The Armoury 101 made-to-measure suit: Review

Friday, August 28th 2020
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With the continuing aim of covering more made-to-measure, I was keen to feature The Armoury’s tailoring on PS - both because I like the style, and because frankly there is little at their level in New York or Hong Kong.

New York has lots of visiting tailors, and lots of cheaper brands and online services, but there are few places I can recommend to a reader for both good product and good advice.

I did that twice with consultancy services in recent months, and it’s easy to forget how rare such great shops still are – particularly if you spend most of your time online.

This feature was well-timed because last year The Armoury expanded their MTM offering to include a new range – the ‘100 series’.

It is significant, because you can be measured for this range by the Armoury's staff. This is a growing trend: previously, the only MTM you could be measured fo by the staff was the Orazio Luciano, with Ring Jacket requiring a trunk show - even for styles designed by The Armoury.

But now there is the 101 as well, and even Ring Jacket might become accessible this way soon. It will be a significant expansion of the MTM offering.

The hundred series has just the one model at the moment, the 101.

It is intended to be the smartest, most formal option in the shop, and as a result has a defined shoulder with a (thin) pad, a slightly higher buttoning point and a very straight lapel.

The most notable despite aspect of the style, though, is probably the slightly deeper gorge.

“We experimented with lapel shapes and buttoning points for a while, and particularly liked this bigger, squarer notch,” says Armoury co-founder Mark Cho. “It’s a little inspired by the French, and I think goes well with the other formal aspects of the 101.”

The formality is relative though. The jacket still has very light canvas, there is minimal roping at the top of the sleeve, and the fronts below the waist button are fairly open.

It’s smarter than the other Armoury/Ring models - and certainly than Orazio - but still a long way from Savile Row.

I chose an Irish linen: Dugdale Lisburn 7414, 340g. I think the crispness of the linen suits the cut, even though it’s clearly not a business suit.

The suit arrived fully made. Still lots of potential for alteration of course, but this is not something coming out of a bespoke workshop, designed for fitting stages. It’s more a standard MTM process.

Fortunately, few changes were needed to the jacket. It fit very well out of the box.

The adaptation to my sloping shoulders was very good. Not perfect – there’s a little wrinkle there on either side of the chest – but still impressive. And it hugged the back of my neck well.

It was a little big in the waist, but that’s simple to change. And the sleeves came unfinished, in order to put the length on at the fitting.

There was clearly an error with a number entered for the trousers, however, because they were a couple of inches too big in the waist, and the leg line suggested they were a size too big too. But both were corrected at the fitting.

This is often the way with good MTM: hard things can be done well, with subtle changes to posture and to shoulder height. But one wrong number in a size column, and something obvious gets thrown off.

After the alterations – basically, one fitting – the suit was great. As you see it here.

There are small things I might tweak later, such as the sleeve and leg now being on the slim side. And it’s not a bespoke product – it doesn’t have that shaped armhole and three-dimensional make (something I’ll go into in more detail later). But overall very nice MTM.

One aspect that was impressive - and interesting - was the make. I think it might be the cleanest precise MTM I’ve seen at this level.

Often when rating MTM tailoring, we highlight whether it has a hand-padded collar or lapel. This makes sense, as they’re practical techniques drawn from bespoke tailoring and are a rarity in MTM. (See Orazio and Saman Amel.)

This Armoury suit does not have those. But there are many other aspects to good make, and in all of them this suit excels.

The collar is precisely attached by hand, giving it a natural curve; the attachment of the lining is through small, neat hand stitches; the pocket jettings are perfect.

We talked about jets in a recent article on the finer points of coatmaking, and referred to Ralph Lauren Purple Label as a ready-to-wear make that stands out.

Coincidentally, this Armoury suit is made by the same workshop, Sant’Andrea in Italy (also referred to as Saint Andrews), and you can see that quality here.

I even asked for a full list of all the stages involved in the making, and it was fascinating. So many hidden steps: trimming and basting the shoulder pad; tacking the melton under the collar as well as the cloth; ironing by hand rather than with a steam-driven machine.

I’ve been to a few RTW suit factories (including Belvest, Ring Jacket and Kiton) and this is the most involved process I’ve seen.

All this work does make the suits expensive. The Armoury’s 101 model starts at $2800 for a ready-made suit and $3500 for made to measure. Jackets are $2300 and $2750.

Of course, that’s still a long way off the $5000+ you pay for Purple Label MTM, but it does make the 100 series one of the more expensive we’ve covered.

In terms of the outfit, this is a good example of when I’m happy wearing a suit without a tie.

The material usually has to be casual, like linen or cotton, and so does the colour, so not navy, grey or anything very dark.

