Posted on by Miguel

Tuxedos often form the most integral part of a man’s formal wear. Though you do have certain styles, patterns, and colors in tuxedos that make them more suitable for semi-formal or even casual wear, they are primarily looked at as a formal outfit.

However, the lapels on a tuxedo are often as defining of its purpose as the tuxedo itself. In this post, we will learn everything about them.

What are the Lapels on a Tuxedo?

Lapels are simply the folded part of a fabric on a tuxedo located on its front, going down along the chest. While this might make them sound like just another style element of the tuxedo to those who don’t know much about them, but lapels are, in fact, the most defining feature of a tuxedo.

The lapels determine whether the tuxedo is going to be fit to be worn to formal events or not. They will also have a say in assessing its suitability for a specific event like, say, a black tie event.

The lapels are also going to be the most noticeable distinction between a traditional tuxedo and a modern tuxedo. Yes, the lapels are almost the tuxedo itself!

Types of Tuxedos – And What to Choose When?

Now that you understand the importance of the lapels on a tuxedo, let us discuss in detail the 3 main types of tuxedo lapels. And while we are at it, we will also go into how to choose them according to the event and your style preferences.

Notch Lapel

The notch lapel is the most versatile of the lot. It’s generally also the least formal of the 3 lapel types.

The notch lapel is the one that has an arrow-like shape at its edges, which is also its highlight. Notch lapel tuxedos have a more casual feel and appearance.

Tuxedos that have notch lapels are perfectly fit for semi-formal and even casual events, given you choose the right colors. And by the right colors we mean you simply need to avoid the standard traditional ones, such as black, charcoal grey, and navy.

Peak Lapel

The peak lapel has a distinctive shape that becomes its highlight too. But it’s very different from the notch lapel.

While the notch lapel has a smaller, arrow-like shape at its edges on the sides, peak lapels have a wider, half-triangular shape right at the top of the lapel pattern.

The lapels are smoothly straightened without featuring any curves or patterns. The large half-triangular shape is only at the top.

The smooth straight-line design and a wider triangular pattern at the top give this lapel a more formal look. It’s the lapel type that has been traditionally associated with your classic tuxedos.

If you’re looking to dress up in an elegant look at a formal event, a tuxedo with peak lapels will likely turn out to be your best bet. Go for the time-tested colors like black, grey, or navy blue and you will have a fail-safe look no matter the level of formality of the event.

Shawl Lapel

The shawl lapel is somewhere between the two types of tuxedo lapels we discussed above. Unlike the above two lapels, however, this one boasts a very different, sophisticated design.

Instead of straightened lines as the edges, it has curvy lines that are smooth and rounded. These curves go all the way up to meet the collar, forming a rounded design as they do so towards the top part of the lapel.

There are no arrow-like or triangular shapes like in the case of the notch lapel or the peak lapel. But that in no way means that it’s inferior in design or aesthetic than the other two lapels.

In fact, it’s the most popular type of lapel. Most tuxedos, even in today’s modern times, come with a shawl lapel. And that speaks volumes about the kind of fashion aesthetics it brings to the table.

But one important reason for its popularity are all the variations the shawl lapel comes in. There’s also the thick shawl lapel and the thin shawl lapel. But overall, the shawl lapel has managed to retain its reputation as the go-to lapel type for tuxedos, especially the more formal ones.

The thick shawl lapels do make themselves a little more accommodating for the less formal events, though. Pair them with the right color and they might even help you ace a casual event or a beach wedding!

Consider the Variations

Now that you’re an expert on tuxedo lapels after reading through this post, let us have our final word on the matter. While the shawl lapel is the most popular, don’t be shy to try out tuxedos with the other lapel types too, especially if you’re not purchasing your first tuxedo.

You also have quite a few variations these days for each of these three types of lapels. So don’t limit yourself to the standard, traditional versions. Try out some of their modern variations and see if you can find something that naturally aligns with your overall personality and style sense.