Suits 101 : What Suit Lapel Style Should I Choose?
Lapels are a distinctive part of every man’s suit so it’s a shame that many men gloss over them when they go suit shopping. In case you’re not sure what suit lapels are, they are the folded flaps of cloth on the front of your jacket that stretch from the top button up to the collar.
The right lapel makes a big style statement for your suit so its worth the time making sure you know what you want. To help with making a decision, we’ve put together this guide to cover
- The Notched Lapel
- The Peaked Lapel
- The Shawl Lapel
- Lapel Width
The Notched Lapel
By far the most popular choice, the notched lapel is what you see on 9/10 suits. There’s a good reason for that too. Notched lapels, sometimes called the step lapel, are great for an everyday work suit. The symmetrical design works just as well in the office as it does on casual weekends.
Notched lapels usually get overlooked for black tie events, with most men preferring peaked or shawl lapels. That however is slowly changing with more black tie suits starting to feature notched lapels. If you’re looking for a great all rounder suitable for a variety of occasions, you can’t go past a notched lapel.
The Peaked Lapel
A bit of a twist on the standard notched styles, the peaked lapel is easily recognisable by its wing tip design. The style, reminiscent of 60′s and 70′s suits, is coming back strongly in both corporate and formal wear.
Peaked lapels offer a nice style difference for men who love suits and want something a little special/unique. This lapel does well with tuxedos for black tie events but they’ve also been modified into a slimmer versions for stylish modern jackets.
If you’re not afraid to break the mould give peaked lapels a go. Even a small style change like a peaked lapel brings welcome variety to a man’s wardrobe.
The Shawl Lapel
The shawl lapel is, and always will be, synonymous with the classic tuxedo suit. Matched with a black bow tie and crisp white shirt, the shawl lapel tuxedo resonates a timeless class. Shawl lapels are usually made from satin to give it a shiny finish and an extra touch of luxury.
Unfortunately, this lapel does come off as looking overstated when worn as an everyday office suit. Having said that, what it lacks in versatility it makes up for in being an extremely stylish choice at formal events (awards nights, black tie events etc).
Once you’ve decided on a lapel style don’t forget about the width. Sure it seems like an unnecessary detail but this simple decision makes a bit difference to how your suit turns out.
Most modern day lapel styles come in a slimmer width which works really well with a fitted suit. Having said that, wide lapels are making a bit of a comeback, drawing inspiration from the bold suit styles of the 80′s and 90′s.
Be careful not to go to extremes when it comes to your lapel width. Too slim a lapel can come off as overly casual while an excessively wide lapel can be distracting and untidy. The general yardsticks are to stay within 2.5 inches to 3.25 inches for your lapel width.
Have a favourite Suit lapel style? Have any style tips when it comes to choosing a suit lapel? Join the conversation below!