I also think it looks more appropriate in Summer, when you feel hot just looking at someone in a tie. And that drive for coolness is shown elsewhere by summer shoes and perhaps a lack of socks.

I can completely understand why some people would think a suit without a tie looks boring, or unfinished, and as a result I’d be more likely to wear a handkerchief (as here) or some other form of decoration.

A white-linen shirt is perfect in this kind of Summer combination, although the collar should really be a touch taller on me, and therefore sit prouder of the jacket. I’m currently having a button-down version made that would do better there.

The loafers are of course Sagans from Baudoin & Lange, here in black suede with black nubuck alligator on top - the latter a subtle showy detail in an otherwise very simple outfit.

You can read more about the creation of the Armoury’s hundred series on their site here, and there are lots of examples of the 101 suit on members of the New York staff here.

Other made-to-measure tailoring covered previously includes:

Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt

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Anonymous

Off topic but I was trying to find if you’ve done a review on Grey Flannel at 7 Chiltern Street, I assume you’ve been there, any thoughts?

Tamaki

Hi Simon, great article again. It is really interesting how you cover more made to measure clothes nowadays. As someone with a lower budget than many other reader, I appreciate it.

I have 2 questions.
1) How does the finishing and fit of this suit compare to the less expensive bespoke spektrum, such as Prologue and The Anthology?
2) Do you have any typs on how to successfully combine linen on linen? I get the feeling (and I believe you mentioned in a previous post) that doing such a process is hard because of the simar texture of the cloths.

Thank you in advance, and wish you and the readers a nice day and weekend
Cheers

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

Forgive me if I’m being a bit thick, but your article mentioned corrections made at the fitting stage but doesn’t appear to explain how that worked in light of the challenges people face with travelling etc. Was this all done pre-Covid and the associated lockdowns, or was the fitting handled remotely?

Anonymous

Great suit.Even in these dress down days I would feel perfectly comfortable wearing this outfit when others are,to be blunt,scruffy.
The sleekness of the Sagans in mind look very good here.Do you feel that Gingkos would work just as well or does the strap make them feel too informal to wear with a suit?

Teba

Very nice appearance, Simon. What disturbes me a Bit are the jetted pockets. They look too formal to me.

Tomas

Hi Simon,

Have you ever been bothered of button and buttoning point not being centered perfectly?
On this suit I see this as well – if you draw straight line from center of chin to crotch, middle button if full button on the left.
Also skirt in not perfectly centered around the fly.
I’ve seen this on bespoke pieces as well, thus not sure if this is not that important or the balance should be adjusted?
Not related question – have you ever had made high twist wool suit with white lining and noticed that on photos where flash was used, light it reflected through? I just noticed on one of my suits and not sure if I should get lining changed.

Thanks,
Tomas

Al

Beautiful suit and perfect for a hot summer. But I don’t think the trousers are too slim. It’s not a business suit (whatever it means) and the slim touch add a more casual vibe to the outfit.

Lance

Hi Simon,
Is it really necessary to wear a slab of alligator on ones feet in 2020? I’m surprised – especially given your support of Extinction Rebellion etc

Anonymous

I think farming is fine for food. But slaughtering a gator to end up on your shoes is probably a step too far

Anonymous

Simon, whilst I agree with you on the slaughtering point, I don’t associate exotic skins with sartorial dressing; to me it’s just an ostentatious display of wealth which attracts a certain kind of customer.

I’d be interested to know what drives your interest in exotic skin
purchases, particularly as this seems slightly contradictory to the approach to dressing and style that you usually espouse?

Anonymous

Agreed on foie gras – also silly

Anonymous

It’s all fun and games until you try to milk an alligator.

Scott

If the man wants to wear alligator shoes he can do so. It’s none of your business Lance.

Sartorially Challenged

Beautiful suit, Simon.

Do you think that a jacket this colour (perhaps with patch pockets) would work as a separate?

Karl

SIMON,
Would you advise using this service with the Armoury for the fabrication of a jacket with fabric from Joshua Ellis’s Escorial Wool. As I remember, your oatmeal one was done by Prologue and the brown one by Ciro Zizolfi. How, in your estimation, would the Armoury version compare to each of these? Thank you.

shoefan

Nice looking suit. One question, however: the picture from the side shows the back of the jacket noticeably shorter than the front. I believe this is one definition of ‘balance.’

This may be in part an artifact of your stance, but your thoughts on this matter would be interesting.

Otávio Silva

Beautiful suit! What is the jacket length?

