The Armoury’s ‘Dayware’ jackets reviewed

Wednesday, November 3rd 2021
Share
||- Begin Content -||

Unstructured jackets, or shirt-jackets, have become very popular in recent years, and The Armoury offers a bigger range than almost anyone else. 

So I thought it would be useful to review all of them together, and run through what I think of each model. We can do the same later with other brands, such as the range of such casual jackets at The Merchant Fox, Drake’s or P Johnson, if people are interested. 

The Armoury has four models - all part of the casual collection they call Dayware - and they have one thing in common: there is very little internal structure. No padding, nothing more than light canvas. Basically a shell of material, usually with a lining, cut into a range of shapes. 

It is those shapes that do the most to separate one model from another, partly in terms of formality but more in terms of style. 

The City Hunter 2

The City Hunter is a model the Armoury have done for a while, and is basically their version of a Teba - the traditional Spanish shirt-jacket which has the distinctive lack of notch where the collar and lapel meet. 

I have owned Tebas in the past, and wasn’t particularly taken with that collar design, or the normally boxy fit. But this style from The Armoury is rather better, I think, and I have the brown version pictured above. 

The cut is a little slimmer - more of a contemporary fit that you’d expect from a modern brand - and the details are better. They reflect the fact that someone has actually thought through what a modern wearer would need, rather than just copied an old style. 

There’s a buttoned breast pocket, for example, which is particularly useful for a phone when putting the jacket in a bag or overhead locker, or even when just bending down. There are two patch pockets, but also a small internal patch on the right. And there are two internal, buttoned pockets.

One thing worth noting is that the collar can be worn up and down, and this creates two quite distinct styles - one an unusual version of a regular jacket, the other more similar to a Mandarin or Nehru jacket (above). Some readers might find they like only one and not the other.

The Safari Jacket 2

The point of having a range of jackets is that different models appeal to different people, and the safari jacket is one that doesn’t appeal to me. 

The Armoury version is a good one. The pockets have both bellows and gussets, making them capacious, yet they don’t stick out from the body when empty, which is often a risk with these pocket styles. 

The buttons have been enlarged since the first version (which I had in linen) and this suits it - the look is now slightly more towards a jacket than a shirt. And the collar is one of the nicest I’ve seen for a safari. It has that distinctive, long point, but it’s not as big as many, which seem closer to a 1960s Yves Saint Laurent style.

But the safari jacket overall still feels too trad for me. Too much like a piece of costume, or something enthused over by revivalists, trying to dress like a character from history. As I noted when designing a piece with Fred Nieddu recently, I prefer fewer pockets, and a more subtle collar. 

(It is worth noting that this effect is most noticeable in traditional material, like pale linens. Of the two materials currently on offer, the dark-brown cotton panama looks rather more modern.)

The 3 pocket blouson

This has become a familiar style for The Armoury, with Mark, Jim and others shown wearing versions in many different materials, from khaki cotton to buffalo-check flannel.

I admire the style. It’s always hard to create a new version of a piece of menswear, rather than just copying a vintage piece, and I think short jackets are particularly difficult. There are so many fewer places to put pockets, and the proportions have to be just right or it becomes unflattering on many guys. 

The 3PB does those things well. It’s not so short that it only works with high-waisted trousers, even if it’s designed more for that cut, and the differently angled patch pockets look surprisingly cohesive. 

It’s still not a style I would wear, as in a short jacket I prefer something which hugs the waist closely, with room for movement in the upper body above it. Like The Armoury’s suede jacket, the Wright, or a bomber like my old Hermes linen one

It's also interesting to compare the cut to the Jack bomber from Adret, which on the surface looks like a similar but actually is both straighter (without that band at the waist) and roomier.

If I was to have a 3PB, it would have to be made to order, so the waist fitted very closely. That is something The Armoury offer - the ability to do MTO versions of all these jackets should be a big part of their appeal -  so perhaps I’ll try that at some stage when I can get in and see the team. 

The road jacket

The road jacket falls into a similar category - but as with the whole range, it is still executed very nicely. 

