Lapel types on jackets can vary over time. The fashion gods may deem a particular lapel style to be in fashion from time to time, but remember that all three types of lapels are timeless choices and can be added to any wardrobe. The trick is knowing when to add a lapel type and for which garment when building your wardrobe.
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A LAPEL:
Lapels are the folded flaps of fabric on the front of a jacket by the upper torso region.
Lapels are most commonly found on men’s formal garments such as tuxedos, suits, and dinner jackets. Lapels can have options such as a buttonhole on the left-hand side, which is intended for men’s accessories such as a lapel blossom.
Lapels come in three different forms, peak, notch, and shawl.
WHAT ARE THE THREE MOST COMMON TYPES OF LAPELS?
A Peak Lapel has a pointed or rounded tip at the top of the lapel. It is considered by most professional stylists in the menswear industry to be a fashion-forward choice.
A Notch Lapel does not have a point like a peak lapel. Instead, it has a notch at the top. It is considered by most professional stylists in the menswear industry to be a traditional choice.
Shawl Lapel does not have a point or notch but has a curved shape to the lapel.
When choosing a new suit, sport jacket, tuxedo or dinner jacket, the lapel type, and width should be something to consider. Here are some tips that might help you make a good choice.
WHAT GARMENTS TO PAIR WITH EACH LAPEL OPTION
When building your suit wardrobe, the choice of your lapel depends on what you do. For example, if you are a white collared business professional such as an attorney, private banker or financial services professional that wears suits every day for work, then we recommend building a two-week rotation of suits. Out of those ten suits, we recommend that the lion share of them be in the more traditional notch lapel style.
We also recommend that you consider sprinkling in one or two peak lapel suits in the mix for a slightly more fashionable choice when the occasion calls for you to wear something a bit more “avant-garde.
When building your sport jacket collection, the lapel choice depends on how many and how often you wear your sport jacket. For example, if you are the same white-collared business professional as described above and only wear them occasionally since you are wearing more suits on a day to day basis. We would recommend your selections to be in the traditional notch lapel model.
If you wear sport jackets more frequently for work than suits, then we recommend a mix of the traditional and peak lapel models. The mix, however, would be about 75/25 meaning 75% notch and 25% peak.
This one is a simple recommendation as we are sartorialists and traditionalists when advising our clients on how to build their formal wear wardrobe. We strongly recommend that your tuxedo should be in a peak lapel as tradition and the formal wear style God’s dictate this to be the very best choice.
This one is also a simple choice. There are two choices that we recommend if you are adding a dinner jacket to your formalwear wardrobe.
A dinner jacket can be in a peak or shawl lapel. A peak lapel dinner jacket tends to be considered the most formal, whereas the shawl lapel rends to be considered more social and less formal.
If budget allows you to have two dinner jackets in your formal wardrobe, then we recommend a dinner jacket with each lapel type. If budget allows only one dinner jacket than we recommend it to be a peak lapel.
Weddings & Formal Events
If your event is your wedding, you are attending a black-tie wedding, a fundraiser, or something business-related where you are wearing a dinner jacket; a peak lapel would be a great selection.
If your event is more casual and leisurely such as a cruise, headed to Vegas with the boys, or a New Year’s Eve celebration, a shawl lapel would be a great selection.
WHAT LAPEL WIDTH SHOULD I CHOOSE?
Selecting the best lapel width depends on the lapel type and some variables. These include your body type, personal style taste, and what kind of event you are attending.
Below would be a general guideline for selecting a lapel width based upon your jacket size.
< 40” chest – 2-3/4” width
40-42” chest – 3” width
43-45” chest – 3-1/4 width
> 46” chest – 3-1/2 width
Peak – subtract 1/4” from above
Shawl – subtract 1/2” from above