Scott

The workmanship of this suit is impressive and the style looks very good on you. I’d lost track of Saint Andrews, so it’s good to know that they’re still in business. You’re choice of fabric was superb as well. I like the shoulder with the possible exception of the slight roping. Do you know if the roping can be eliminated in favor of a more natural shoulder? Another excellent and highly useful article. What was the delivery time?

Jack

Almost looks like a bespoke suit from the back, not bad.

Brett

I think this suit looks great on you. The proportions are better than some of your bespoke pieces, IMO.

Alexander

Nice. I always wondered what their MTM looked like.

I know you touched on this on one of my previous comments on shoes (about going high-end before going bespoke), but would you express a similar sentiment as one climbs the tailoring world. For example, as someone with a couple Pini Parma suits and a couple of Suit Supply suits, would you recommend jumping to something like Ring Jacket before going MTM?

My current plan is to jump to MTM next with MyTailor/Hemrajani Bros. since they are the most accessible to me (both in cost and proximity), but am curious to hear your thoughts.

Alexander

Thanks for the response, and that makes sense. That’s sort of how I feel about it (in terms of the value on fit and the fact that it seems like a “smaller and more consistent” jump).

I just wanted to make sure I did not miss something. When you suggested high-end shoes (like G&G or EG) before going bespoke, though I had not considered it before, as I thought about it more it made sense. Get a sense for what a really good shoe should fit and feel like so you can better communicate what you want in bespoke.

It seemed to me that the jump from RTW->MTM would be a similar middle ground due to the nature of tailoring, and it seems like it is. Well, MTM next it is for me.

Thanks Simon.

Alexander

I guess what I really should ask is this – how important is that MTM vs Bespoke discussion? If good reliable bespoke isn’t available, or out of one’s price range should one chase bespoke, or just look for a good MTM that you trust?

Context: I’m California (US – based), was originally planning to get married in fall 2021, but we’ve decided to push back to fall/winter 2022 so that we can be as sure as possible that things are “normal.” That said, since I am in Northern CA there really aren’t a ton of bespoke makers in the US, let alone California (and Covid limits trunk shows and travel). I could see all of the following in person regularly enough:

There’s certainly one clothier that does in house bespoke in Los Angeles, Jonathan Behr Bespoke, for $3400 (clothier AND his tailor measure and make pattern, then tailor cuts and makes on premises AND multiple fittings),

A tailor in SF, Tailor’s Keep who make fully bespoke (same person measures, does pattern, cuts, and makes all on premises with multiple fittings) for $5000-$6000

Divij Bespoke (MyTailor.com/Hemrajani Bros) who I know has made for Kirby Allison (for what it’s worth) and who I’ve used for MTM shirts (which I found fit almost as well as my shirts from Burgos). They offer a “Bespoke” service with a “basted” fitting and claim to be making a unique pattern (as opposed to using a block), however the actual tailor, pattern maker, cutting, and making occurs in Hong Kong in a workshop they oversee.

At this point my wedding tux will be the first suit I get in this range. My instinct is to go with Divij Bespoke (aka a relatively known commodity who I have experience with, and who’s work I’ve seen examples of).

But I wonder if I should be chasing more “pure” bespoke (but more, especially since cost is still a factor ($5000-$6000 is probably a little much given other wedding costs and saving for a honey moon)? Sorry if that’s to broad/philosophical, or niche, a question.

Alexander

Thanks Simon. I guess the question was more philosophical (in a tight window for a first time commission, should one just chase bespoke assuming it will be better, or go with a reliable MTM?).

The rest was just context (given your location, I figure you don’t get much chance to see smaller US based tailors).

However, you seemed to have answered the question regardless. Stick to the most predictable and “known” quantity.

I know Andy Poupart (StyleAfter50 on Instagram) speaks very highly of suits he has by Divij Bespoke (formerly MyTailor/Hemrajani Bros) which gives me added confidence there.

Thank you very much. Eases my anxiety to know my instincts of “choose the most known commodity” seem to be right.

Hope you’re doing well.

Anonymous

Simon how much control does the Armory give over things like pocket style and fully versus say quarter lined jacket?

Jason

Simon, I agree with you that the sleeve and leg are too narrow.
Are they able to adjust these elements within their process ?
Also, could you have specified

George

Simon, I see that your trousers here have turn-ups, perhaps 4 cm. What is your criteria for whether or not to add them to your trousers? And what size? I’ve seen you write about different topics related to trousers, but I haven’t been able to find any writings specifically on your opinion on turn-ups.

George

Ah, please pay me no mind! It seems that I didn’t search well enough, for under “Suit style 9”, you have an entire section on this topic. Cheers!

