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Choose The Right Lapel & Collar For All Types of Tuxedos & Suits

man wearing oyster gray suit with striped baby blue tie with text reading our guide to suit lapels

Shawl lapels, peak lapels, notch lapels, there are all types of tuxedos and suits out there. Are you choosing the right suit lapel and suit collar? Find out here.

Matching Your Jacket/Suit Lapel and Suit Collar

So you saw you the latest Baz Luhrmann joint, read our post, and now all you can think of is decking out your closet with peak lapel suits like Jay Gatsby. But should you? What exactly is the difference between notch, peak and shawl lapels? What separates the three besides the obvious visual differences of one being notched, the other pointed and the other rounded? Does your build matter? Is it OK to wear a notch lapels at a traditionally “black tie” event? Have we peaked your interest yet? Shawl we get started then? (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)? Leave it to the guys who named their company after it to give you a little primer on the basics of the lapel.

What is a Suit Lapel?

First, let’s briefly touch on the major elements of a suit lapel:
close up of man wearing gray three piece suit with number callouts to the lapel in white

The Major Elements of a Suit Lapel

1. Lapel Type

Lapels can be categorized into three main types: Notch, Peak, and Shawl Lapels.

2. Lapel Width

The lapel width is measured at it’s widest point, measured perpendicular to the inner edge of the lapel. The three major types of lapel widths are:

Slim – (~2.25 – 2.75”)
Regular – (~3.00 – 3.50”)
Wide – (~3.75 – 4.50” )

3. Lapel Roll

The fall and curl of the lapel from the break of the collar to the first button.

(*All of our custom suits can be customized with wider suit lapels upon special request.)

3 Lapel Types of Suit Lapels You Should Know: Notch Lapels, Peak Lapels, and Shawl Lapels

Most suit lapels are either notch lapels or peak lapels. Fashion rules (black tie etiquette) dictate that you should never have a notch lapel on a tuxedo (dinner jacket).

The two basic types of tuxedos are distinguished by their lapels. Peak lapels, like you see on dressier and British style style suits are the standard and most common lapels on tuxedos, but some tuxedos have shawl lapels.

What to Consider When Choosing Your Suit Lapels

Setting / Occasion – Got an invite to a black tie gala with the partners of your firm? Or is it another average day wrestling with Excel in the cube? The setting and occasion will play a large part in determining the type of suit you wear and the type of the suit lapel that should grace it.

Type of Suit – Not all suit lapels work for all suits. For example, shawl lapels will go best with tuxedos and double breasted suits should almost always have a peak lapel.

Body Type – So you’ve got a Barney Stinson frame with a penchant for Harvey Specter-esque ultra-wide peak lapels? You may want to rethink that combo. Considering your body is an important factor in choosing the right suit lapel for you. For example, slimmer lapels will look more proportional to the physique of a slimmer gent and hence, be more flattering. It’s a game of proportions, so make sure your suit lapels are playing along.

What is a Notch Lapel?

man wearing light blue suit with white shirt and pink tie and the lapel of the suit highlighted in white with numbers

1. Notch Lapel

The “notch” is the opening where the bottom of the collar meets the top of the lapel, usually at a 75 – 90 degree angle. The notch lapel is the most common lapel for a reason – it’s the most versatile of the bunch. It is most often found in single-breasted suit jackets, blazers and sportcoats. If you only own one suit, this is the lapel type to go with. Also called the “stepped lapel”.

2. Slim Notch

A thinner version (smaller lapel width) of the normal notch. (Black Lapel’s Slim Notch lapels are 2.75 inches, roughly 0.25 to 0.5 inches thinner than our normal lapel.) Works best with a slim suit and flatters a slimmer body type.

Setting /Occasion (where to wear it): Every-day business suit, interview suit, can’t-go-wrong wardrobe staple, chick-magnet ensemble for the bar.

Body Type (who should wear it): All body types. And while not a black-and-white rule, slim notch lapels will tend to flatter and maintain the proportions of a slimmer frame. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Aziz Ansari and Neil Patrick Harris types, rejoice.

Type of Suit (what to wear it on): Ideal for single-breasted suits, blazers and sportcoatssports coats. Not recommended for double-breasted suits and tuxedos.

What is a Peak Lapel?

man wearing a dusky blue shit with purple striped tie with the lapel highlighted in white and numbered callouts

1. Standard

Peak lapels are traditionally the most formal of the suit lapels and were originally common in formal wear garments such as tailcoats and morning coats. These will tend to look a little more fashion-forward (especially if you decide to go the Lapo Elkann route). In actuality, peak lapels have been around for over 100 years. It is also the most expensive suit lapel to manufacture (requires the most amount of skill).

2. Slim

A slimmer version that are typically 2.75 inches wide, roughly 0.5 inches thinner than our normal lapel, which are approximately 3.25 inches wide.) Like the slim notch, works best with a slim suit and flatters a slimmer body type.

Setting /Occasion (where to wear it): Weddings, formal dinners, black tie events or simply whenever you want to dress up a bit while turning some heads. And the office? Yes, peak lapels are good to go here.

Body Type (who should wear it): For those looking for some added height, the points of this style can create an elongating effect by moving the eyes upwards towards the shoulders. The elongating effect also has a slimming effect, so larger gents might want to give this a try as well.

Type of Suit (what to wear it on): Double-breasted suit will almost always have peak lapels. They are also appropriate on single-breasted suits and you’ll often see these lapels on pinstriped fabrics.

What is a Shawl Lapel?

man wearing white tuxedo jacket and black bowtie with white numbered arrows pointing to the lapel

1. Shawl Lapel

Characterized by a rounded edge, the shawl lapel is most common on dinner jackets / tuxedos (for those nights you plan on taking down a couple of Oscars or upstaging the groomsmen at a friend’s wedding). Obviously, it’s safe to assume that the Shawl Lapel is the least common of the variety, and the most specialized type of Lapel out there (please don’t wear a Shawl Lapel to work).

2. Tuxedo

As aforementioned, you will most commonly find a Shawl Lapel on a dinner jacket/Tuxedo, although you will rarely see a shawl collar on anything other than a tuxedo (or smoking jacket), many style enthusiasts will argue that the shawl lapel can be more of an informal variation of evening wear.

Setting /Occasion (where to wear it): Black tie events, red carpet galas and weddings.

Body Type (who should wear it): Most body types. Not recommended if you have an extremely round face or body as the rounded lapel will accentuate those features by mimicking it. Instead, opt for a peak or notch lapel with more jagged lines instead.

Type of Suit (what to wear it on): Ideal for tuxedos.

Suit Lapel Level: Expert

So whether you need to dapper up at your own wedding, as the best man at your friend’s wedding or you’re simply trying to smarten up on how to achieve the best look for yourself, now you have the knowledge and confidence to dress a notch above the competition.

Got a question to ask us on lapels? Leave a comment below!

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227 thoughts on “Choose The Right Lapel & Collar For All Types of Tuxedos & Suits”

  1. Husni says:


    I want to get a bespoke woolen suit for my wedding in very cold winter morning! What do you recommend on a shawl collar DB jacket and a shawl collar DB overcoat? Also, please guide me on how wide should the DB shawl collar for suit jacket be? I want it to be classic and wide (would 5 in be okay?). I’m 5’11 and have a very athletic body (Wide shoulders and thin waist – 29in) and long legs. Also, my facial structure is diamond shape with sharp features.