This is more of a traditional biker style, with large patched chest pockets, an extended tab closure at the waist, and pleats in the back and front. The latter appeals to my style more than the 3PB, as it has that flattering size in the chest and back, which again is shown to best effect when the waist is fitted closely. 

The nice execution is in things like the internal patch pockets that match those on the outside, the hand-sewn buttonholes, and the closed sleeve gussets. Plus of course premium materials and horn buttons. 

Thinking about it as I write, it’s details like this that set the Armoury Dayware collection apart. 

It’s so common to see brands doing ‘their version’ of an old flight jacket or a trucker jacket, but really adding nothing new, and producing it only in the most conservative colours or the ones trending that season. 

Mark and the team have never done that, and even though I would usually prefer to wear a suede blouson or a linen overshirt rather than the 3PB or Safari Jacket, I recognise the time and thought taken to do something distinct. And I know each style will appeal to different readers. 

As I said at the start, there are a lot of unstructured jackets and shirt-jackets out there. It’s becoming the dominant piece a menswear shop offers, rather than a sports jacket. So it’s telling that among them all, the collection at The Armoury is unique. 

The Armoury have their own summary of the Dayware jackets here. Prices are:

  • City Hunter: $650-$1050
  • Safari jacket: $650-$800
  • 3PB: $595-$750
  • Road jacket: $595 or $750 (Casentino)

Made-to-order prices depend on materials, but start at $100 extra on top of the ready-made price for linens and cottons

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
56 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Robin

It’s worth pointing readers to the fantastic YouTube videos The Armoury do.

Il Pennacchio

We can do the same later with other brands, such as the range of such casual jackets at The Merchant Fox, Drake’s or P Johnson, if people are interested. 

I’m certainly interested. I wear jackets like these more often than I do a tailored sport coat, and I suspect that’s true of other men as well. I’ve had an eye on both the Armoury road jacket and P Johnson shirt jacket, so I would find such a series particularly helpful.

Spencer

Very helpful comparative article. I’ve looked into each one of these at some point, and have tried on the 3 PB and road jacket. I discovered that the dimensions didn’t quite work for me, and would likewise need to go MTO, which I might do at some point in the future. Really appreciate your thoughts and analysis of the various styles.

Mark Cho

Thanks for covering us, Simon!

Jackson

Funny, how one can see something so celebrated or widely considered stylish yet be so mystified as to why that is. There’s not one jacket here that I’d consider wearing.. They look so much like the point of them is to appear to be expensive and tastefully idiosyncratic takes on more widely worn garments. To my eyes, the cut of each of them is far too considered for what they are and they achieve the former, that is looking expensive without the qualifying tastefulness. For too stylised for my personal tastes.

To put it rather disparagingly, they look to me like the slightly obscure designer stuff you might find on a rack at T.K Maxx.

Jackson

Maybe I have too much time in my work day today, but I’d like to add reasoning, partly because this look sums up something in menswear I’ve actively disliked for a while. If anyone, Simon or otherwise, happens to agree or disagree thoroughly Id be very interested to know why.

They seem to me to be too cultivated a take on relatively run of the mill items. They’d drive your outfit without being loud enough to warrant having that impact and your personal styling would be done for you by their design choices rather than your own. The first one for example: whether you were wearing a tracksuit underneath it or an OCBD and flannel trousers, that jacket is still wearing you and what a boring item of clothing to be having that effect.

Take your donegal overcoat, Simon. I use it as an example as I was just appreciatively wearing it all morning. It’s quite dramatic an item of clothing and always gets appreciative looks when I wear it out, but it’s subtle and doesn’t shape an outfit, but rather compliments it and leaves one open to their own choice of styling, rather than the designers.

Martins

hey don’t dismiss tk maxx! it’s hard to beat 80£ loake 1880 or 130£ trickers or 30£ brooks brothers/Ralph Lauren chinos/polos/knitwear as an example. (if you’re lucky enough to find your size/colour) ..

Thomas Mastronardi

Amen.

Emerging Genius

They’ll be fashionable for one or two seasons before they find themselves at a thrift store.

