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A SIMPLE GUIDE TO SUIT JACKET LAPELS
FIND OUT WHAT YOUR SUIT JACKET LAPEL SAYS ABOUT YOU AND WHICH ONE YOU SHOULD BE WEARING
A few months back I stumbled upon an article about the correlation between how dress affects your status. Years ago this would have been the case when Wall Street was at its highest and men would ‘power dress’ in an attempt to show their wealth. They would wear double breasted pinstripe suits with large shoulder pads and wide lapels. Maybe this was an ego boost none the less. But your choice of dressing doesn’t always reflect this historic observation. In the modern day styles of dress are increasingly becoming more accessible through high street and online retailer. When it comes to suiting, your lapels play a big part in what you want to say and the occasion you are dressing for. Firstly, there are three kinds of lapels; Notched, Peaked and Shawl, and each work differently in their own right.
The most common and popular style of lapel is the notched (or stepped), where the collar meets the lapel at a 70-60 degree angle. This is the most versatile of lapel as it looks great on most types of jackets, whether it’s for day or night, but mainly found on slim fitting single breasted jackets. As these jacket types tend to be slimmer in size, they do work better on those men who are slimmer in build.
A peaked lapel does exactly that... the lapel peaks up towards your shoulders. These are commonly found on double breasted jackets on wider lapels, and they can also be seen on pinstripe suits if not double breasted - again Wall Street inspired. So if you want something to broaden your shoulders and give you the illusion of extra height, choose something of this style and choose a wide fit tie to match it as this will complement the extra width of the lapels.
The dressiest lapel of all - a shawl lapel is simple and curved with no cut outs or joins. They are commonly found on tuxedos and are usually satin, making it the part of the jacket that mostly stands out. Usually you’ll see these with a bow tie and dress shirt for evening occasions. This style can suit most body shapes although those with a rounder face should avoid this lapel as this will accentuate this further - so best to alternatively choose something with sharper edges.
What your lapel choice says about you
There is a particular stigma attached to the fact that people choose a certain type of lapel dependent on what they want their outfit to say about themselves. For example, the wider the lapels the bigger the ego. But this isn’t necessarily true, factors such as build, general taste and fashion trends play a larger part if anything, so don’t be put off of wearing a certain lapel style.