Virtutes Romanae: Richard Armitage and FRUGALITAS

Wow, it seems like ages since I’ve blogged! The forces of nature and the academic calendar are conspiring against me. Today’s installment of Virtutes Romanae will serve as an “Armitage Intervention” for me. I’m not going through the list of the Roman virtues in any particular order, but I happened to be thinking about the grey shirt.  You know the one I mean, this one….

Company of dwarves a'song Source:  richardarmitagenet.com

Company of dwarves a’song
Source: richardarmitagenet.com

(the one that may have been closer to black a few years ago…)

A good shirt is a good shirt!! Richard Armitage reads

A good shirt is a good shirt!!
Richard Armitage reads “Flat Stanley” on CBeebies (my cap)

and FRUGALITAS came to mind.   One of the things that I’ve come to admire about Richard Armitage is that he seems to know the value of a dollar (or a pound, or whatever currency he’s currently spending 🙂 )  In an industry where fortunes are made and lost in the blink of an eye, this is a pretty rare commodity.   The Romans defined FRUGALITAS as economy or frugality…novaroma.org defines it further as, “”Frugalness” Economy and simplicity of style, without being miserly.”   The important distinction (one that I’m constantly trying to make to my kids) is that exhibiting FRUGALITAS doesn’t mean he’s a tight fisted cheapskate, but rather that he chooses carefully where he spends his money.

That is not the suit of a skinflint:
Wellington premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
can be viewed at Getty Images by searching Richard Armitage

Maybe the quality stems from lessons learned from his parents, or maybe from years of lean living where well paying acting gigs were few and far between.  It could well be a combination of both these reasons and more, but it seems quite clear that while Richard Armitage is willing to outlay significant amounts of cash when he chooses, he also appears equally able to economize,    Try not to get too distracted by all the other visual yumminess below, but look closely at the circled area…

This shirt is still good…so what if the edge is torn?
Source: http://the-hobbit.tumblr.com/post/49023266622/the-hobbit-in-the-makeup-chair-x
(I believe the original image hails from one of the WETA books from The Hobbit.

**correction: The image above comes from, The Hobbit, The Original Guide by Brian Sibley. (Thank you morrighansmuse!) A man who can stun in a designer suit but  recycles some articles of clothing diligently , seems to me to embody the very essence of FRUGALITAS.  🙂

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36 comments on “Virtutes Romanae: Richard Armitage and FRUGALITAS

  1. i.f. says:

    Like this post very much, thank you!
    „frugal“ he pointed out to be his love life in an interview a few years ago. 🙂 
    Simplicity of style, without being miserly – great phrase. Yes, I think the guy doesn’t see any need of replacing his stuff every few moments. Makes him so very human, so down-to-earth, so boy-next-door.
    Adorable.

    • obscura says:

      Precisely…I find it so cute that the things that he finds kind of staid about himself are the very traits that so many of us find oh so appealing 🙂 Thanks for reminding me about that “frugal love life” comment!

      • Jane says:

        Well, it’s a good answer to deflect nosy questions. And very endearing. Whether or not it is true is another matter.

        • obscura says:

          As always…we must remember to take all of these reports with a grain of salt 🙂

          It’s kind of funny, I know that BMW’s are on the pricey end, but certainly not terribly exclusive to the point that they raise eyebrows – even in my decidedly non-posh town. Who would look twice in London?

  2. kelbel75 says:

    one of the many things about him that I adore 🙂 I’m not a flashy kind of gal, so I love that he wears older t-shirts and drives a modest car, but splurges on classic suits and personal things that he enjoys. that says “responsibility and security” to me, and reminds me of the way I was raised 🙂

  3. “From RA to TO” is one of my favorite pictures just for that stupid little tear in his shirt. My eyes go right to to that spot everytime I see that picture. It might be only because I want to make it larger, run my finger through the … (um where was I)….Glad to see you back…Oh by the by, a huge thank you for representing us vicariously at Mrs. Servetus’ passing ceremony and for hugging her on our behalf.

