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A notched lapel (aka step lapel/collar) is the standard on single breasted suits, and is seen on almost all suit and sports jackets. It's simple design allows it to seamlessly transfer from business to social occasions. The size of the notch can vary depending on the fashion of the day. A small notch is often called a 'fishmouth'. Classification: Business, Business Casual.

The most classic and versatile of all the suit lapels.

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Personal Overview

Basics: Lapels for name

The width of lapels reflects the fashion of the day. Classic width lapels have their widest point midway between the fold of the lapel and the seam where the jacket front meets the sleeve. Lapel and tie width should be in sync with one another. To check this, turn your tie upwards; its widest part should be the same width as the widest part of your lapel.


General Overview

Basics: Lapels

In suits as in legislation, man does not proceed by chance,
he is always guided by the mysterious acts of his mind.
In every form of dress, the Architectural Idea is ever-present.
The body and the suit represent the place and the material on which,
and with which - one must construct
the splendid edifice of the entire personality.
Thomas Carlyle

Suits are like a modern costume of armor. Adorned in a suit, a man can feel handsome and confident. In the attractiveness stakes, women find a man in a suit second only to a man in uniform.

Regardless of your line of work you need at least one good suit that you can count on. The right suit can give you an advantage at a job interview, impress someone special, celebrate a friend's wedding or to pay your respects at a funeral.

If you are a professional you'll need several suits of a quality which reflect both your current professional status and hint at your ability to move to even higher positions . A power suit was once described by Shapiro (president of Syd Jerome, a specialty men's clothier in Chicago) as "More than most of us can afford, but something to aspire to. It's well-tailored, stylish in a timeless sense".

Whatever your lifestyle a suit is an expensive item that requires careful consideration. Your budget, physique and the context in which you'll wear the suit all need to play a part in the selection process. Quality is paramount, and a suit under $400 is rarely a great buy.

A suit comprises many parts and requires considerable time to manufacture. Inexpensive suits are made using shortcuts, either in the quality of fabric or in the manufacturing process. A cheap suit usually looks good only for a short time. Within a few months, or several dry-cleanings, it will look tired and shabby. As with almost everything in life, you get what you pay for'. For a suit that will last you five to eight years, expect to pay between $699 and $1,200. Pay between $1,000 and $1850, and you'll delight in the quality of the fabric and its comfort.

The ‘silhouette' is the term used by the clothing industry to describe the cut or shape of a suit. Women have long realized that the shape of a garment sets the tone of its appearance; men have recently realized that they too can choose styles that will assist them in accomplishing certain goals.

Over the last 100 years, fashion influences have had only a minor affect on the suit's basic silhouette. Lapel widths have changed, buttons have varied in number and placement, and jacket lengths have been seen to wander as low as 4 inches below the seat. However, the overall appearance of the suit has always remained true to three basic silhouettes: Fitted, Semi fitted and Straight. Each silhouette can be found in single and double-breasted versions.

Single Versus Double Breasted Suits

Many suits are available in single or double-breasted versions. Each style can have numerous button arrangements causing the jacket to open high or low.

While single and double-breasted varieties are always available, the single-breasted suit has reigned supreme for the last 20 years.

Single-breasted suits are deemed suitable for all but the most formal occasions and they have three strong points in their favour over double-breasted; they are easier to wear and move in, they are cooler due to the lack of the extra layers of fabric in the front, and they give the wearer a friendly yet professional presence.

Double-breasted suits are the strong men in the power stakes. A man in a dark, well-fitted double-breasted suit is made to feel strong by his very reflection. His appearance commands attention and respect from those he encounters, making this suit perfect for corporate high flyers, and those who work in finance or law. Double-breasted suits should not be left unbuttoned when standing. Unbutton the suit when seated and re-button immediately on standing. If you think you'll be bothered by the extra work, then this suit is not for you.

A common myth is that double-breasted suits should not be worn by men who are overweight or short of stature. This is incorrect, a double breasted suit can look great on any man provided it fits well, the jacket length is perfectly balanced with his vertical proportions, the jacket has a flattering button combination, the fabric is non bulky and, if a pattern is present it is subtle.


A suit is a uniform;
when it is of good quality and well fitted
it signals confidence and power both in business and social situations