Lapel type is a matter of preference. Some men appreciate the established quietness of a notch lapel, while others seek to separate themselves from their peers with the more striking peak lapel. The larger peak lapel is even more bold; 10, perhaps even 11 cms wide makes a statement. It suggests the wearer isn’t concerned with being safe or cornered off into sartorial anonymity. It is a bold and rakish choice.
From the muted elegance of mid 20th-century British PM Sir Anthony Eden to the near-chest covering lapels favored by Savile Row revolutionaries, Tommy Nutter and Edward Sexton, the large peak lapel announces its wearer. Stateside, 40 years before Leonardo DiCaprio claimed the role of Jay Gatsby, it was Robert Redford’s portrayal, complete with double-breasted waistcoats and colossal lapels, that gave Mr. Gatsby an air of charming, confidence, much of it the vision of Ralph Lauren. Tom Ford has often stated that he is influenced by his youth in the 1970s. This is evidenced by his penchant for large, more aggressive peak lapels.
The shape, the lapel swept up to the shoulder, isn’t about conforming. The lapel is dressier than its notched brethren. There is a more elegant appeal about the shape. Perhaps because it’s precisely not for those concerned with fitting in. It is even a little rebellious. Modern-day men of style have sworn by it. Matteo Marzotto and Lapo Elkann, two very stylish men on opposite ends of the boundaries, are often spotted in peak lapel jackets.
Source: Getty Images Europe
Marzotto is more subdued in his underpinnings, yet the lapel still adds an edge to the fit. It doesn’t imply all business, though as former chairman of Valentino it was necessary for him to look the part. Elkann is decidedly more bold, as seen in this feature in The Rake.
Source: The Rake
My friend, Tim Derstein, and I had a similar conversation while discussing jacket shape and proportions. His linen Suit Supply jacket is a great example of peak lapel done right.
Jacket by Suit Supply, Tie by Charvet, Sunglasses by Tom Ford
That’s right, linen in October. We’re in Miami and it’s still 85 degrees here.The jaunty touch of the peak lapel suits this unlined jacket. It’s a good example of a jacket that’s less restrained, especially for those who think a jacket is too stuffy.
While it may not be for everyone, or every occasion, there’s a place in a wardrobe for the bigger peak lapel.