  2. Rizal de Pan says:

    Hi to the blacklapel’s!
    I really enjoyed reading your thorough guides regarding suits.

    I will be a groom at the end of this year.
    Well, I am still confused what to choose whether peak or shawl lapel.

    We planned the wedding to be a little less strict with dress code. A traditional formality but don’t resembles the black tie.

    Just what an average engineer wants to give his bride the best elegant wedding but not exquisite.

    What would be the best set of suit or tuxedo for a 5’5″ slim man?

    I prefer black for the color.

    I really appreciate your help

  3. Hugo Paixão says:

    I’m going to prom and I have to buy my first suit. I am not going to wear a tuxedo because no one else is. But since prom is a fprmal event, should I buy a suit with shawl lapels? Do they even exist?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey Hugo, definitely don’t overdo it! Prom is formal, but not black-tie. A classic notch lapel is perfectly fine. Also, no, those don’t really exist 😉

  4. Shane says:


    My name is Shane. What are your thoughts on having a color different then the jacket for the contrasting labels? That I found on suitopia.

    Thanks in advance,


    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey Shane, we’re not big on contrasting suit lapels, that is, unless it’s a something like a blue tuxedo with black lapels. For day-to-day suits, we think that one color is the best look.

  5. Francis says:

    Hi! I’m 5’8″ and a bit on the heavy side (100kg). I really like the idea of a black tuxedo with a shawl lapel plus a sleek black tie, but I don’t want to draw attention to my midsection with a cummerbund. Can I wear a vest instead? Any other vertical-enhancing tips are much appreciated!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey there, Francis!

      First, you can wear a waistcoat instead of a cummerbund, yes. A waistcoat is slightly different than a typical vest and is the choice here since you are wearing a tuxedo which calls for the utmost formality (you can read about the differences here). That leads us into point #2 — We would first recommend that you rock a bow-tie instead of a normal black tie. Since you’re wearing a black tuxedo with a shawl lapel, you’re really escalating the formality game — formality a bow-tie can match much better.

      As to your second question on vertical-enhancing tips, there are several! We hate to point you to another article, but we also don’t hate that at all ;). In actuality, there’s just too much to post on a single comment, so brisking through this post will be much easier.

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  7. Paul says:

    Hi, I have a Black Tie wedding to attend just after Christmas, and am considering a shawl lapel, I was just wondering do you recommend a specific collar type for the shirt to go with a shawl lapel or are they all suitable? Cheers.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey Paul!

      The thing to keep in mind here is whether or not the collar is “tall” or long enough to lay neatly under the lapel. By historical standard, one should wear one of two types of collars with any tuxedo: classic (semi-spread) or wing-tip collar. In today’s modern setting, spread collars are also acceptable. Regardless of what you choose, the main thing is to make sure there is absolutely zero, zilch, no separation between the collar and the lapel. Lastly, if you need more information, a classic collar (semi-spread) tends to look better because it points downwards as opposed to outwards, helping achieve a more symmetrical look to the shape of the shawl.

      Hope this helps!

      1. Paul says:

        That’s great, much appreciated, cheers.

  8. Chris says:

    Could definitely use some help here. I’m getting married in March (evening wedding) and I’m leaning on wearing a tuxedo as the groom. However, I was considering wearing a “shawl” lapel tuxedo as the groom and my groomsmen to wear a “notch” lapel tuxedo. My goal was to differentiate myself from my groomsmen by wearing the shawl lapel hoping to be more formal, which I actually prefer the look over the notch lapel. However, after reading through this guide, “notch” might be very informal and not a good choice for my guys. Should I consider the “peak” lapel for my groomsmen and stick with the “shawl” lapel for myself? Is one more formal than the other? Looking to differentiate myself tuxedo wise and nail what I’m wearing for the big day. Thoughts?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey Chris!

      First of all, congratulations! I’m sure you’re looking forward to the big day. Secondly, your instincts are sound. Notch is a bit too informal for a wedding, whereas a peak lapel is typically more traditional for weddings. So, a peak lapel is perfect for the groomsmen. Now for the groom, wearing a shawl lapel tuxedo is fair game and a great idea! A groom dressed up in the modern shawl lapel tuxedo with groomsmen in traditional peak lapel tuxedos is a great way to differentiate yourself and nail it on the big day.

      If you need some more help, we here at Black Lapel love helping guys look great for the big day, it’s our bread and butter. Click here if you want to learn more about how we can help you out!

  9. Khalid says:

    I am new to this i have never weared a cat since childhood can you help me to buy a formal attire my taste is black and dark colors and i am 20 years old

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hi Khalid,

      I’m afraid we’re going to need some clarification, what we’ve picked up on is that you want to buy formal attire, and your taste is black/dark colors. So, the first step is that when you buy formal attire, buy those colors! As well with formal attire, make sure it fits (custom made is the best way to ensure this), and make sure you start with the essentials. Since you’re 20, you will probably want to start with the basics, like a navy suit (not as dark, but a staple), or charcoal gray suit. From there, you can start to explore more patterns/colors! Hope this helps!

  10. Thanks for finally writing about >Pick the Best Lapel for All Types of Tuxedos & Suits
    <Loved it!

  11. Ann says:

    I would like to know about the Napolitan style lapel.
    How many cm is made the lapel width?
    Waiting for your reply!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hello, Ann!

      Neapolitan Style Lapels are notorious for being extra wide, that is up to around 10.14cm (4 inches). If you want to compare that to the traditional lapels, you can read here!

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  13. Jimmy says:

    Shawl lapel jacket must wear with butterfly tie isn’t it? Can we wear a vest inside the shawl lapel jacket?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      If you’re talking about bow ties, you can wear a Diamond Point Bow Tie as well. You should wear just any vest under a Shaw Lapel Dinner Jacket. Dinner jackets should be worn with a more formal waistcoat.

  14. uday says:

    i want to know what is Shelton base or The O’Connor base or Windsor Base Tuxedo.. i ve seen these words mostly in Tom Ford’s Tuxedos. Kindly describe it.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Those are brand names they’re using for their different cuts. Every brand is different. For instance, since we offer custom suits made to your exact measurements, how you want your Black Lapel suit to fit and look is really up to you.

      For more on understanding clothing websites and what you can get, check out our article on What You Need to Know to Buy Suits Online.

  15. Andy says:

    I like the look of the notched lapel vest, and I like the slim notched jacket. However I don’t know if it would look too over the top to wear a regular lapel suit with a lapel vest or if they should be worn separately. If anyone has advice it would be greatly appreciated

    1. Black Lapel says:

      First off, we applaud your appreciation of the slim notched jacket, and if you refer to the article we made sure to point out that it’s perfect for your can’t-go-wrong everyday business attire.
      However, to segway into your question, we’d have to hold the applause on the vest lapel duo. Adding a lapel to the vest immediately skyrockets your look out of the casual atmosphere, and here at Black Lapel we are firm believers that vests are best worn lapel-free, like our charcoal grey vest.
      If you want a better idea of how we think they work best, we wrote an article on how to rock the vest the modern way.

  16. Andreas says:

    so, i am the type of guy who happily wears a sports jacket to School, and thos who know me know that i have a more “formal attire” in that sence. would it then be appropriate for me to have shawl lapels on a suit which is to be used for sub black tie (formal, buut not black tie formal) occasions? i think it looks quite good, and i want to have that more formal feeling without using a tuxedo.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Like a face tattoo, a shawl lapel suit is both extreme and permanent. Further, it will make your jacket look less formal not more. Remember, the shawl lapel is one of the signatures of the smoking jacket, a decidedly leisurely piece of clothing. So if anything, the shawl chills out a tux, rather than dressing up a suit. For a good breakdown of all the different dress codes check out Decode the Dress Code: Weddings Edition where we dig into what exactly each dress code means.

