There once was a time, a very long time ago, when all men’s coats fastened all the way up to the neck. This wasn’t ideal for warm weather or while indoors so the wearer would unbutton the top few buttons and fold the collar down. People started to realize, “hey maybe we don’t always have to make coats that button up to the neck.” Like many fashion statements we see today as purely style choices the suit/lapel style we know today was just a way for people to cool off.
The 3 Lapels you need to know
The notch lapel is your standard style move. Characterized by the < cuts near the shoulder of the collar, it is the more common and versatile collar. If you are only going to own only one suit I would recommend a notch lapel with mid size lapels (2.5 -3.5 in) in either navy or dark grey. This will keep you stylish and get you through every event from job interviews to weddings.
The peak lapel is usually characterized as a more formal cut. It is more difficult to cut than a notch lapel and is characterized by the way the lapels come to a point or “peak”. Pretty much standard on double breasted and tuxedo jackets due to its formality, the peak lapel definitely makes a statement when you walk in a room.
The shawl collar is, in my opinion, the most fun collar of them all. Characterized by its smooth rounded collar, the shawl collar is usually reserved for more formal occasions. This is most likely because back in the day it was the cut of choice for private gentlemen’s clubs and formal eveningwear. In recent years the shawl collar has started to move away from its formal setting and be seen more in everyday suiting, styles, and fabrics.
Check out the collars here as we break it down: