Lapels originate from the 18th century when men wore collars that stood up and would be turned down during warm spells. Over time the turned-down collar became more fashionable and the lapel was born. Lapels are an important part of a jacket and help define its style. Here we look at the three basic styles of the lapel and what they bring to the garment. 1. Notched Lapel
Notched lapels are the most common lapels seen in men’s suits. They add a classic formal look to your jacket and are common in business and casual attire. Notched lapels are versatile and will match any style of coat and all body types. Notched lapels are so-called because of the notched collar which meets the jacket at a 75 to 90-degree angle. Custom-tailored suits may create variations by changing the size of the notch and some gents prefer wide lapels which offer greater options for creative designs.
Peaked lapels point in the direction of the shoulders. Traditionally seen in formal outfits such as tailcoats or morning coats, these days they’re also seen as part of business attire. Peaked lapels are an elegant statement and will ensure you stand out from the crowd but are common enough that you won’t look out of place or overdressed.
Shawl lapels are completely different animal with no pointed notches. They have softer, rounded edges and are generally quite thin. The shawl lapel is only for formal wear and should not be worn for any other occasion. They are often made of a different fabric than the rest of the suit such as the silk shawl lapel on a tuxedo. Shawl lapels can also work on a double-breasted suit but should never be used as part of a casual style.
Choosing the right lapel is crucial as it’s a prominent feature of the jacket. If you’re having your suit bespoke made, you should discuss the options with your tailor. Often, slimmer lapels suit a slim body and wider lapels fit the larger gent. Depending on your size and body shape, as well as the intended use of the suit, your tailor will be able to advise on the best choice of lapel.
At Louis Collections in Bangkok, we specialize in custom-tailored, bespoke suits for the discerning gent. If you’re in town feel free to pop in and have a chat about our tailoring services and how we can help you get kitted out for any occasion. And if you’re abroad, don’t worry you can still place an order and have a bespoke made suit delivered to your door using the online measuring guide and ordering system on our website.