Suit Lapels: How to choose the perfect lapel

Choosing a suit lapel is often a luxury few understand or take advantage of. One of the benefits of investing in a bespoke tailored suit is that you get to decide on the details – you are able to pinpoint exactly what you like, right down to the facing of the buttons and the fabric of the chord on the out seam. One important aspect of your dream suit you should consider before booking an appointment with your bespoke tailor is the notion of notch vs peak – i.e. what kind of suit lapel you prefer.


The Notch Lapel & How To Wear It

The notched lapel is characterized by a visible notch that is the result of the angle cut in the lapel and that at the collar of the gorge. The effect is less arresting than that of a peaked lapel, which makes it suitable for business suits and casual jackets that can be worn comfortably in a variety of environments without making any untoward visual statements. The notch lapel was first introduced in the 1980s and has since remained popular as the suit lapel of choice for office suits and goes particularly well with business casual attire, especially if the gentlemen in question prefers to forgo a tie in favor of an open shirt. The width of the notch lapel varies with the seasons and grow wider and narrower according to fashions (which in turn if often inspired by movies and television shows of the day – e.g. James Bond and Suits).

Where to wear a notched lapel?

This version of suit lapels are deemed more casual than their peaked collar counterparts, and as such are suitable to be worn to the office and formal affairs like weddings, but not black- or white-tie events.

The Peak Lapel & How To Wear It

The peak lapel is characterized by an extension beyond the collar of the jacket towards the gorge where the lapel and the collar meet on the portion of the garment that would rest on the upper breast of the wearer. The peaked lapel made its first foray onto the fashion frontier in the 1700s – first as a practical application that allowed gentlemen to keep their exposed necks safe from undue exposure to the sun or the wind, and later as a stylized design element that enjoyed particular favor in the 1920s and 30s and remains popular to this day. It is most often seen on double-breasted blazers, where its form allows for a natural line extension that creates the impression of broader shoulders. As such, the peak lapel is particularly popular among men of a slighter stature, who wish to create more volume in the upper regions of their suits.

Traditionally, the peaked lapel is considered to be more trendy and casual than the notch lapel. When you choose a peaked lapel for your bespoke suit, your tailor will also have to determine what kind of collar width and length you prefer, as well as your preferences regarding the angle and placement of the notch along the lapel itself. All of these factors combine to create a unique silhouette that accentuates various aspects of the wearer’s physique, so feel free to discuss it with your tailor at length.

Where to wear a peaked lapel?

The peaked suit lapels are for tuxedos and suits that are popular for formal events like black tie parties, proms and weddings.

SIDE NOTE: Another popular lapel option is the shawl lapel. It is more formal than the peaked lapel and far more so than the notched – as such it is a popular choice for black tie events and red carpet occasions. The shawl lapel is characterized by a rounded edge without any notches along its length, i.e. a continuous curve without any breaks in the line. It is suitable for most body types, although gentlemen with rounder faces have reported that it accentuates the less flattering aspects thereof.

Which lapel type to you prefer? Get in touch in the comment section to share your style wisdom – we’d love to know whether the peaked or notched lapel comes out tops among our discerning readership. Also, let us know why you prefer the lapel type in question – is it simply a matter of style or do you believe that a certain shape suits your body better?

Now that you know more about the difference between notch and peak lapels you are well on your way to getting the details of your dream suit down pat. Would you like to know more about bespoke tailoring experiences in Dubai? Keep an eye on the Bespoke blog for more insight into the fascinating world of bespoke tailoring and up-to-the-minute news about global gentlemen’s fashion. We have a panel of suiting experts standing by to keep you in the know.

To be a part of this unique clothing experience. Book a fitting with one of our tailors today.