The Lapel Style Guide

The Lapel Style Guide

Confused about the how’s and why’s of Lapel’s? Read on to know about what is a lapel, its types and some cool tips on accessorizing it.

What is a Lapel?

Imagine a suit or blazer. If you have the image on your mind right now, go to the front section of the jacket, I am talking the area around the neck. The section that extends below the collar is called the lapel. In fact the collar too is a part of it. These are not “extended collars” or “collar wings” or whatever other dumb term is out there to describe it. These folded flaps on your jacket or coat or blazer are lapels.

What are the types of lapels?

There are three main types of lapels:

  1. Notched Lapel
  2. Peaked Lapel and
  3. Shawl Lapel.

What is a Notched Lapel?

Also called as the step lapel, a notched lapel is sewn to the collar to create a step effect, i.e. it is sewn at an angle. A little bit of trivia: Did you know this was actually the first lapel ever to be created? cool, right?

What is a Peaked Lapel?

The peak lapel has a V cut or a tick cut to be precise. This is then sewn to the collar.

What is a Shawl Lapel?

The shawl lapel does not differ from the collar, it is a perpetual curve. It is not sewn in. The shawl collar continues to the shawl lapel.

What is the difference between Notched Lapel / Peaked Lapel and / Shawl Lapel?

Apart from the obvious difference in shape, the notched Lapel, peaked Lapel and shawl Lapel differ in:

  • Notch lapels are usually designed for single breasted suits, jackets and sport coats
  • Peak lapels are used for double breasted suits and jackets. So popular are they with the DB’s that they are also called the ‘Double Breasted Lapel’
  • Shawl lapels are more popular style for tuxedo’s and dinner jackets
  • Another difference is that the notch lapel is more preferred in a casual or semi-formal setting, whereas peak lapels are the go to design for a formal occasion. The shawl lapel on the other hand is appropriate for a more fancy or informal setting.

What is the purpose of a Lapel?

Apart from looking absolutely fly the lapel is designed with a buttonhole. This is usually found on the left lapel of the jacket or blazer. Some designers like to keep one on each side for harmony of the design, you know symmetry, creative indulgence, something like that. Now these buttonholes are meant for lapel pins or boutonnière.

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