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Understanding the Different Lapel Options for Tuxedos


While searching for an outfit for an upcoming event, you come across the perfect royal blue dinner jacket. However, you notice that each jacket has different lapels, and you begin to wonder what tuxedo lapels are and which type best suits your occasion. Jacket lapels are the two fabric flaps folded back on themselves that are below the collar of the outfit. They come in three main variations: notched, peaked, and shawled. Here is an overview of how they differ from one another, as well as what events they’re typically worn at.

The Notched Lapel

Notched lapels get their name from the defining V-shaped indentation between them and the collar of the jacket. As a result, it does not exhibit the same point that other lapels have. Tailors use them to create a step shape by sewing them to the collar of the suit at an angle. However, understand that the width of the lapel ought to match the size of the notches, or else it will look noticeably disproportionate. 

Many professional stylists consider this variation of jacket lapel in the fashion industry as the traditional option for men’s jackets. The classic look of a notched lapel is a reliable choice for many occasions, such as in business suits and infrequently worn sports jackets. Additionally, notch lapels are a fitting choice if you want to wear slim-fit or single-breast suits. If you’re searching for an easy-to-wear type of lapel for casual events, then notched lapels should be your go-to option.

The Peaked Lapel

A peaked lapel forms a peak by extending sideways, bringing attention to the shoulders' width in the process. Additionally, they come to a point at the lapel’s edge, narrowing the wearer’s waist. Before purchasing a suit with a peaked lapel, check to ensure that its shape is angled correctly; incorrect proportions appear unusual, and it can be challenging for tailors to adjust it. 

Peak lapels make for excellent tuxedo lapels, as many consider them to be the most formal style. They look great on a dinner jacket, in addition to fancy tailcoats. Many take advantage of the formality brought about by the peaked lapel by incorporating them into their outfits for formal occasions, such as business meetings and weddings.

The Shawl Lapel

Lastly, there’s the shawl lapel. You can tell that a jacket lapel is a shawl if it has a curved shape, rather than a notch or point like the other types. Shawl lapels originated from Victorian smoking jackets, as the continuous round edges extending from the buttonhole up to their collar were designed to shield the owner from ash and smoke. Now, it’s used as a lavish tuxedo lapel choice. Unlike the other two varieties, these outfits generally have satin lapels, as this type is typically made from a different material than the collar. Some shawl lapels are also colored differently than the outfit they’re sewn to, such as in black and white.

Shawl tuxedo lapels have far more functionality than the smoking sessions they were once designed for in the past. Because they’re considered lavish, shawl lapels are perfect for social gatherings at dinner parties, weddings, and other high-end events that require both a social and a formal visage. 

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