Peak lapels on a single breasted jacket
I got my first real suit when I was 17. Knowing nothing about the details and intricacies aside from a few issues of GQ, I ended up with a dark charcoal, single-breasted, peak lapel suit. Of course, I was swimming in low-thread count wool and seeing it a few weeks ago at home (hanging among other old clothes that haven’t found their way to the donation bin, natch) I noticed a few things. It was too textured—looking like someone took some 100 grit sandpaper to it.
But looking it over brought a couple questions to my mind. Do peak lapels belong on single breasted jackets? Aside from any situation involving a tux, I’m inclined to say no.
While the argument for some is peak lapels can visually broaden the wearer’s shoulders and chest, drawing attention up towards his face—rather than down to his gut, perhaps.
I understand the logic. But I don’t think “just add peaks” is the answer. What gets lost in this equation is lapel width. If those peaks are comparably sized to your other notch lapels in size, I don’t think they’ll have the same effect. A slightly widened notch likely would, without a peak in sight.
Aside from from the visual element, the connotation of the peak lapel is, to me, authoritative and formal. Situations that involve peak lapels are of the utmost importance. They’re influential and potentially life-changing. In those situations, you’ll want your attention driven up towards the wearer’s face as your conversation is probably about something important: money, power and/or international intrigue. For every other situation, though, there’s the notch.
However, there are always exceptions. Up above I’ve collected a few photos from Styleforum’s WAYRN thread, assorted street style and Tumblr photos to show how it looks on certain guys. With smart choices in proportion or detail—notice the pervasiveness of the one-button jackets—it can look rakish. George Cortina pulls it off casually with gusto.
Not for me though. Aside from the double-breasted jacket or the once-every-five-years tux, you won’t be seeing me in peak lapels any time soon. Unless you see my senior year homecoming photos, that is.