      There are still plenty of ways to step up the formality in your existing suits. Try these for starters:

      1. Wear a French cuff shirt and cufflinks. A little wrist bling always elevates the look
      2. Keep the shirts solid and white (not all white shirts are dressy, but patterned and non-white shirts almost always ratchet down the formality.
      3. Lace up. A loafer is for loafing around, a pair of derbies works, but Oxfords and whole cuts are the dressiest dress shoes. (Need a primer on what all those different kinds of shoes are? Check out our list of the Best Dress Shoes For Men.)

      Finally, our most important bit of advice, subscribe to The Compass. We’ll give you a weekly dose of intel on all things personal style and serve up loads of inspiration for outfits.

  17. zeebee says:

    Going to Miami in early January to attend a family event. Please suggest appropriate suit color and fabric for this trip. I am a seventy year old 6′, 200 pounder. Thanks in advance.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      There are tons of lightweight, warm weather appropriate fabrics in our collection (You can see some of our favorites in our Summer Shop). Many of them are not in season now but two of the most versatile and stylish are the Tobacco Brown and Cool Gray Linen Blend suits. These two look great on a variety of hair colors and skin tones and are some of our most popular suits for warm weather. Take a look and email us at concierge@blacklapel.com if you have any questions about how to get one of them.

  18. sree says:

    can a shawl lapel suit be used for a business meeting or interview??

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Nope. 99.9% of the shawl lapels you’ll see out there are on tuxedos. They are not considered appropriate businesswear because of their association with festive affairs. Wear one to an interiew and it would only serve to distract the interviewer from focusing on why you’re so good for the job and turning his/her attention toward your clothes. Rule #1 of interview attire is nothing that attracts too much attention. A shawl lapel is just the kind of quirky thing that would attract undue attention.

      1. sree says:

        thank you

  19. MRIDUSMITA says:

    Hi, I want to clear my doubt about a shawl collar suit that I have stitched to wear as a formal wear to my office. Does shawl collar only apply for tuxedo or I can use it as a daily official wear.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Shawl lapels on tuxedos were inspired by the smoking jackets gentlemen of leisure wore in a relaxed setting. This may have been good for Hugh Hefner as he chilled by the grotto at the Playboy Mansion, but it is not appropriate for the office, so the shawl lapel is not considered business attire. That’s why you don’t see shawl lapel business suits.

      If you love the look of shawl lapels, we have, on rare occassions, seen a particularly luxe sport jacket turned into a smoking jacket/sport jacket mashup by making it with shawl lapels. Pulling off this look, though, requires sure hand when it comes to style. If your friends are used to you showing up for Saturday poker night in jeans and an untucked oxford shirt, then one week you roll up in a shawl lapel sport jacket, you’ll be asked to do some explaining.

  20. Bilal says:

    Hi, I’m looking for s navy blue tuxedo for my wedding. I found one with peak lapels but the pants don’t have satin stripes. Is that ok?

    I also found another one which is even more expensive tuxedo but has notch lapels. Is that ok to have a notch lapel on a tuxedo? I have noticed so many tuxedos with notch lapels out there..is that like becoming a new style?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Unfortunately that’s not a true tuxedo, Bilal. That’s what we like to call a tuxedo impostor. Navy blue pants without a satin stripe are just navy blue suit pants.

      The reason we don’t sell tuxedos with notch lapels is because it isn’t really OK. Notch lapels are too casual for a tuxedo, making it a faux pas. It’s almost like wearing sneakers with a tuxedo, and we wouldn’t recommend that either. We say shawl and peak lapels only for a tux.

  21. Rob says:

    I Have a black tie dinner to attend & have just purchased a very nice slim fit notched lapel black suit, will be appropriate for the event?
    Many thanks

    1. Black Lapel says:

      In a pinch, a black suit can stand in for a tux, but think of it as a last resort. Black tie has a specific set of rules and rule #1 is “wear a tuxedo.” For the full set of rules check out our story on Black Tie 101.

      We suggest getting a proper tuxedo for a black tie affair. And we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t suggest you check out our fantastic line of tuxedos.

  22. JDC says:

    What is in style, slim, regular, wide lapels?


    1. Black Lapel says:

      “In style” is a subjective thing, JDC but regular lapels are always in style.

      We don’t recommend following trends, but instead the decision to go with slim or wide lapels should be based on what looks best on you. If you’ve got a broad chest a slim lapel probably doesn’t work for you. On the flip side, a slighter build means you shouldn’t go with a wide lapel that extends all the way out to your shoulder. Like the good custom clothiers that we are, we’ll always recommend wearing what works best for you.

  23. Jake says:

    I am considering wearing a white dinner jacket and black trousers to a warm-weather wedding in the near future. I have two questions:

    1. For a white dinner jacket (thinking a nicer one), are satin lapels required? My preference is for a normal width peak lapel, but I am stuck on whether to do satin or not. As a corrollary, do the jackets need the traditional tuxedo satin as well?

    2. For the pants, I was just going to go with a very nice pair of black trousers. Do I need to wear tuxedo pants with the satin on the legs instead?

    I have done a good bit of research, and the exact answers are not at all settled. I defer to the experts at BlackLapel. Thank you.

    1. Jake says:

      *Do the pockets need traditional satin lining*

    2. Black Lapel says:

      Hey, Jake. Thanks for spelling out your concerns here. We’ll answer accordingly…

      1. Satin lapels aren’t required. However, satin lapels will make the dinner jacket look more formal and is more standard of a classic black tie look. A normal, wide peak lapel is a more modern look, but is certainly still acceptable and classy. If you’re having trouble deciding, we suggest you head to Pinterest and search “mens white dinner jacket”. Tons of inspiration will pop up and this could give you a better idea of what you want to look like at the wedding. On the flip side, if you’re getting satin lapels, your jacket pockets should have satin lining as well. No satin lining is needed if you opt for normal lapels.
      2. If you are wearing a dinner jacket, you must wear tuxedo pants (with the satin lining). Wearing a dinner jacket with regular black suit pants is what we like to call a tuxedo impostor. It’s a big style no-no. Even if you wear a dinner jacket without satin lapels, your tuxedo pants will still need the satin stripe down the leg.

      Hope this helps. Enjoy the wedding!

  24. Shaheel says:

    I have a grey tux with a shawl lapel (Lapel is black). Can i pair this with
    1) A vest
    2) A tie as apposed to a bow-tie

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We don’t recommend a vest, unless you mean a matching cummerbund to your tux. We can approve of a tie as opposed to a bow tie, but stick to a sleek black tie. This is less of a classic black-tie look, but still very dapper.

  25. Marcel says:

    And another question to the comment below. Are the “black and white” shoes appropriate to the tuxedo at all?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Nope. Specatator shoes are more casual. Ever since the most recent Great Gatsby movie came out there’s been a renewed interest in spectator shoes, but many guys are misunderstanding the idea. The spectator shoe was so named because it was originally created for cricket spectators to wear to games way back in 1868. Watching a game, back in the day, meant being on the field and spectators needed a shoe that was hearty enough for turf. So the design, which featured different leather types and layers, was born. They were considered sportswear (remember, this was back in the day before sneakers were widely available, when sports shoes still looked more like dress shoes).