MB

Although genius traditionally requires no explanation, I confess I’m a bit confused by the feedback from EG as I think some of these items have been in production for a rather long time and they generally strike me as a well considered collection of unstructured jackets. I think the road jacket looks especially nice but suspect it wouldn’t suit me.
I also liked the look of the Wright jacket (in suede) which might be a worthy mention in the article?

Emerging Genius

You’re right. I should gone into more reasons why.

They don’t really fit comfortably into any established clothing category and don’t look like shirts and seem to migrating into a shirt/jacket hybrid with an identity crisis for some of them.

The comments weren’t intended to offend, as you suggest. They’re simply not designed for longevity due to their inability to really sit well in any established style category.

Stephen

I’d tend to agree. They are neither one thing or another. Not for me, as I think they would very quickly date. That said experimentation and innovation has to be tried and applauded.

Riccardo Franchi

“the ability to do MTO versions of all these jackets should be a big part of their appeal”

I want to note here that this ability isn’t restricted just to the fabrics they normally offer if you talk to them. I have a 3PB in the brown escorial that was offered in collaboration with PS and John Ellis and it’s become a favorite casual piece: typically worn open with chinos/jeans as a slightly more casual version of jeans and brown tweed sportscoat.

Jason

A great summary.
As an early adopter of the A&S work jacket , I’d urge you to a piece on their collection.

Jan

Many thanks, Simon. Interesting read as always. I’m a bit confused as to how these jackets are a new trend and are portrayed as replacing sports jackets to a certain extent. They all look like relatively simple short unlined jackets for outdoors which we have had in linnen, cotton, denim, suede etc. for decades. The type of thing kids, teenagers, ladies and gentlemen all over the world would throw on over any casual outfit in a moderately pleasant season / climate. Not as a replacement for men’s jackets in slightly more formal outfits for indoors. The accompanying pictures above – except perhaps Alan’s – also point towards light casual outerwear. What is the trend or development here? That these are replacing more formal tailored jackets? Weren’t they two completely different things for many years already?

Gabriele

I disagree slightly on this, in that the 3PB especially works well indoors and is comfortable when sitting at a desk. To me, bridging the gap between the two categories Jan mentions is exactly what makes the jacket unique and useful.

Jan

Interesting. To me a 3PB or similar jacket would look odd behind a desk. The pockets alone clearly signal outerwear. More about look than comfort clearly because I can see how that would be very comfortable

Jason

Simon, you were right the first time. These jackets are, in many instances replacing the traditional tailored jacket. We just have to get over ourselves and recognise it !

JH

Simon it would be nice to know about your change of heart with respect to the Safari Jacket, as I remember a piece on their linen version which you had and apparently liked. Or were you never too sure about it?

Tamaki

I would like to add to Simon’s comment on linen “overshirt” having too many pockets. I have purchased the linen filed jacket from PWVC and it is lovely. However, it has a much stronger “presence” and thus is something that I find less versatile at least if one is trying to look less dramatic.

As most of styles and jacket, it depends on what one intends to use it, it just a matter of context/application for each garment

Jon

Interesting to see the degrees of association when clothes start feeling costumey to people. To me the Safari jacket looks very contemporary and I would only associate costume if it came in beige with epaulettes, gun shoulder, belt and D rings similar to the Willis & Geiger Hemingway jacket. And even then I could appreciate it in the right setting, like Prince Charles on Safari. Ultimately, it’s for your peers to judge whether you’re pulling of a look with confidence or trying too hard. For example, while I appreciate Errolson Hugh in full Tech-Ninja gear, I’d probably think, who needs this many pockets and zips when average Joe on the street wears it.

Jon

Good Point. I’ve obliviously fallen into the costume trap several times. In the past, I’ve impulsively bought certain items, often when they were considered “Originals” and I could get them at a discount. I wanted to own and wear them so badly, I blended out if it would even fit into my wardrobe, occasion, climate zone, body type or social circle. I’ve bought into a dream rather than checking back with reality. Not even considering how I would combine them. Little self awareness. This gives me plenty of hilarious cringe moments when I look at old pictures of myself, similar to hearing my voice in an audio message. As I train my social skills, my wardrobe tends to improve as well. I’m getting better at this and luckily have a better half whose advice I take dear. But then there are other items with an emotional history to them where I just don’t care about what image it might portray to some. Brand names like Rolex come to mind. I’m sure some readers can relate.