Kali

Hi Simon,
Really struck by this post. A few posts ago you spoke fairly highly of bespoke tailors you knew in NYC. You also spoke well of stylists like Alan Flusser. But this post seems to have gone in the opposite direction. Did I miss the point of the article?

Kali

My mistake – I had assumed those articles on Tailors you knew in NYC and the post on Flusser were somewhat complimentary. So when this post brings up the point of there being few offerings of the quality of The Armory in NYC, I was a little confused.

Tim

I do not understand why anyone would pay $3500 for a MTM suit. That is clearly sitting in the less expensive Bespoke price range.

I thought you would be featuring MTM in the price range up to, say, £1000.

Johann

Love this suit, Simon (maybe the trousers are a bit tight).
In another comment in a different thread you mentioned that the more you use bespoke the more you miss design and I’ve been wondering about the implications of this. Does this mean that while the fit of a bespoke garment is usually better, the style or silhouette of (higher quality) RTW and MTM would generally be superior? Do the very best tailors also provide similar quality design and is this perhaps what distinguishes them? Or is it always going to be a trade-off? And finally, if one values design over fit should one perhaps stick with RTW/MTM?

CDBP

An attractive suit but not a compelling value proposition. It does not appear to over anything distinct in terms of style, make or price.
One can get a non-luxury, good quality bespoke suit made ( atleast in London ) for less. One can also buy a good quality off the rack suit ( say Paul Stuart in NYC – funnily enough London is not good in this category ) and have it altered to fit one well, unless one has a highly unusual body.
So I think this suit is a bit “its good quality, there is nothing really wrong with it, but why bother ?”.
BTW also think jetted pockets are wrong on this. I admit I don’t like them generally but they just don’t seem appropriate to a summer suit in this material which ideally one wears in way that beats it up a bit. This is a go-to-the-pub suit, or a stroll-in-the-park suit, or a Sunday brunch suit, to be lived in, not a museum piece.

Jackson Heart

I don’t believe that much of the Armoury’s clientele are “Value Proposition” shoppers. Many people who purchase in this price range likely shop in multiple categories, including high-end RTW and custom. Also, the “value” of almost anything is purely a matter of personal attainment, i.e., an inexpensive suit to one man is an expensive one to another. Finally, I am of the opinion that high quality comes at a high price. Sometimes it only appears that something of great value is being obtained at a relatively low price. But I find often that it is not the price-tag, but only time itself, that reveals the true value of an item purchased.

Anonymous

Well said. I shop the Armoury from time-to-time and not once do I do so thinking what a bargain. It’s a treat I allow myself every now and then. I’m usually in need of severe alterations and most RTW sizes just don’t fit me right. I’d like to try MTM but I’m not convinced.

Nicolas Stromback

Very clean indeed Simon. I think it works without a tie as well, even though a tie sort of ties it all together with a suit. But I have slowly changed my opinion on this seeing more of these casual suits worn with loafers and no socks. I would say that no socks equals no tie. They seem to go together.

On another note, I take you have worn Sagans now for a while, both in and outdoors. How have these worn, particularily the soles. Have you worn out any of your pairs or can they be mended? Still havent taken the plunge as I am hesitant on buying such fine shoes and then wear them out over one summer…

Nicolas Stromback

I hear that. Are there really any cheaper options that are even close to looking and feeling this good? I have tried them once back when the Sagans were first launched and needless to say they are great.

Maxim VH

Hi Simon, I was wondering If you can help me with this problem: I do have a some MTM suits, but sometimes when it arrives at the shop the waist is too large. What is the best way to make it more slim?

Thank you very much for helping me out. Keep up the good work.

Maxim VH

They just take in the sides starting from under the armhole but I have a feeling it’s not “perfect”. What would be the right thing to do?

Anonymous

I’ve recently come round to the idea of wearing a suit without a tie particularly with a PS button down shirt.I can even imagine wearing a summer grey wool or French navy suit with one of your pink or blue Oxford shirts with dark brown EGs.What do you think?Am I going completely bonkers?

MR G I RAJA

Hello Simon

Long time, hope your well.

Interesting post on the new “100” series by the Armoury.

A little of the subject, which bespoke tailor since you started Permanent Style has made you for you the most comfortable suit to wear???

Keep up the good work.

Regards

Gohar

ANM

Simon,

Overall, a good look….however, you mention that you thought the leg was “on the slim side”…but if you go wider, especially with the short length (not touching the shoe), do you not risk the “hoola – hooping” of your trousers while walking, if they are wider? The additional fabric creates its’ own sail effect and has a life of its’ own….