      So all of that is to say that wearing a pair of spectator shoes with a tux may not be as big of a mistake as wearing a pair of Air Jordans with black tie, but it’s headed in that direction. Steer clear of this fashion faux pas with a shoes that fits black tie, like patent leather oxfords or dress slippers.

  26. Marcel says:

    Hi, I am going to a wedding as a guest and I am thinking if the shawl lapel tuxedo or even if any tuxedo is appropriate if I am going to be a normal guest (not best man etc.). Additionally, I am 6.1 ft very slim, long hands is the shawl the good choice?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Well, Marcel, the question of whether or not to wear a tuxedo is better answered by the groom and bride than us. We suggest you check on the dress code and then check out our article on what to wear to any wedding.

      As for whether or not a shawl lapel will look good on you. Your height has nothing bearing on it. As we said above if you have an extremely round face or body we don’t recommend a shawl lapel, otherwise, it’s just a matter of your preference.

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  30. Jo Frith says:

    I am planning to buy a white dinner jacket for my 20 year old son for his birthday. I am not all that fond of shawl collars, but understand that is the appropriate collar for white dinner jackets. Is that correct? He is very tall and slim. I prefer the notch collar. He is very conservative and will want to keep with tradition. Please advise.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hello, Jo. A white dinner jacket? What a classy birthday present for a 20-year-old! Since your son is still young, we agree you should get him a traditional dinner jacket that will last him for many years to come. That being said, shawl collars are not only the most appropriate, but also the correct tradition for dinner jackets. We advise going with the shawl collar for the sake of menswear tradition!

  31. Bill Beck says:

    I would like to know the name of a lapel/collar style that I describe since there is no way to send a drawing of it. It was mostly seen on 60/70s suits so I will try to describe it.The seam where the collar and lapel meet goes normally downward but stops about half way or less to the lapel edge. Instead of the collar notch changing its cut upward as in notch and peak lapels it follows downward. Instead of a V notch there is only a slit with collar and lapel the same width. This style is currently used only on over coats. Almost similar to a reverse peak.It is to my taste much more attractive than either peek or notch. Maybe it will come back as well as 4 buttons seen a few years ago. it’s roots in late 1800s to early 1900s on sack suits.I always liked the top button very high reveling only a few inches of necktie below the knot because current styles with last button a bit lower than waist line always bow outward with movement or very full chest and tie always flies out.

    Reply ernastly requested.
    Thanks, Bill Beck

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It sounds like the type of lapel you’re referring to is what’s called a “fish mouth” lapel. People often wrongly refer to notch lapels as fish mouth lapels but the notch is much more open ended, like a < sign. You are correct in your assertiont that fish mouth lapels are seen mostly on pea coats and outerwear but not a part of traditional suit jacket tailoring. If you'd like us to make your Black Lapel jacket with a fish mouth lapel, just let us know by emailing our concierge at concierge@blacklapel.com and we can customize one for you.

  32. Alzi says:

    Alzi again. How many buttons should I have in the middle of my tuxedo and how many button on the arms? And what shirt type for wearing a bow tie, wing or normal?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      These questions and more are answered in our Black Tie 101 article, which is recommended reading for anybody looking to get their hands on a tux. To answer your questions specifically:

      1. A dinner jacket (the top half of your tuxedo) should have 1 button. This is an essential tradition and a rule we never advise breaking.
      2. The cuffs feature four buttons as you can see on the left arm of this gentleman here.
      3. Either shirt collar type is appropriate for a black tie affair but, as you can see from how we photograph our own tuxedos, we prefer the turn down collar.
  33. Alzi says:

    I need help for prom. I have many blazers that I use for suits, can I use them into a tuxedo?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’re a little confused here, Alzi. If you’re wondering if you can wear a blazer to prom, we wouldn’t recommend that. As for turning a blazer into a tuxedo, do you mean matching a blazer with tuxedo pants? This is sort of a black tie no-no. You could just wear a nice, full suit to your prom if you’re stressed about not having a tuxedo to wear.

  34. Suresh D C says:

    I want to know few synonyms for Wide lapel…
    pls reply asap

    1. Black Lapel says:

      There are no synonyms for lapel in English, Suresh. There are plenty of synonyms for wide. A simple Google search uncovers broad, extensive, spacious, vast and spread out. But lapels are a specific thing. That’s like asking for a synonym for cigar. To quote Freud “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

  35. Kaomei says:

    I have a pointed lapel jacket. I don’t ike the way it looks on me. Can I alter it to a notch lapel or will the process ruin the jacket entirely?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      This is impossible and would, in fact, ruin the jacket. Guess it’s time for a new jacket!

  36. Josh santos says:

    I hav a blue lapel with black collar…would be nic in a midnight blue suit….plz suggest

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We didn’t understand the question, Josh. Can you rephrase it?

  37. tarun says:

    i have a plaided suit fabric dark blue single breasted 3 pc is what m going for so should i prefer peak lapels or notch lapels?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Totally, your call. Tarun, but our concierges are always ready to help you customize your Black Lapel suit however you like. But that’s more of a private conversation (not a blog comment reply), so let’s move the conversation over to email. Email us at concierge@blacklapel.com and one of our stylists will help you out.

  38. Pingback: Interview Suit | thegrownupmddotcom
  39. Viraj says:

    What are the key components to a power suit?
    I was thinking of getting a custom suit made: wide peak lapels, 2 buttons, double vents, and pin-stripe wool. Not fixated on color yet.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The customizations you listed would count as a “power suit” in most books. We believe there is only one component to a power suit and that is confidence. The simplest suit will look like a power suit on a self-assured man. That’s one of the reasons why Idris Elba looks like a boss in anything from a polo shirt to a solid suit.

      For more specific recommendations on how to customize your suit, email us at concierge@blacklapel.com and one of the stylists can help you customize one of these to your liking.

  40. Ravelius says:

    Hi.. I am 5′ 9″ and I have a 200 lbs athletic build. 44″ Chest, 17 1/2″ Neck, 34″ arms and 34″ waist and 30″ Inseam.. What would be the best cut of Tuxedo/Collar combination for me for my wedding?? Also, I would like to wear a long tie and possibly a vest.. Any color combination suggestions for me and my groom’s men?? The wedding color theme is Fuchsia, but I’m not keen of wearing anything in that color.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Your size has little to do with the kind of lapel you choose, Ravelius. For a tuxedo, the choices are peak and shawl lapel and choice is more about preference and appropriateness. If you’re going for a very formal look, the peak lapel does the trick, but if you’re looking for a more lounge-y look, the shawl might be your best bet.

      A shawl lapel comes standard with our blue tuxedos like our Royal Blue or Midnight Blue. The blue tuxes are a little more festive and a touch less formal, so the shawl lapel works, plus the shawl creates a nice unbroken line of black satin all the way around the neck which makes for a sharper all around look.

      As far as fit is concerned, without getting a look at you, it’s tough to say which fit would suit you best. But if you’d like to send us some pics at concierge@blacklapel.com we can make a good recommendation.

      Hopefully this helps, but feel free to get more specific in an email to the concierge if you’d like more detailed advice.