Ben

Not a big fan of this genre, just as I’m not a big fan of shirts in heavier fabrics worn unbuttoned. Why ever choose a boxy silhouette over a more flattering tapered waist and, by extension, stronger back and shoulders? Ralph Lauren sometimes styles shackets tucked in and over a light woolen crewneck, which gives a better silhouette but looks stuffy. I’d like to see someone try a long version that ends just above the knee with some tapering at the waste. Or is that just a mackintosh?

Shem

Hi simon, I’ve been a long time fan of the Armoury and own some model 3 jackets which albeit pricey are some of the best fitting jackets I own.

However I haven’t been buying from them in the recent years as I feel their ideas have somewhat became slightly stale and it’s personified in these collection of jackets which I personally wouldn’t purchase. These are just my opinion but they appear very drab/uninspiring in design with little personality and are a little too expensive for what they are. I would much rather get the vintage pieces these were inspired from for less than half the price and with more character. Again just my opinion

Paul

While I can easily see why these pieces might appeal to others, this is not a category of clothing I find particularly exciting. For me these kinds of item generally lack the understated elegance I tend to gravitate towards, whether in casual or smarter clothing. I would be much more likely to opt for a shawl collar cardigan, bomber or blouson when dressing down – a preference that has certainly been nurtured by Permanent Style down the years.

Although I lack the industry knowledge and contacts for this to be anything more than a hunch, my perception is that ranges of more casual clothing are expanding dramatically from tailoring brands in the wake of the pandemic – sales of suits, sports jackets and formal shirts must have declined – just look at how few ties Drake’s now offers online.

That makes me all the more determined to continue wearing proper shirts and jackets, even if I now rarely wear a tie, as I find the ongoing homogeneity of today’s dress codes rather tedious. And while I don’t wish to be noticed, someone has to stand up for classic tailoring!

But I do think these styles have an important role to play in attracting younger customers who might be at the beginning of an exploration of their personal style. They offer a bridge from streetwear and may well inspire first-time Armoury customers to gravitate to sports jackets and so on.

Regardless of my own personal tastes, I feel it is hugely important that Simon covers important trends and remains more open minded than me about what is happening on the style front!

Zy

I actually think Anglo-Italian did an absolute sleeper of a jacket of this type last season. To me, both the collar and the pockets make it look very modern and urban. (This one is in linen and unlined, but it surely is available for MTO and could perhaps be lined?)

AIC have a few different unstructured jackets, and if you were to do more of these roundup style piece I think they should definitely feature.

Screenshot 2021-11-04 at 15.01.59.png
Il Pennacchio

I would have categorized field jackets with safari jackets because both tend to feature four external pockets, rather than chore coats with their typical three, making chore coats closer to sport coats, and thus (slightly) smarter than the others.

Tony H

If you’re thinking about future article subjects, I’d certainly be interested in an article discussing the differences between safari and field jackets.

I feel like they come from different traditions (sporting v military) but served similar functions (holding lots of things you might need when shooting).

I’d be particularly keen on an article on the sorts of little changes in either that would nudge them smarter or more casual, or little things that might be why they feel a little off when you look in the mirror

Scott H

I love the armoury. Such a great place to shop here in NYC. I love that you covered them but rather disagree with your comments on the Safari Jacket. It is more utalitarian to me than “costume like”. Function is great when your running around the city and great weight in wool for a NYC fall. A nice navy herringbone doesn’t allow the pockets to appear as if they protrude. It’s blends so you don’t look like Nigel thornberry. Cheers Simon!

Gary

Safari jackets (when not actively on safari) I shouldn’t love them but I do! A practical comfy jacket, more power to them. On the others; only this morning I pulled on a pair of chinos and looked at my wardrobe thinking that I did not want a sports jacket, I did not feel in a denim or leather mood so it occurred to me I was missing something…and here I find is what I seem to be missing. Happy coincidence.

Nils

Simon, have you had a chance to see and try on William Crabtree’s Lowgill Work jacket (https://www.williamcrabtree.co.uk/collections/all/products/lowgill-casual-jacket)? If so, what do you think of it?
How do The Armoury’s jackets compare to WC’s chore jacket that you reviewed earlier this year?

