What Lapel Should I Choose?

A Guide to Lapel Styles 






A Mark of Tradition

The lapel is the most distinctive detail of a suit. It can define the nature of the garment, from the most formal to the most informal. You can adjust the style of lapel to fit your character and personality or appropriate look for a business event. While there are only 3 uniquely different styles for the lapel, each one carries it’s own flair. In this post, we’ll go through the different kinds of lapels, their features, and when it is best to select them for your custom suit or jacket. 

Origin of Lapels 


When making a custom suit or custom jacket, you’ll have control over many details. One of which is the style of lapel, and is perhaps the most important aspect that will be considered. The lapel originated in the mid-17th century in an era known as the Regency period, at the brink of modern formal fashion. Originally, the lapel — which more accurately describes the flap or skirt of the fabric — was used to close at the neck, fastened by a button.

However, as the centuries passed, it became less functional and more fashionable to have the neck unbuttoned. Overtime, the collar would become more pronounced and soon different more intentional designs were made to go in place of the lapel. New styles at the time would feature exaggerated renditions like the turn-down collar that had long lapels folding down past the waist. Other options carried long rows of buttons down the front — most of which were non-functional. In today’s custom suits, the button placement has been drastically reduced and the shape of lapels followed this form, hence the V shape that is now apparent in all modern suits and jackets. It is at this point when the notch and peaked lapels would be created to accommodate the rapidly evolving tailcoat.



Difference in Style


After the emergence of the double-breasted coat, the lapel’s role as a purely non-functional, aesthetic detail was cemented. From here on, variations would only occur in the height or angle of the lapel rather than the actual style itself. As a result, the major three lapel styles were formally recognized and adopted around the world. These are the notched lapel, peaked lapel and shawl lapel. 



The Notched Lapel 

Certainly the most traditional of all lapel styles, the notched lapel is as close to the original collar for the tail coat as possible. The functional style is of course reduced, but the shape and how it can be folded up to fit around the neck is a keen representation of the more traditional styles of dress. This is why it remains the most popular version and widely accepted as the most appropriate choice for all occasions. This lapel is signified by the right angle associated with it’s cutaway. The “notch” typically rests right where the collar bone should be, but can be altered depending on client preferences. The notched lapel may carry sharper angled notches or even rounded corners as well.   



The Peaked Lapel

This lapel is categorized for it’s sharp, aggressive, pointed style. As opposed to the notched lapel, where the fabric is cutaway to make a right angle, the fabric is instead elongated to point outwards. It’s a detail that emerged with the double-breasted coat and is a standard for all double breasted suits still today. It carries a confident flair indicative of high fashion and offers a visual symmetry that connects the taper of the coat with the neck line. While it looks great with a tuxedo, we have also found it to be very appealing in more informal styles such as featuring it on a sport coat with patch pockets. 



The Shawl Lapel

As opposed to the traditional notch or peak lapel, the Shawl lapel discards with the angular cuts altogether. Instead the design features a smooth tapered lapel that rolls over the neck with an elegant drape. This is one of the relatively newer styles to reach the market and it is by far the most unique and perhaps even more formal than the peak lapel. It is excellent using a satin trim as with a tuxedo. The shawl lapel is both a mature but unmistakably bold choice for your jacket. 



Custom Made For You.


When making a custom suit in Houston with Festari for Men, the details are only limited by what you can imagine. We offer a sublime tailoring experience that features a wide range of customizable options and measurements to ensure that every aspect of the garment satisfies your end goal. From the quality and pattern of fabric to the lapels, the lining, buttons and even monogramming, this is a one of a kind service, made by hand, just for you. If you’re looking to set an appointment with one of our clothiers, simply contact us at 713-626-1234 or fill out the appointment form above.