  41. Carlo says:


    I am getting married in October. It is a vintage/vineyard themed wedding. I am 5’8″ and I was wondering if you could help me with the lapel idea. Tuxedo’s for groomsmen and I will be a darker grey and groomsmen will have a peak lapel. I am a bigger man, 200+ pounds. I want to look really good as I will be geting bespoke and I think the lapel will make a difference. In your opinion, what do you think the best lapel for me would be, peak or shawl? Also, should I play with the colour a little bit? Maybe a black lapel on a darker grey tux?

    1. Carlo says:

      From Carlo: To also add, I would also want a vest to go with it if it works.

    2. Black Lapel says:

      Since this question was best answered with your specific needs in mind we hope the answer we sent via email was helpful, Carlo. Feel free to follow up for my advice from a stylist either here or via email.

  42. Mandeep says:

    sir , i want to know that my chest is 32 inch, what size tux would fit me nice, 34 or 36 ?? and what lapel do you recommend for a first tux, i m buying peak, but its little expensive, so do you think shwal will work the same?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      If you have a 32″ chest, you should get a jacket made for a 32″ chest, not one made for some other size.

      All of the tuxedos we make are made to your measurements. We make suits and tuxes for a lot of guys who are in a similar position to yours Mandeep. For guys in your shoes off-the-rack clothes don’t fit because most stores simply don’t make your size, so you’re forced to get clothes that are kind of close to fitting and end up looking off. An ill-fitting tuxedo is definitely something you want to avoid. After all, what’s the point of getting dressed up for a special event in a tuxedo if it’s not going to look good on you?

      So we recommend that you get a proper set of measurements and get a tuxedo made to those measurements. Whether you get it from Black Lapel or someone else, is up to you, but we’re pretty sure you’ll look better (without spending more) in a made-to-measure tux.

  43. Deric says:

    What is the rule for matching a formal waistcoat/vest with a jacket? I am purchasing a single breast peak lapel tuxedo for my wedding and most vests look too boxy on me as I am a slimmer male around 5’8″. I am looking for a lower cut vest or even half moon/horseshoe with only 3-4 buttons because of this. With a peak lapel can I wear a SB shawl vest (it seems like this is the only lower cut/slim fit vest style I can find outside of the normal vest style) or do I need to match it with a peak lapel vest? Or I’ve read I need a double breasted vest? Do you sell a double breasted/horseshoe vest? Thanks I’m going crazy here because I want to look fresh and it seems way too difficult to find the right style!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad we were able to help you out via email, Deric. Enjoy your tuxedo & waistcoat and be sure to send us pics from the wedding!

  44. Mike Smith says:

    For a custom shawl tuxedo, keeping it classy:
    Would you go with back pockets, one back pocket, or none? … AND ..
    Would you ho with double, single, or no vent.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We offer all of the options you mentioned, Mike. They are truly up to your personal preferences, so rather than have a public conversation about customizing your tux, we’ve answered your questions via email.

      For the record, if anybody else out there is stuck on customization choices and reading this, feel free to email us our stylists for one-on-one advice at concierge@blacklapel.com

  45. Liam mason says:

    I pretty much look identical to jaden smith and don’t know what prom suit to go for please help?!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sounds like you’ve got yourself a celebrity style proxy, there, Liam. What’s a celebrity style proxy? It’s a dude who looks like you and often looks fly on film. In the case of Jaden Smith, he’s a little young to be pictured in anything formal enough to wear to your prom. Instead, take a cue from his stylish dad, who cleans up nice in a shawl lapel tuxedo. The double-breasted things is a little much for the prom, but a tux isn’t.

  46. Steve says:

    On a black tuxedo with a silk peaked lapel, is it normal for the silk on the lapel to carry around the collar?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      First things first, nothing about a tuxedo should ever be normal. Tuxedos should make you feel like James Bond.

      Anyway, on tuxedo peak lapels, the satin or grosgrain on the lapels should stop at the pointed edges of the lapel. The satin or grosgrain is carried around the neck when a tuxedo has a shawl lapel, which has a continuous curve without breaks or points.

  47. Zach says:

    Could I wear the shawl lapel tux to a prom?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Only if you want to look like as good as Ryan Gosling. Hint: Your date wants you to look as good as Ryan Gosling, or Matt Bomer or Chris Pratt or pretty much anybody you wouldn’t leave your date alone with).

      In other words, yes, Zach, a shawl lapel is a great choice for the tuxedo you’re wearing to your prom.

  48. Peter Johnson says:

    Ive got 3 weddings to attend this summer, I looking at a grey slim fit suit with notch lapel. Should I add a waistcoat? Also is a white shirt a must?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A waistcoat is completely optional, but we love looks like this because they give you more ways to wear the suit.

      As you can also see, from that suit, we do not think a white shirt is a must even for a wedding. That said, you should have a lot of white shirts. White shirts are the well-dressed man’s best friend.

  49. Rick says:

    Is it proper to where a black vest with a black shawl lapel and black bow tie?


    1. Black Lapel says:

      Of course, Rick. As we covered in Black Tie 101, a black vest (called a “waistcoat” in formal wear circles) is the traditional alternative to a cummerbund when you’ve got on a tuxedo.

  50. Craig says:

    Hi gents,

    I am buying a suit for my wedding but i’d like to be able to wear it again. I am rather thin. I was thinking of buying a grey suit with a standard notch lapel and getting it tailored. The tailor would involve trimming where possible (hard to find a size 37 where i’m from) and replacing the lapel below the notch with charcoal satin.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      All of what you’d like to do is possible. In fact, it’s what we do at Black Lapel. We make customized suits to your exact measurements. To get one of these suits, take a look at our collection of fabrics, pick one out you like, customize it and have a friend help you enter your measurements and you can order right away.

      The customization and the measurements will handle most of what you’d like in your suit. As for the satin, we handle special requests through our concierge service. Just send us a note at concierge@blacklapel.com when you’re ready to order and we’ll walk you through it.

  51. David Higgins says:

    I purchased a vintage Armani Suit with a Lapel Notch that just about meets the top of my shirt pocket – much ‘Lower’ than usual. At the time I thought this Unique Style was ‘Cool’ but now I wonder why I can’t find any others like it?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      What you’re describing is referred to as a gorge line, David. There was a time when well-dressed men used gorge lines to create proportion and balance. You won’t find many photos of the dapper 6’3″ actor Gary Cooper where the gorge line is not low.

      In the 1980s Armani lead the march toward lower and lower gorge lines on everybody, regardless of height. Many designers followed suit (see the low gorge line employed by the costumers for The Wolf of Wall Street, set in the ’80s, or some of those showstoppers the wardrobe department three Don Johnson’s way back in the Miami Vice days).

      If you’re particularly tall, David, you can tell everyone how you picked the suit for it’s low gorge line. That’s play well at cocktail parties…well, at least if you go to cocktail parties with a bunch of clotheshorses like us.

  52. Rafael Hernandez says:

    Do handkerchiefs go along with shawl lapels?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      If you mean a pocket square, the answer is yes. We never go without pocket squares and definitely wouldn’t wear a tuxedo (the most common place you’ll see a shawl lapel) without one.

  53. jeremy says:

    I like peak lapels but I can’t seem to find slim ones, so I was starting to consider a shawl (which I am not a fan of in other clothing). I also prefer the evening waistcoat to the cummerbund, which is also hard to find, but is there etiquette on matching the waist covering with the lapel style?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You can find slim peak lapels from one custom clothier we know of. Their name rhymes with “whack the bell” and you’re on their website right now. All of our suits and tuxes come with the choice of regular and slim peak lapels.

