What is the difference between the various types of jacket lapels, such as peak, notch and shawl?
The notch lapel is the most popular and most commonly used lapel for the jacket and is well-accepted for business wear. A notch lapel is seen on most single-breasted suits and has a triangular piece cut out where the lapel meets the collar. The size of the lapel varies according to fashion—currently it is narrow, but not too thin.
The peak is an exaggerated style, which is more of an American trend and was popularized by the film industry. That’s because it depicts power and exaggerates the length of the body, making the wearer look larger than life. It is formed by an upward and outward pointing V-shape. Today, the peak lapel is still worn with two-button business suits and it looks great on pinstripes.
A shawl lapel is normally relegated to formal and black-tie events. It is a rounded, smooth lapel with no cuts or notches. For tuxedos, the shawl lapel is crafted from satin, to give additional formality.
All these styles suit most people and body types, but the size of the lapel should be proportionate to the span of the chest. Narrow lapels are suitable for slim people.
Over the years, the width of lapels has continuously changed and it portrays how men have changed and evolved. The 1980s was a time of great machismo and the broad lapels of the time reflected it. Today, lapels are tempered and slimmer, reflecting the evolution.
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