Your Guide to Selecting the Right Lapel

Home by TheSuitConcierge Admin Your Guide to Selecting the Right Lapel
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While there are a lot of elements such as the fabric, the colour and more that adds elegance to a suit, lapels are amongst the most important. These are essentially the backbone that defines the style and appearance of your jacket, suit or tux. Therefore, it is essential for any sartorial neophyte to familiarise himself with the types of lapels and the right width in order to carry off a suit with perfection.

To assist you in making the right choice, we at The Suit Concierge bring to you the perfect guide to lapels where we discuss the various types of lapels and the relevant width.

Types of Lapels :

It is important to understand the three main types of lapels and where each one of these are appropriately worn.

1. Classic Notch Lapel

A notch is a cut out or a step that forms a sideways ‘v’ where the collar meets the lapel. This is the most common type of lapel that is vastly versatile. Be it an everyday single-breasted work suit, a casual jacket, a blazer or a tuxedo, this type of lapel gels well with every style. It works with every body type as well as width. Besides, be it a casual date, business conference or a wedding, one can never go wrong with a notch lapel.

2. Formal Peak Lapel

Just like its name suggests, a peak lapel forms little triangular peaks with edges pointed upwards towards the shoulders. Unlike notch lapels, this is a more stylish as well as formal version that debuted in 16th century France when Louis XIV’s was king. These are mainly used in double-breasted suit, tailcoats and morning coats as they lend an air of sophistication to a general suit. However, more recently, the peak lapel has been used in businesswear, formalwear or in an everyday coat in order to stand out a little and make a statement. These lapels are the most difficult to make so they often cost a little more than the standard notch.

3. Dressy Shawl Lapel

Just like a shawl, these lapels fall effortlessly around your neck in a sweeping curve and have no cuts. They are made of a single piece of cloth that grows narrower towards the buttons. Due to the unique look, these are mainly featured on fancy dinner jackets worn at extravaganzas and wedding tuxedos. Another important thing to note is that the material and color of this lapel are usually different than that of the jacket. It is available in various widths and can easily be styled with the same colored bow or tie for the most chic look.

Choosing a lapel type that is suitable for the purpose and goes well with the style of the suit is almost as important as the fit itself. Nonetheless, one can never make the perfect selection without considering the width of the lapel.

Lapel Width

Picking the right lapel width that is in tune with one’s body type as well as lapel type is of much consequence. Here we’ve explored the three general width sizes and where each should be used.

1. Slim: A slim width is generally about 2 inch wide. It mainly goes well with notch lapels. Furthermore, it is advisable to select a lapel with this width if you are an individual with a slender build. This is necessary so that your lapel makes you look broader and doesn’t end up taking away the attention from your jacket.

2. Medium: A medium width is mainly about 3 inches. It is the most flexible and goes perfectly with notched as well as peaked lapels. Whether you are a heavy built or a slight built person, this width goes accommodates to almost all body types. In addition, it also adapts to all lapel types, be it notch, peak or shawl. Thereby, when in doubt, this is the most suitable width to go for.

3. Wide: Going to as wide as 3.5 inches, this width is popular in recent times thanks to the comeback of Italian suiting styles. If you are someone with a larger build, this width will compliment your body type, enhance your shoulders and give you the perfect V shaped torso. This width works especially well with notch and shawl type lapels but doesn’t look bad with a peak lapel either.

These pointers when followed correctly will help you find the best suit with the most quintessential lapel that adorns your body and your personality. Not just this, it also helps you decide on the right lapel type for the right occasion.

However, it is important to note that these are not the rule of thumb. You can get your lapel customised as per your preferences and individuality while keeping some of the above mentioned directives in mind.

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