      As for the waistcoat etiquette, we’re not really sticklers for that sort of thing, but traditionally a cummerbund is for both peak and shawl lapel but a waistcoat is only worn with a peak lapel. Are you going to get kicked out of a black tie event for wearing a waistcoat with a shawl lapel? Probably not, but at least now you’ll know, if you do it, that you are breaking with tradition.

  54. Kay-L says:

    Hello! My fiance wants to wear a mandarin/oriental jacket with a vest and a bow tie during our Filipino Catholic wedding ceremony. Do they go together? Is it balanced? What type of bow tie should he select? Thanks so much!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It’s hard to picture the two items going together since they come from such different sartorial traditions. That’s not to say that it can’t be pulled off, we’ve just not seen it.

      So, given that, this is kind of a shot in the dark, but we’d say match the bow tie color to the jacket. If the jacket’s black, stick with a black bow tie.

  55. JOHNSON says:

    I am really slim built (about 170 cm but only 55kg) and am looking at a black cashmere wool coat with matching black cashmere wool trousers for a really formal black tie gala event. Would you recommend a peak or shawl lapel for the coat, considering I am very slim? I was thinking of pairing it with a wing-tipped shirt and a black pre-tied bow-tie, what do you think?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Your slimness shouldn’t really affect your choice of shawl or peak lapel. Both are appropriate for a black tie outfit regardless of your build.

      What will make a difference, is how wide those lapels are. If you were to order a peak lapel from Black Lapel, we’d offer you the choice between slim and regular peak lapels. In that case, your stylist would likely recommend a slim lapel. To pick the conversation up privately, drop us a line at concierge@blacklapel.com.

  56. Drew says:

    What do you call it when the edge of the lapel has an accent color? I often see these on more stylish jackets, not as part of a suit. Is it a fad?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Resisting the urge to call it an atrocity, we can say that lapel trim is certainly popular in fast-fashion stores these days. Call us traditionalists, but we’re sitting this trend out.

  57. Craig says:

    How long do you expect the current trend of Mad Men-style narrow lapels and ties to continue? I have some favorites I hate to get rid of (somewhat unique) but don’t know if I should pay to have them altered. I know the pendulum tends to swing back and forth and slim-cut is probably here to stay for guys that can wear it but the lapels?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      This is a tough one, Craig. The narrow ties and lapels of the late 50s and early 60s were a reaction to the wide style that were in vogue in the early 50s and 40s. The pendulum swung too far back to wide in the 70s and 80s, we evened out in the 90s and then trimmed down further in the first decade of the 21st century.

      Will the pendulum swing back as drastically as it did in the 70s? We doubt it. Super-skinny has always been “out” in our book but the slim ties and lapels are too lasting to call a trend, more a preference. So we say wear you slim ties and lapels without fear of reproach.

  58. Harshit says:

    I am planning to buy a tuxedo. I neither have a slim body nor fat but a well proportionate one.Which lapel would look better ?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Since you are a medium sized guy, the choice of lapel types in a tuxedo is less about width and more about your personal style. If you are getting a tux for conservative formal affairs like galas, a peak lapel might be more appropriate. On the flip side, if you’re planning to wear it for more fun-loving events like weddings and New Year’s Eve parties, a shawl lapel, with it’s slightly more Hefner-esque style might be the look for you.

      The good news is, there is no right answer. Both shawl and peak lapels are perfectly acceptable for any black tie affair, so you really can’t go wrong.

  59. D Gatt says:

    Hi, I have a shawl lapel on my tuxedo and was wondering whether this would go with a long neck tie instead of a bow tie?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You would be going against the “rules” of black tie to wear a neck tie with your tuxedo no matter what type of lapel you have. (Many guys are hesitant to go all the way with their black tie outfits and wear an actual black bow tie.)

      That said, we put the word rules in quotation marks because we don’t believe in slavishly following the rules. We have even worn long neck ties with tuxedos to take the formality down a notch at “Black Tie Optional” affairs. The key to breaking that rule it is to follow the lapel width/tie width rule we suggested above. Don’t rock a super skinny tie with a regular sized shawl lapel. But if you want to wear a proportionally balanced long neck tie with the shawl lapel jacket go right ahead.

  60. sheetal says:

    Me with round face as well as little bit fatty can i go with Shawl Lapel

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A shawl lapel is a stylish choice for an evening jacket (aka a tuxedo), Sheetal, but for everyday wear a shawl lapel suit or blazer is less appropriate. You can do it (it looks kind of fly) but know that you’ll get comments and will likely be the only one rocking a shawl lapel when not in a tuxedo and that you’re breaking with traditional menswear. Your call.

  61. Chris Minehan says:

    Thanks oh Guru! You have answered my concern.


    1. Black Lapel says:

      That’s what we’re here for! For more on this topic check out our story on the right shirt collar for you.

  62. Chris Minehan says:

    Dear BL,

    Love this post and all the questions and your replies!

    I too have a question, can I wear a peak collar to a black tie? I have a shawl lapel, but I’m normally slim (only a bit overweight at the moment). I seem to get conflicting advice about the collar and would like some assurance.



    1. Black Lapel says:

      By peak collar, do you mean a wing tip shirt collar? If so, the answer is, yes, a wing tip collar is always appropriate for a black tie affair. That said, if you’re concerned about it disappearing under a fuller face, go with a white shirt with a hidden placket and a turndown collar. The hidden placket will cover the buttons so you don’t have a row of buttons showing under your bow tie and the turndown collar will give you a more modern black tie look.

      The beauty of a turndown collar dress shirt for black tie events is that you can also wear it with other outfits (a wing tip collar is pretty much only appropriate for black tie). That’s why we never turn down a chance to wear a turndown.

  63. Marc. says:

    In what occasion is it ok to wear a suit in which the lapel is a different color form the suit jacket?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      None, in our book. The only time we ever wear a different lapel color than our jacket’s body color is when we wear a non-black tuxedo. We always keep our tuxedo lapels black to keep the whole look black tie. Otherwise, we recommend steering clear of contrasting lapel colors, Marc.

  64. krunal shah says:

    Can a black suit with Shawl Lapel be worn in office events / conference..?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We wouldn’t suggest wearing a black suit with a shawl lapel to anything work related. It will come off looking like a half-hearted attempt at a tuxedo, which will only lead people to wonder “why did that guy wear a tuxedo to this convention?”

      That is not to say the shawl lapel has no place outside of the black tie dinner jacket. We have been known to wear shawl lapel blazers around Black Lapel from time to time. Of course, we have a lot of blazers and the shawl lapel ones are not in the regular rotation. They come out every so often and we all marvel at how stylish and fashion forward the wearer is. Then they’re gone for a while. Wear one every couple of days and it’ll lose its novelty.

      In summary: shawl lapels, like fine liquors, are best used in moderation.

  65. Aldrei says:

    Among all those styles of TUX.. what would you best recommend for the Groom to wear, regardless of colour?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’ll assume you’re wondering about our favorite lapel type here, Aldrei, since you wrote “regardless of colour.” That’s like asking us which of our children do we love the most. It really comes down to what kind of wedding it is. Some weddings call for the traditional formality of a peak lapel, others call for the slightly more relaxed look of the shawl lapel.

      There is one thing we can rule out and that’s a notch lapel. One rule of menswear we abide by is “Thou shalt not put a notch lapel on a dinner jacket.”

      And, for the record, we’re partial to this color for weddings.

