When purchasing a bespoke suit, besides the jacket lapels, there are many discussions to be had. My personal method tends to work in the following order:

  1. Discuss the needs of the client
  2. Discuss the desired style
  3. Start from the collar, finish at the ankles.
  4. Take measurements
  5. Assess the unique body pattern

The Jacket Lapels

We could probably break this up into 3 or 4 blogs explaining in really hard detail what each lapel type is intended for, but it’s just probably best to say that I take an “each to their own” approach to this topic, however, I will provide the correct advice in the face to face meetings.4583.WB130

There are 3 main lapel styles. Notched, peaked and shawl. Variations on each type are available and widths can be discussed, but it’s fair to say that these are going to have a massive effect on the outcome of your creations. Some things simply go hand in hand, for example, most double breasted jackets will have a peaked lapel, most tuxedos will have a shawl collar, and most business suits will sport a notch. This is by no means the be-all-and-end-all of lapel advice, but it is inmportant to remember the historical origins of each type of lapel and why they still impact on todays society.

Peak Lapel

UntitledOriginating in the 16th century, the peak lapel was found mostly on double breast style garments. Deriving from Military outfits, where the collar was stood on end in colder climates to cover the wearers neck, it became a very stylish addition to a single breasted jacket in the 1920’s and 30’s. Still a very popular option on a tuxedo to this day, it’s associated more closely with formal wear and can be found on many a wedding suit.

Notch Lapel

Details 4By far the most common lapel type available. A suit to suit the majority of occasions. Notched lapels are a classic addition to any wardrobe and is mostly found on single breasted jackets. My tip here is that if you only own one suit in your life, make it a notched lapel of standard width. You cannot go wrong. My preference is 3″, but depending on your proportions, that may be different for you. Modern trends lie towards a slim cut, notch lapel.

Shawl collar

Now I’ve seen this done in many terrible ways, but it’s the favourite for a tuxedo. I’d always recommend that it be worn with a bow tie, as I feel that it completes the look, but again “each to their own”. Here’s a nice example modelled by Ryan Gosling.

GoslingPopular in the gentleman’s clubs and smoking clubs in the past, this style is a little more debonair than the others and alludes to more of a sophisticated character. Think James Bond, dinner parties, evening wear et all…

In Summary

I’ll want to know what your intended use of the suit is. Once I know that, we can discuss your options properly, but in the modern day, we’re seeing more and more people trying a shawl lapel on a cloth less suited to it, just to be different and just for style. It’s important to know that, once your garment is cut, the lapel is one of the items that cannot be changed through adjustments. If you don’t like what you’ve chosen, it could end up costing you a new jacket to replace.

Why not book an appointment today to discuss creating your own bespoke garments. Each conversation leads to completely different creations.


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