    • obscura says:

      I know right!?…I saw it the first time I looked at the picture…rrrrrr 🙂 I’m glad I was able to be there..it was a really lovely service. (There was also an extremely cute picture of baby Servetus with her mom 🙂 )

  4. Perry says:

    Isn’t that the same tank top we saw him wearing in the Robin Hood extras? That would make it as old, if not older than the T-shirt. And what do you mean, Obscura? Your children think Richard is a skinflint?
    Finally, thank you for being at Mrs. Servetus’s funeral service yesterday. It’s good to have you back.

    • obscura says:

      Hmmm, IDK…that will require more arduous RH extras research! LOL – my kids only think *I’m* cheap – not really. I just refuse to but them the latest and greatest just because. That said, I’ve been kvetching for three days about the $140 calculator my liberal arts kid needs for freshman math 😉

  5. KatharineD says:

    I like the battered leather satchel- well worn and functional. You get the impression he’d take it to a boot maker to be repaired rather than buy a new one.

    • obscura says:

      Another great example…I can totally see repairing rather than replacing that. Leather pieces like that are best when they’re “seasoned.” I have a great local saddle and harness shop that fixes mine 😉

  6. That lower picture is from The Hobbit: Official Movie Guide by Brian Sibley 🙂

    I was just thinking – because I’ve seen this happen on some sets that they have to cut the neckline of whatever you’re wearing if removing it ends up messing up whatever hair and make up you’ve got on – or to put back on.

    • obscura says:

      Aha…thank you for the info! The source of the pic didn’t list the original source, but I knew someone would know – credit where credit is due 🙂

      • obscura says:

        Crud…pulled the trigger too fast!

        That seems like a perfectly logical way for that edging to have gotten in that state. I wouldn’t put it past RA to have kept that shirt though…I never underestimate a man’s devotion to faded, stretched and otherwise abused cotton. I go on stealth purging missions on the dressers around here – suddenly there are a lot more dust rags in the drawer 🙂

  7. Another instance of it can be seen with the olive green shirt he wore in Strike back (Ep1) and during the dubbing for The Hobbit. And this ‘quality’ of his is another reason why I love him!

  8. guylty says:

    I love your virtutes posts, they are wonderful lessons in priorities. It obviously helps when dire moral constructs are explained by using Mr A…
    When I read the title of the post, my mind immediately jumped to the little titbit that he used to drive his dad’s old banger. The next thought went to RA saying his house was occasionally messy because he didn’t have a cleaner. Agreeing with you all that these examples of frugality add to his appeal. For me it also means that he doesn’t spend money flippantly, displaying wealth. And consequently that status symbols are not important to him. (Does the Beemer fit into that?) a down-to-earth attitude. Good man.
    PS: Thanks for pointing out the tear – I never noticed!!!

    • obscura says:

      I was thinking about the Romans and all their pragmatic, sensible virtues, and how they’ve been imprinted on Western Civilization – none of these concepts are foreign to us, it’s just getting harder and harder to find living examples in certain segments of society.

      I don’t know, BMW’s have become almost bourgeois these days haven’t they? 😉 Owning one performance car is perhaps only a sign of affluence, needing to purchase real estate specifically to house your stable of luxury cars is something entirely different – the egregious examples that come to mind are the sorts of things that are profiled on the MTV series, “Cribs” – talk about conspicuous consumption!

      The more I look at it, the more I think Velvet is right – the whole edge of that neck has been cut to get it over the face and wig – however, I don’t necessarily think that means he threw it out at the end of filming…

  9. Joanna says:

    I love this post ! CBeebies t-shirt looks comfy..I could sleep in it, though it might be tad tight;)
    PS:I just want to thank you for caring about “our” Servetus 🙂

    • obscura says:

      I’ll bet it’s even comfier now if it’s the same shirt! 😀

      It was my very great honor to be able to be there not only on my own behalf, but on behalf of us all!

  10. katie70 says:

    I just the comments fast as I am behind with the first day of school and the rest of the week. The calculator, wow up north it is $120, and lucky for me son1 needed one in 2008 and then it was $100. My this year freshman can use it next year for Algebra II A and B. He was telling us about the calculator that some of his classmates need this year. I hope he uses it with five math classes in four years ( they plan out there whole high school classes as 8th graders in our school ).

    Great post and here I am back on the run.

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