Joining forces with Arkhé Collection once again, we are proudly presenting the Liling Overshirt. Conscientously-researched and designed, as ever, our overshirt pulls in inspirations from Eastern pattern-making techniques and Western shirting elements, featuring a silhouette that embraces body ergonomics. Perfect both tucked and untucked for complementing a wide range of relaxed yet chic ensembles.
Heritage meets function. Setting itself apart from other overshirt pieces, the Liling features an instantly-recognizable dropped shoulder design, one that pays homage to Eastern garment-making traditions.
Historically speaking, the body of clothing was made utilizing an entire piece of cloth, with the latter being folded upon itself and, subsequently, a hole being cut in the middle for the neck to pass through. This was to ensure the fabric was used as efficiently as possible. As such, the 'shoulder seam' position would be determined by the width of the fabric, rather than where the shoulder ends.
We have integrated this approach, to a certain extent, when designing the overshirt. This enables ample movement for the arms all the while leaving sufficient volume for the piece to be layered over thicker knits.
Intrinsically utilitarian in nature, the Liling features a Western back yoke. Remarkably stylish whilst durable given its double-fold. We have pushed the signature double-pointed yokes further to the side, with their tip directly aligning with the reinforced darts, for a cleaner back.
We highly recommend pairing the overshirt with the Arkhé Chino - Type 1, as the back yoke follows the same design language as the back trouser pocket flaps, not to mention the two pieces were designed in parallel to complement one another.
Similar to how a lounge suit has been broken down into separate jackets and odd jackets, one can call this an attempt to break down a siren suit/ driving suit/jumpsuit into two halves.
Naturally, the highlight of this overshirt is its stand collar twist. Most modern shirt designs come with a turned-down collar, one that was in essence created to accommodate a bowtie or necktie.
We asked ourselves whether featuring this configuration on an overshirt still warrants any contemporary sensibility, given neckties are rarely worn together with such garments. Moreover, the double-layered collar would only add unnecessary volume to the neck area, especially when it is placed around a neckerchief and underneath a jacket and/ or overcoat's collar. Stand collar, being the simplest amongst all collars, just makes the most sense.
What's more, we have also paid extra attention to nail down the right collar height, which is 5cm tall. In our experience, raising the collar by a slight touch offers better harmonization between the said garment and the layers around it. Evidently superior compared to shorter collars that often collapse underneath a jacket.
Elsewhere, we have tweaked the shape of the patch pocket's flaps by making it asymmetrical. If you observe closely, the tip of the flaps is aligned directly with the longer end of the box pleats. Designed with functionality in mind, this allows the pockets to be more accessible as it is placed closer to the center.
The garment is made of washable wool denim suiting fabric, a luxury material developed by renowned British textile merchant, Holland & Sherry.
It was clear to us from the start that the texture needs to be familiar to the layperson but also contain a slight twist. That way, the overshirt is simple enough to complement and pair with a wide variety of garments, as all key layering pieces should do. With that in mind, this twist comes in two-fold.
Firstly, in terms of material composition. A denim overshirt should be easy and machine-washable, though that does not necessitate a compromise on the attributes of refinement. Whereas cotton denim can be stiff in the first place and would require a considerable amount of washes to soften up — not to mention the fabric would appear worn-looking as it loses its pigment — this wool denim is soft from the get-go and would still retain its shape over time. These qualities are, in our opinion, much more suitable for an overshirt of this nature.
Secondly, in the form of color. Traditionally speaking, indigo is used for coloring denim as the dye is cheap, making it readily available. Needless to say, we opted for this olive shade as it is slightly unusual in the context of denim; yet subtle enough as olive is becoming increasingly popular within the sartorial community, and hence acceptable, as a shirting color.
As the ultimate layering piece, the Liling is versatile and can be worn over and under a wide variety of garments and accessories.
My favorite ways, so far, include styling it over a turtleneck jumper, worn tucked, and underneath an earth-toned sports jacket. I have also taken pleasure in pairing it with a black crewneck jumper, worn with a muted neckerchief, followed by a pair of cavalry twill trousers in the same color family.
Then, of course, wearing this piece untucked can always offer one a 'Japanese-esque' oversized appearance, given the Liling's A-shape silhouette. The possibilities, may I say, are limitless.
This product is now available for pre-order from our shop. We expect it to be shipped out by the middle of May, in time for Spring delivery. Since we have opted for a pre-order model this time, we feel compelled to be transparent and elaborate on our thought process behind this shift.
Long-term patrons and readers would know by now that we are champions of sustainability. We constantly look for ways to make our products more environmentally friendly. Placing an order in bulk means that we could ship the fabric to Arkhé Collection's premise all at once, hence decreasing the number of shipments required. Other benefits include energy-saving, etc.
In short, if you are willing to wait slightly longer for your beloved Liling Overshirt to arrive, you get a piece that is made less carbon-intensively. For this, we are deeply grateful for your support.
Last but not least, we also have the overshirt on display at 20 Savile Row before the end of the month. I will personally be there to answer any questions you may have about this piece.
For more details, kindly visit the product page.
Photography: William Wong & The Suitstainable Man team