My Favorite Thing is a column where Put This On asks stylish, interesting, and otherwise cool people to name their favorite item of clothing or accessory, past or present. In this installment, we asked co-founder of The Armoury and one of the world’s best dressed men, Mark Cho.
As someone who works in seasonal menswear, my favorite thing changes every three to six months. I spend a lot of time doing product development for The Armoury, so I am inevitably smitten by the latest shiny thing that lands on our shop floor. Today though, I want to highlight a suit that, while quite new, has a bit of history with me.
There are countless more fabric options than tailored style options (that I can take seriously), and I’m happy to play within the two’s permutations. I started looking for unusual or vintage cloth in earnest almost ten years ago. One day, a particular maker, Dashing Tweeds, caught my attention. I sent an e-mail, was told to go to an address – which turned out to be the proprietor Guy Hills’ home – and purchased a few meters of cloth to take back to my tailor in Hong Kong. It was a very happy experience for me, not just because Guy is a character and gentleman, but because it was such an enjoyable quest to be on – like a first-world forager looking for expensive woven berries.
I like to think of Guy as “the most English man ever.” He has charm, creativity, eclectic tastes, but most importantly, he just does not give a shit about “the rules.” He possesses a set of traits I continue to find in certain Englishmen, but rarely anywhere else. I think it’s fair to say that Dashing Tweeds is an acquired taste. As someone who likes decorative cloth, no matter how weird it may be, Dashing Tweeds pushes my buttons. If you can get past the initial “what the hell?” feeling, you’ll find that the designs are complex and beautiful, with little reliance on the past as an indicator of what to do next.
In my most recent visit, I bought a navy suiting cloth with a stripe made of grey boucle yarn. I handed the fabric over to Ring Jacket, who’s essentially my adopted Japanese family (and maker of nice suits for The Armoury). I had to make a prototype of a new store model anyways, so they did me a favor and used my bit of Dashing Tweeds. (Please don’t write me asking to do Ring Jacket CMT.) The cut is influenced by Milanese style, having a classic size lapel with a lightly padded shoulder. It has a conservative air to it, acting as a good medium for the fabric. I don’t wear it often but if there’s an event worth wearing something bonkers to, I’ll break it out. I am now a man who owns a furry pinstripe.
Sometimes people get a bit carried away with the import their fine garments may bestow upon them. Building a wardrobe is not an exercise in optimization, it should be something that is enjoyable and worth taking the occasional risk on. Enjoy the process, enjoy the cloth, enjoy the garment and enjoy the beauty (sometimes debatable) of the final result. In my case, I got to hang out with Guy and I spent some quality time with my friends at Ring Jacket. Ultimately, I have a garment that reminds me of good times with good friends, and brings more of both every time I wear it. -MARK CHO