  66. Ramcho says:

    what if i wear shawl lapel and a tie? how it will look like good or bad?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It depends on the jacket, Ramcho. Most of the time shawl lapels are found on dinner jackets as part of a tuxedo. In that case, a bow tie is necessary to complete the look. A long necktie would not be appropriate.

      A shawl lapel on, say, a sport jacket is less common. When doing that a long necktie is optional. If you’re going for the laid back lounge wear look, going without a tie will put more visual emphasis on the shawl lapels (without the tie to distract people’s eyes). If you’re looking to keep the lapels understated and want to downplay them a bit, wear a bold tie with it. Either way, you’re stepping out a bit, so this is not a conservative look, but it is a stylish one.

  67. James says:

    I saw a photo of Adrien Brody wearing a Roberto Cavalli(?) tux here:
    What are your thoughts on the shawl collar with the lapel width increasing all the way down to the button? Would you wear this to a wedding (as the groom)? Thanks

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The U-shaped lapel isn’t seen much these days, but it’s a nice touch. It’s more common to see it on a vest, but can look pretty fly on a jacket.

      If you’d like a lapel like this for either your jacket or vest, email concierge@blacklapel.com and we’ll help you get this customization on your tux.

  68. Juan says:

    Great post. I’m interested in that blue blazer with the black lapel. Where would I be able to find something like that?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      That’s a Royal Blue Tuxedo by, you guessed it, Black Lapel. It’s real and it’s spectacular!

      1. Nate says:

        Nice Seinfeld reference! lol

        1. Black Lapel says:

          Glad you caught that!

  69. Divesh says:

    Thank you so much for these tips. I’m getting engaged next month and have been desperately searching for tips on buying a good suit for the occasion. Your article on suit lapels has certainly helped me narrow down the suit I’m destined for! Cheers!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad we could help, Divesh. And, assuming all goes according to plan, we’ve got you covered for wedding outfit ideas too.


  70. Art von Rosenberg says:

    I have a photo of a painting of a man said to be a relative from the early to mid 1700s. I know the picture hung in my Great -great grandfather’s house after he came to Texas from East Prussia in 1849. He died in 1865. Others have said that it could not be from the 1700s, and site the coat and dress as the reason why. He has a high white shirt, a colorful tie that lays like a bow tie, a light colored vest (much like the vest of today) and a dark coat that rides up high around his neck in the back . The lapel is wide and extends almost to where the sleeve begins. It has a very deep notch that extends from the outside almost to the center fold. The man said to be in the photo lived on an estate in present day Latvia, was born in 1710 and died in 1761. I know you may have trouble answering my question based on my description of his dress, but do you think his dress would be proof that it was not painted in the 1730 + or – timeframe? Thanks for reading all of this.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’re no experts in the art history department, but the dress of the subject may not yield an accurate date for when the painting was made. Your best bet for getting the date of the painting is probably taking it to the curators at your local art museum.

      Speaking of museums, you may want to send a photo of the painting to the team at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Musuem. They may be able to give you a time frame for the clothes in the painting.

      Hope this helps!

  71. Bobbie Ethridge says:

    My fiance is looking for a Red tuxedo jacket with light grey shawl collar for the wedding. Do you all offer those color combinations? Most shawl collars I’ve found are either red suit w/black collar, or grey suit with black collar.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sorry Bobbie, what you see on the site is what we’ve got, when it comes to tuxes. While there’s not much demand for red tuxedos, the royal blue one is a stylish choice for weddings. Check out that tux here.

  72. Eric Edling says:

    Do ties have to be the EXACT width of the lapel, or just in the range? I love skinny ties, but I have less than 2.5 inch ties, and only 2.5 inch lapels- also, I can’t find anything skinnier.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Great question, Eric. No, there’s no need to break out your measuring tape every time you put on a tie. The width of the lapel and the width of the tie ought to be close to keep everything in proportion but they don’t need to be exactly the same.

      Of course, we offer regular width and slim lapels on all Black Lapel jackets…just sayin’.

  73. Eyasu Neguse says:

    Can I put tuxedo lapels on a suit for prom?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’ll assume you’re asking if you could order a suit with shawl lapels. In that case, yes, you could put shawl lapels on a non-tuxedo jacket, but unless you’ve got a full collection of suits with notch and/or peak lapels we don’t recommend it. Walk before you run, Eyasu. Stock up on the essentials, then explore the sartorial extremes.

  74. Dharam says:

    Please I need help..Can a shawl lapel suit be worn in a Business setting i.e.,for work?


    1. Black Lapel says:

      Not unless you work at Black Lapel! We’re a little more adventurous than most offices, though. Since the shawl lapel is more associated with the smoking jacket/leisure suit, it’s not recommended for the office.

  75. Sonette says:

    Please I need help. Not really your thing but it is a jacket and lapel issue. I am making 80 tuxedo programmes for our tenor boy’s big evening gala. Is there a way I can send you a picture of how far I am. The lapels have been changed many times and it still bothers me. Maybe you can tell me what I’m doing wrong? Please

    Sonette vd Berg
    General Smuts High School

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sure, Sonette. Send pics to concierge@blacklapel.com and we’ll give you a hand. If it’s got to do with lapels, we consider it our business!

  76. Bilawal says:

    The unknown side of a suit jacket. Thanks this helped me a lot 🙂

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Who knew jackets could be so interesting? We did! Now you know too.

  77. Jonathan says:

    What is the width of the shawl lapel as illustrated in the article?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The shawl lapel in the photo is 2.25″ but beware of absolute measurements, Jonathan. That tuxedo was made custom for the wearer and the lapel width will vary some depending on the size of your chest. Since we make everything custom, we keep the proportions the same from suit to suit. That’s the beauty of custom: the proportions are perfect.

  78. Brian says:

    Hello purveyors of men’s style!

    Is there a particular name for this type of shawl lapel? (see link below). Pictured in the link is Tom Ford wearing a variation of the traditional shawl lapel.


    1. Black Lapel says:

      These are sometimes called “square lapels” and they can loop pretty sharp. If you’re interested in doing this with your tuxedo jacket, we’d suggest you email concierge@blacklapel.com when placing your order and let one of our stylists help you get this look.

  79. Jordan says:

    Black lapel please drop some knowledge on me. I am 25 years old, 6’8″ 230 lbs, with an athletic/slim build. I just got a job where I may need to wear a suit every now and then. I can only afford maybe one or two at the moment. What would you suggest? Color, lapel, slim fit, extra slim fit, patterns? Thanks in advance!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We could, and will, write a whole article on how to make the most of a single suit for the guy who only wears a suit occasionally, but in the meantime, here are a couple of bits of advice from the Compass archives.

      First, we would direct you to out What to Wear to an Interview story where we highlighted the benefits of the Charcoal Gray Suit. It’s a versatile choice for the guy who doesn’t suit up on the regular. Next we’ll point you to two stories that are perfect for someone who wants to get the most out of their investment. One is How to Dress Down Your Suit Jacket. The second story is How to Wear a Vest Casually. Both of these stories will give you ideas for how to get a lot of use out of one suit.

      As for fit and customization choices, it’s all about getting your measurements right first, then choosing customization options work for you. We’d be happy to give you detailed, one-on-one advice to help you through this process. Just email: concierge@blacklapel.com when you’re ready to measure yourself and we’ll help you lock in the look you want.

