“The most important rule about style is that it costs money to look good. You will never find a perfectly-tailored ivory/bone colored dinner jacket at the mall. You will only find yourself at the food court, face down in a Styrofoam plate of fried rice and self-loathing.” Sterling Malory Archer
Yes, I know. I’m not perfect. I always take too long picking out cufflinks to go with my jacket. But we all have our crosses to bear.— Sterling Archer (@codenameduchess) March 24, 2015
Sterling Malory Archer, aka Duchess, the world’s most famous secret agent (yes, that is a contradiction in terms, and SO Archer), is a staggeringly handsome riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a Savile Row suit, handmade Italian shoes, and a $400 shirt.
I hate to point this out, but my cobbler’s divorce is really starting to affect his work. #ArcherFX— Sterling Archer (@codenameduchess) February 22, 2015
Archer wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth; instead, he was born to a desperate single woman on the run, on the well-worn surface of a Moroccan bar. He was named after a silver rattle that formerly belonged to an “Arab whore” and also after his mother. And also after his mother’s dog. It’s a long story.
Now that he’s a playboy secret agent/coke dealer/ocelot fancier/Burt Reynolds stan, he repudiates any sign of a less-than-affluent past, insisting on the very best in all things, no matter who has to die for it. Sure, the California redwood is endangered, but just look at this bitchin’ hot tub! With his height (6’2”) and physique, he can make the best of any look, and he knows it. Archer’s taste is exquisite (well, matte black El Camino aside) and his sartorial failings tend to be because he errs on the side of exquisiteness when utility would do.
AJTTOTD: Whoever told you it was okay to wear navy with black is trying to ruin your life with crushingly slow, public ridicule. #ArcherFX— Sterling Archer (@codenameduchess) November 9, 2014
He is, in two damning words, nouveau riche.
“Manicures: if they were just for women, they would be called womanicures.” Sterling Malory Archer
While there have been decent attempts to assemble Archerian ensembles at a reasonable price, they too have their failings. Archer would never wear tight hipster pants, for instance, nor a pre-tied bow tie; what do you think he has a valet for? And of this monstrosity, we shall never speak.
AJTTOTD: You shouldn’t compare yourself to others… unless you’re wearing a Super 220 Merino Wool suit and they’re not. #ArcherFX— Sterling Archer (@codenameduchess) December 27, 2014
“I like it when men wear double-breasted coats because that means they are toiling over a stove, making me a five star meal. If you are not a chef, however, avoid this fashion error.” Sterling Malory Archer
According to Archer himself, his charcoal grey suit is a hand-tailored slim cut one-button (with four holes, never the stemmed kind of button), from Savile Row in Super 220 fabric, which sets the minimum price around $3,500 and going way up. It has narrow notched lapels with flap pockets and a single back vent. His everyday shirts, French cuffed and always white and only white, come from London’s Turnbull & Asser, where Prince Charles gets his made. As numerous fight scenes attest, they are not exactly durable in a fight, but he loves them.
Archer’s “tactileneck” turtlenecks, which come in black and “very slightly darker black”, are made of rare Azeri cashmere and cost around $900. They are worn with black pants with a useful number of pockets, black combat boots, and sometimes a utility belt.
Cargo shorts were first worn by the armed forces to hold radios and ammunition. Now they’re mostly used to hold fake IDs and expired condoms— Sterling Archer (@codenameduchess) November 6, 2014
His accessories are also models of perfection, and include slim, solid burgundy or grey Hermes ties with a wide, classic Windsor or Pratt knot, white pocket square, folded, never poofed, black silk socks with garters, a plain yet still opulent solid silver, white gold, or platinum tie bar, classic aviator sunglasses, and black oxfords. He complains, “A.J.'s diaper bag really clashes with my Alfred Dunhill luggage set,” and the black calfskin Dunhill luggage is perhaps the most perfect luggage on the planet. If you really pin him to the wall he admits he would consider wearing a loafer with a casual suit.
Ha! Like he’d ever wear a casual suit!
My thoughts on pork pie hats in a word: No #ArcherFX— Sterling Archer (@codenameduchess) March 5, 2015
When he was on chemo for breast cancer he kept things simple and practical, although still luxe, with a monochromatic black look of tactileneck, casual leather jacket, loose trousers, accessorized with a red floral headscarf to hide the alopecia resulting from the drugs. If we had to guess, we’d say the jacket was Loewe and the trousers perhaps Lanvin. Headscarf, Hermes. Is there any other choice? Really?
When duty (or at least Mother) calls, he has been known to take off his jacket and roll up his sleeves to the elbow. When leisure calls, he has been known to forgo the skinny tie for an opulent cravat in crimson, adding a meerschaum pipe, although he does not smoke. He owns a crimson silk dressing gown with a black shawl collar, and a classic lush white toweling dressing gown, spa-style.
Formal wear for Archer is the ubiquitous pale, shawl-collared dinner jacket and black trousers with a grosgrain stripe up the outside leg. For Archer, white is too obvious, too poor; he favours the perfect shade of ivory instead. Pocket square pointing assertively out of the breast pocket rather than discreetly parallel to the edge as it is in daywear. Narrow black tie, patent shoes, and never, ever, anything “fun” or “novel” for formal wear.
He only “goes native” when he’s undercover or hiding from someone, usually his mother; when he was working as a bartender in Polynesia he sported a full beard and moustache, shaggy hair, Hawaiian shirt, and a puka-shell necklace. Duuude! And he’s a huge fan of huaraches, thus avoiding the dreaded flip-flops and mandals in one elegant stroke! “Why does everyone forget about huaraches? The sandal so nice they named a food after it!” he complained to Esquire.
AJTTOTD: If you ironically wear suspenders, people un-ironically hate you. #ArcherFX— Sterling Archer (@codenameduchess) December 30, 2014
The loosest Archer gets sartorially is when he wears a green tie for Saint Patrick’s Day. Even during the Archer Vice phase, he still took his suits very, very seriously. He did wear a tropical white linen suit, no tie, when the gang took over the country of San Marcos, and naturally looked great in it. Wool, even S 220 wool, is just not appropriate for the jungle in the summertime.
A traditional men’s lungi is a garment/sheet tied around the waist, a look I frequently sport on my balcony post-coitus. #ArcherFX— Sterling Archer (@codenameduchess) December 6, 2014
AJTTOTD: If you’re into wearing jeans with flip-flops, there’s a good chance you’re also into Christian rock and over-the-pants handjobs.— Sterling Archer (@codenameduchess) March 10, 2015
For non-suit wear, Archer sticks to the classics. Boxers. Thermal underwear if appropriate. Never, ever jeans unless posing as a hillbilly. Thick, patterned ski sweaters and parkas for winter wear, camo for jungle work, linen Cuban guayabera shirts for casual wear in the tropics, or for undercover work. Or for framing Cyril for some misdemeanors in Vegas.
You know, the usual.