My first (adult) suits were of a fuller leg of the time, and I distinctly recall, that if you did not get the “break” right, you were more than aware of your trousers “swooshing” around while walking…Can’t imagine how bad it would be with ankle length ones…

Doug

Simon I notice you mention in the comments that this jacket length is 31 inches, and it prompts a question – you and I are similar height/build. I cannot afford MTM / Bespoke (yet!) and so face a big problem of RTW jackets all being too short. What would you do in my position? Brands that I admire like Drakes all make their size 48/50 jackets with a length of 29.5 / 29/9 inches!

BC

Simon,

Are the suit trousers flat-front or pleated? With a suit this casual, I imagine that flat-fronts might be more suitable.

David

Dear Simon,

Who do you think is unequivocally the worlds finest tailor? The “Yoda” of Tailoring. What “philippe dufour” is to watchmaking. The humble quiet man or woman everyone knows is the best of the best, no questions. Not “fancy” or loud. Just simply the best because of the love and care, devotion and time and understanding of the craft and every aspect and details and finest materials. Never cuts corners, unwavering on perfection. Quality over Quantity. Doesn’t advertise, because they don’t have to. Is there a tailor out there like that? I try to dig through the internet but it’s hard to tell who that may be. I imagine someone who doesn’t advertise who works in a small hole in the wall off the beaten path that lives and breathes tailoring and has life long customers who only give the name by word of mouth. Who may these people be in the world of bespoke clothing and tailoring?

Thank You for your time

David

Peter

Was looking at the 7414 Lisburn Dugdale the other day and what you can’t tell from the photos above is how the weave on this, versus w bill and other dugdale linens, is almost hopsack like and not as tight. Having looked at the bunch previously I had written off doing a full suit but I assume the trousers are holding up fine Simon?

H Friend

I am looking to get a made-to-measure suit made and I live in London. For your money who would you recommend? It would be for a summer suit more Neopolitan Italian style.

Jonny

How do you find 12oz Linen like the Lisburn book for when the weather starts going over 26C or so? I’m planning a MTM beige/oatmeal Linen suit and am trying to decide between the Lisburn and Natural Elements books. I understand the Lisburn will hang better than the Natural Elements at 255g, but I’m a little worried I’ll find it uncomfortable at high summer having never had Linen over about 270g before.

Secondly, do you find yourself breaking this suit up much? I imagine the jetted pockets makes it a little harder than say a Model 3?

Rupesh Bhindi

Hi Simon,

To have a first linen suit to wear during the warmer climate and on holiday, which colour would you recommend as a first suit? Cream or beige. I know you had one by Jean Manuel Moreau in cream.

Thanks

Rupesh

Jonny

Hi Simon,

I’ve been considering the Lisburn Linen bunch for a summer suit, also to be worn as separates. I assume because of the hopsack-esque nature of the weave, it wouldn’t have any issue being broken up as separates?

Also, how did you find the Lisburn in higher heats if you had any experience wearing it in them? Would you expect the 350g cloth to remain comfortable in the higher 20s etc?

Jacob

Hello! Thanks for the helpful article.

I’m considering a MTM armoury suit for an upcoming wedding—the 101 as well as model 3 Ring Jacket—and I am wondering if you have any thoughts on how the quality of construction of these compare to some of the other MTM options in NYC: Paul Stuart, Sartoria Vestrucci (which does MTM in NYC), as well as JMueser—which you haven’t reviewed here. Any thoughts that you have would really be appreciated.

Andrew

The shade of this linen is really quite nice. Better than a more standard khaki I’d say. I’m thinking about getting something made up in the same cloth now, but was wondering – what are your thoughts on single vs double breasted in linen, especially in lighter shades like this? Wondering if double breasted in this shade might be a bit too much. Any thoughts Simon?

David

Hi,
Cad and dandy offers offshore bespoke made in India for 1300 pounds.
In terms of style. If I get the this type of cloth from cad and dandy tailor. Same suit. How big difference would the style be ?. Would it be longer jacket etc ?

Sincerely
David

David

Ok I live in Stockholm and Götrich/Cad and Dandy is basically the same company. They have a partnership. Their offshore bespoke is the same. So basically what you are saying is that the suit you have is Italian style and the one I will get from Götrich/Cad and Dandy will be english style. Despite ordering using the same cloth the suits will look very different. The Cad and Dandy will look more formal english style and the Italian will look more casual like in your picture above. What can I do to get the same look as your style ? Should I show them your picture ? What specific alterations do I need to get your look from the bespoke process in Götrich/Cad and dandy ?

Danny

Great post and beautiful suit, Simon. Have you found that certain MTM programs do certain things best? For instance, if I wanted a casual suit – maybe even linen as written about here – would you recommend one place over others? Or vice versa, with a more classic wool business suit?