Tony H

I feel like there was a point in time on the blog where, in one way or another, most articles were kind of pointed at answering the question ‘how can I be well dressed in casual settings?’ I’d say each of these jackets offers a possible answer to that question, even if they’re not for everyone.

I’d also say that anyone saying they’re a fad that will be in op shops in a year is missing the fact that versions of most of them have in production for at least 100 years.

Personally I’m reaching quite a lot for casual jackets that feel at home with a casual shirt and tie or jumper (and often even jeans at the bottom), and these certainly could certainly look good doing that job.

Robert

To each his own, of course. I just wanted to say that I disagree with the readers who think that the 3PB is not stylish. I have the navy in a ripstop fabric from last spring and love it. I find it to be understated, distinctive, and useful. I immediately received compliments from the people I know who pay attention to these things the first time I wore it.
I admit a bias though. Almost everything I have purchased over the last few years — sport jackets, a suit, wool trousers, several sweaters, belts, etc. — has come from The Armoury. Just watching the videos one can see how much thought goes into the designs and the choice of fabric.
Their Dayware collection is expanding, very clearly with an eye to a changing market. I’m looking forward to my next visit to NY.

Kris

Can I poll whether anyone thinks that this entire category of “unstructured “, “unlined”, “unpadded” “un-original” casual jacket category is WAY passed its sell-by date, way overdone, and too been there done that in everyone’s closet and store? The safari jacket, 4-pocket, Chore-coat, 5 pocket, Games blazer, etc…there are other names….ALL seem to be iterations of the SAME basic concept. Can there really be another variant out there that hasn’t been done yet? Kudos to Mark and Alan for riding the wave and perhaps even re-igniting the style but the menswear industry imho needs to move on to some other jacket, and the Trucker jacket seems not to be a smooth evolution, even though Alan looks great wearing it with a tie. Lastly, all of these variants being unlined always made me wonder whether using, as Simon wrote, “just a canvas shell of fabric” is done simply to keep the cost down? I for one really enjoy wearing a full or half lined jacket as it tends to give the garment more of a quality feel and weight but perhaps I’m alone on this view. Furthermore, Alan and Mark are super slim and would make any jacket look great but throw the Road or 3PB jacket on a man that has lets say a more of a “Dad or Family-man “body and they just don’t look good.

Con

Going off on a bit of a tangent here, but still relevant with regards to style, I think. There is something that has bothered me about both actual workwear i.e that worn by tradespeople, agro/forestry workers, fishermen, hunters etc., and also iterations of this type that have been as you say, been taken up by middle and upper classes, whether just to adopt the look or for similar uses e.g navy and fishermen’s clothes used in pleasure sailing.
The vast majority of genuine workwear today is abysmal. The fabrics are typically inferior blends compared to what was made long ago and the structure and features have all been watered down. Meaning, the clothing is generally shapeless and oversized instead of form fitting with the necessary movement vents, pleats and gussets and so on dispensed with. This means the clothing does not perform as required for the weather conditions and the bagginess also means the loose material is a safety risk. Each year many accidents occur due to this fact – loose fabric being caught on blades, machinery PTO’s, boat rigging/tackle causing death and severe injury.
From the other side, the recreations of workwear and sportswear by fashion companies, while using finer fabrics have often dispensed with these features also, which is a shame because I think features that were meant for safety and comfort actually add a pleasing look and can really add to the stylishness of an outfit.

Robert Giaimo

Thanks for the post, very timely for me as I have been looking for a jacket that’s casual and not as formal as a sport coat. I live in a beach town so a sport coat very often looks out of a place, but I’m not comfortable without having a smart layering element. I must say I’m a little surprised how adamantly some are opposed to the overshirt concept, done well I think it’s quite nice. While I tend to classic clothing myself, let’s hope that what we wear is allowed to evolve just as we evolve ourselves. After all, otherwise we’d all be looking like we were from the 1880’s. Armoury’s Hunter Jacket 2 maybe exactly what I’ve been looking for. Appreciate the help.