Brilliantly lightweight while maintaining excellent drape.
A menswear retailer that has been a mover and shaker in the classic menswear niche for just over a decade, The Armoury has built a reputation for excellent craft and curation. They offer a range of menswear and accessories made by various artisans from around the world, operating on multiple fronts including offering their own ready to wear line, acting as a go-between for bespoke artisans and hosting trunk shows for visiting makers. Most of The Armoury’s ready to wear is made by the esteemed Japanese brand Ring Jacket, who are reputed as one of the highest quality brands creating machine-made tailored clothing today. The Model 7 sport coat I picked up somewhat recently has offered me an opportunity to see and wear one of their items for myself, and I found myself suitably impressed.
The Model 7 is a triple patch pocket sport coat with a 3-roll-2 fronting, chest darts and side vents. The interior is completely unlined, with two inner patch pockets. It wears incredibly lightly given a total lack of construction; no canvassing, no shoulder padding. Precise and intricate machine stitching shows throughout, flawlessly executed on a well designed fitting block; I’ve never experienced such a clean drape from an unconstructed sport coat, let alone one made from a lightweight tropical wool, this particular blue check being from Lanificio di Pray in Biella. The front-back balance is good, and the vents hang cleanly, being properly shaped where most modern sport coats would cut corners by using fusible. I was concerned that unlined sleeves would catch on my shirt, however I’ve had no issues – the fabric’s backside isn’t clingy and the sleeve fullness perfectly straddles the line between comfortable and visually flattering. The sleeves come unfinished, requiring the services of an alterationist (or this can be done on-site if buying from the Armoury’s storefronts) to hem and attach the buttons, which are made from a beautiful off white mother of pearl.
Knowing that Ring Jacket tends to run on the trimmer side, I sized up one from my usual off the peg suit size and purchased a 56 (US 46), which was the right decision for me as it gives a bit of room through the body – particularly the chest – and a nice touch of extended shoulder. I’m still in two minds whether to slim the torso a touch; the buttoning point and skirt of the garment could come in by 2cm, though it hasn’t bothered me enough to warrant having it tailored.
The aesthetic considerations of the Model 7 receive a near perfect score in my book. Lapels are perfectly proportioned, as is the button stance. The gorge sits a couple of centimetres lower than most brands like to do nowadays, which I like as it flatters the chest and balances the silhouette. The patch pockets are plentifully sized, I can fit four fingers inside the chest pocket and the hip pockets are very roomy at a functional width of 17cm and depth of 19cm; enough for a paperback novel, a phone and a couple of other odds and ends. Visually the hip pockets are perfectly placed, however my one minor qualm with the entire jacket rests with placement of the chest pocket, which feels 1 or 2 centimetres too high.
The choice of cloth is perfect for the construction and styling of the Model 7; a wonderful blue and off-white check tropical wool which is delightfully airy and weighs so little that the entire jacket feels barely heavier than a dress shirt. It has a touch of give in it, feels durable and is fairly crease resistant, which would make for an ideal travel jacket or everyday companion. My favourite way to wear it thus far has been with a pair of white tropical wool trousers, however warm grey tones also work, and perhaps light brown shades such as khaki or taupe will play well also. I keep reaching for the same pair of whisky leather shoes when putting together outfits using this sport coat, partly because I rarely find them to work with other pairings, however white bucks would do quite nicely too, and I’m also looking forward to trying out my navy suede loafers which will harmonise nicely with the darker blues woven into the cloth. There are plenty of further options for me to play with in wearing this piece.
The Armoury’s offerings change seasonally, with the current collection’s (as of publishing) Model 7 offerings limited to a linen suit, a seersucker suit and a navy striped boating blazer. However, they have many other offerings in various stylings all made by Ring Jacket; if you try one on and fit well into the Ring Jacket fit block, most of the other offerings ought to be a good fit also. Of course, it’s always best to try on for yourself to be sure, but I’ll certainly be considering other Armoury and Ring Jacket sport coats in the future – there’s nothing not to like.
As of publishing date, The Armoury’s sport coats start at US$1100, with suits starting at US$1450. They currently have two stores in Hong Kong and two in New York City, with their range also available online at thearmoury.com.