Jackets coming out shortly.”
In warm weather, jackets like these are great thrown over a button-down shirt and tie dressed with chinos (a chic ‘business casual’ look for those days in the office), but are just as easily worn as in the look book: over pleated linen trousers and a chambray shirt.
Fabric Weave Matters More Than Weight
“I’ve learned a lot about wearing tailored clothing in hot weather from my colleagues in Hong Kong. Something they recommend all the time is high-twist, open-weave wool fabrics,” says Parker. “Often, guys will choose a summer suit because the fabric is lightweight, but it’ll be densely woven and won’t be cool to wear. Instead, we prefer to work with fabrics that are highly twisted with an open structure—they work like a ventilation system. Alongside lightweight wool tailoring, even our linens are softer this summer too. Normally, we go for firm Irish linens you can break in, but we’ve used a washed Italian linen by Solbiati this spring. It’s been made up as our Model 11 sport coat with pleated trousers in a mushroom colour (available as separates), and it’s one of the most versatile pieces in the collection.”
Pay Attention to Your Collar
“We know that you don’t want to wear a tie in July—it sucks,” says Parker. “So, we developed a few styles that look really sleek worn open. The first of these is the Holiday Shirt. It’s based on a vintage piece with a one-piece collar that sits perfectly on the neck without a tie. We’re really pleased with how it came out. It’s great under a sport coat, casual jacket or just worn on its own.”