For those new to the realm of bespoke tailoring, lapels play a crucial role in shaping the character of a suit. They are the folded flaps of fabric on the front of a jacket, extending from the collar and guiding the eye towards the chest.
Lapels are frequently underestimated during suit purchases, yet their significance is paramount, as different lapel styles suit distinct occasions and enhance the overall aesthetic. Understanding the three main lapel styles – notch, peak, and shawl – is an essential step in curating a suit that mirrors your personal style.
Notch lapels, characterized by a small notch where the collar meets the lapel, are the most common and versatile lapel style found on tailored suits. Their distinctive feature is a small indentation on both sides, creating a “V-shaped” effect.
The notch lapel’s timeless design ensures it complements various body types and face shapes, making it a popular choice for those seeking a balanced and traditional look. Whether it’s business attire, elegant dinners, or semi-formal events, the notch lapel effortlessly suits various occasions.
If you’re considering a go-to suit, opting for a notched lapel ensures it will be a reliable choice for most events. A notched lapel complements a single-breasted suit, and it’s the go-to choice for many who opt for off-the-rack styles.
When choosing a notched lapel suit, ensure the notch size matches the lapel width for a balanced, non-overwhelming appearance. For a sleek lapel, opt for a smaller notch; if it’s broader, go for a larger notch to maintain visual harmony.
When to Wear
- Ideal for everyday wear, blending effortlessly into semi-formal gatherings, relaxed events, and parties.
- Perfect for job interviews and business casual settings, exuding a touch of class without being overly formal.
- Versatile, striking the right balance between professionalism and approachability.
The peak lapel is a distinctive style renowned for the upward-angled corners gracefully extending towards the shoulders. The unique feature forms a striking “peak” on both sides of the jacket, contributing to an elevated and sophisticated aesthetic. Traditionally, peak lapels are considered to be more formal than notch and shawl lapels.
Peak lapels can be featured on both double-breasted and single-breasted suits, and are perfect for formal and business events. An example of tailored suits with peak lapels are regularly worn by Harvey Specter from the TV show “Suits”. Peak lapels are also ideal for shorter men and those on the larger side. The upward angle of the peak lapel visually adds the illusion of height by drawing the eye upwards.
Naturally broader than notch and shawl lapels, peak lapels lend a commanding presence to a suit. They pair effortlessly with wider ties or bowties, framing the ensemble with finesse. If you’re choosing a double-breasted suit, opting for a peaked lapel is better than a notched lapel for an extra touch of sophistication.
When to Wear
- Perfect for formal dinners and black-tie events, ensuring a sophisticated appearance.
- Well-suited for important business meetings, projecting confidence and often favored by influential executives in high-stakes environments like board meetings and conferences.
- Ideal for special ceremonies such as formal weddings, galas, award ceremonies, and anniversary dinners, where refined sophistication is a must.
- Timelessly stylish, peak lapels offer versatility and a touch of flair for memorable occasions.
The shawl lapel, a smooth, rounded design, adds a touch of elegance primarily found on tuxedos and dinner jackets. Embodying sophistication, it boasts a seamless, curved silhouette, making it a timeless choice for formal occasions.
A thinner shawl lapel is more trendy and will give you a sleek look, or you can opt for a wider lapel for a classic look. The shawl lapel’s versatility lies in its ability to elevate any outfit to a heightened level of classic glamour, making it a staple for those seeking understated yet impactful style.
When to Wear
- Shawl lapels are perfect for black-tie events, seamlessly pairing with a bow-tie for a timeless and elegant ensemble.
- A sophisticated choice for the most formal events, including galas and award ceremonies.
To Wind Up
The world of lapels unveils a spectrum of choices, each with its unique charm. Whether you lean towards the classic notch, the bold peak, or the refined shawl, understanding their nuances is key. One noteworthy aspect is the flexibility to adjust the size of each lapel style, allowing you to tailor your choice to match your body shape.
So, as you embark on your style journey, let your lapel be the subtle yet impactful expression of your individuality, ensuring that every suit you wear tells a story that resonates with your persona. For a personalized touch, visit President Tailors, where you can customize your suit that reflects your distinctive style.