  80. Al says:

    What type of bow tie should I wear with a shawl lapel tuxedo? Butterfly or Diamond? Thanks!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      There are not likely to be any black tie wonks hiding in the bushes wherever you wear your tux, waiting to jump out and scream “Aha! You, sir, are a perpetrator of black tie fraud. For, you have worn the improper bow tie with that shawl lapel tuxedo. Begone, you scoundrel!” And even if that guy did exist and did jump out of the bushes and say that to you, you could probably take him.

      That said, a diamond bow tie is a tad bit less formal than a more traditional butterfly, just as a shawl lapel tux is a touch less formal than a peak lapel. So, technically, you’ve already taken a step down the informal road with the tux, why not keep going with a diamond bow tie? For more on the rules of black tie, check out our Black Tie 101 story. For more creative ways to break said rules, check out our Beyond Black Tie story.

  81. Kenton says:

    Where can I find a champagne colored dinner jacket with a black shawl lapel? I really like the look and I want to wear it to my prom . I saw kanye west wear it in one of his videos with black trousers. Please help.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Kanye has been known to rock a Band of Outsiders dinner jacket that sounds like the one you’re talking about. Band of Outsiders stuff pricey (Kanye’s jacket cost, allegedly, $1,824). If you’re looking for a more affordable off-white option, you’ll have to give up on the black shawl lapel and go with something like this.

      If it doesn’t have to be off-white, we offer stylish and more versatile options: the Royal Blue and Navy tuxedos. Both of those come with black lapels and, unlike ivory-colored dinner jackets, you can wear these year round.

      For more unorthodox views on Black Tie, take a look at our Beyond Black Tie story that features these two tuxedos.

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  83. Steven says:

    Many thanks BL!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Our pleasure!

  84. Steven says:

    Is it safe/a good idea to wear a skinny tie with a peak lapel blazer?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The rule of thumb is to match your tie width to your lapel width (for more on that check out our Tie Width primer).

      All blazers and suit jackets from Black Lapel can be made with a peak or slim peak lapel, depending on your preference. So if you already have a collection of skinny ties, go with the slim peak lapel, Steven.

  85. Ben Fleury says:

    when wearing a shawl collared tuxedo what kind of shirt should i wear , pleats no pleats? etc

    1. Black Lapel says:

      There aren’t any hard and fast rules governing pleated or non-pleated shirts with a specific lapel. And if there were a rule we would encourage you to break it as we did in our Beyond Black Tie piece.

      As we laid out in Black Tie 101, a simple white shirt with a semi-spread collar with French cuffs and a turn down collar is always a safe bet.

  86. Karan Singh says:

    Actually the main problem for me to opt for long tie is that I am already wearing a bow tie for the wedding so had to do some change

    Can u be a little more elaborate with what u meant by “knit texture” can you show me some sample as well plz..

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sorry to confuse you, Karan. For more details, there is a picture of a knit textured bow tie and a link to where to get one in the Beyond Black Tie story.

  87. Karan Singh says:


    Wanted to ask can we wear a tie with a shawl lapel tux…
    Actually I am not interested in wearing a bow tie

    1. Black Lapel says:

      As we stated in Black Tie 101, a tuxedo deserves a bow tie to keep the look formal. Of course, you could break some rules, as we suggested in Beyond Black Tie, but we suggest breaking this rule by going with a knit texture rather than a long tie.

  88. Anthony Battaglia says:

    Can you wear a normal tie with a shawl lapel suit jacket?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A shawl lapel is generally seen only on tuxedos today. When you’re wearing a tuxedo a long tie comes off like you’re half-assign the look. Better to put your whole ass into it and wear a bow tie.

      For the same reason, we don’t encourage getting the shawl lapel on a suit. It kind of looks like you didn’t have the moxie to get a tux so you tried to dress up a regular suit with a shawl lapel. We DO, however, like the shawl lapel on a blazer. It’s a subtle nod to the smoking jacket and can look very Hefner-ish. This is not exactly an everyday look but a shawl blazer can make for a unique addition to your blazer arsenal.

  89. Demond Conley says:

    I’m getting married in July and this jacket is exactly what I want except I need it to be white…..please tell me it’s available because I’m having a hard time finding a white jacket white single button black lapel/ shawl collar with the black button and pockets…HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We don’t currently offer white dinner jackets, Demond, but we may be able to point you in the right direction.

      Please email concierge@blacklapel.com Though and one of the Black Lapel stylists will help you out.

  90. pallavi says:

    is it necessary to have a specific style of lapel in 3 piece suit?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You can choose either a notch or peak lapel for a three-piece suit. A peak lapel is a bit more formal, so it looks good with a three-piece suit, but that’s really just about your preference.

      The only lapel we wouldn’t recommend on a suit is a shawl (save that for your tux jacket, Pallavi.

  91. Jean says:

    DO you carry the white tux with wide and long black shawl lapel? one button? if not where can i get one?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sorry Jean, no white dinner jackets (with or without black lapels) here. ASOS offers something along those lines, though.

  92. Umar Qureshi says:

    Really liked your website! Do you guys ship to Dubai, UAE? (Y)

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Yes! We also do partial lining, which a few of our Dubai customers have special requested.

  93. ahmed says:

    i want to buy a black suit with a white lapel? do you have any?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sorry Ahmed, as our name implies, we don’t do that. For the record we don’t think you should either unless you look like Naomi Campbell.

  94. Abraham says:

    I’m so glad I googled “custom suits” and found Black Lapel

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We are too!

  95. AB says:

    The tuxedo above, the pants. They should never be worn with a Belt right?
    Does the tux above have a cummerbund?
    And I looked for royal blue cloth in my local market, it was quiet lighter and shinier in color as compared to the picture.
    And please can you tell if a plain white shirt with simple white buttons can be worn with the tux..

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’ve gotten waaaay off topic here, AB. The best thing to do would be to direct your questions to concierge@blacklapel.com so that one of our stylists can give you more personalized advice on choosing your tuxedo.

  96. AB says:

    So, if the lapels are of satin silk, what fabric should be the bow be of?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Tradition says a bow tie should be made of silk.

  97. AB says:

    The tuxedo, what’s the color of it. Is it navy blue or charcoal blue?
    And could you detail me in with the stuff of cloth (material)
    Plus how many vents and cuff buttons and what shirt.
    I’m full of questions?
    Pls answer.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The tuxedo above is the Solid Royal Blue Tuxedo. The fabric is 100% Wool. The yarn is Super 130s. The pattern is solid.

      Not that you can see it in the photo of the lapels above, but this particular jacket has four cuff buttons (the standard for Black Lapel suits and tuxedos) and no vents (traditional for tuxedos). The shirt here is a Solid White with hidden placket.

      Also, the background in the photo is Pantone 10101 C, the model’s name is Jonathan, he’s approximately 6’1″ and he had Corn Flakes for breakfast the morning of the photo shoot. 🙂

      1. Rey says:

        You my friend are fuckin HILARIOUS!!!

  98. M.H.M says:

    I don’t fucking care if this is for lapels. No offense. But answer me.
    What cloth material for the solid charcoal blur tux?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’ll assume you’re referring to the BLUE tuxedo above, not the “blur” tuxedo (we don’t have one that makes you appear blurry). That is the Solid Royal Blue Tuxedo.

  99. M.H.M says:

    Should the bow tie be of the same silk/material as the lapel ? ( referring to the tuxedo.)

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Traditionally a bow tie is made with silk, however the lapels are not. The lapels on a tuxedo are made with either satin or grosgrain. That’s what makes a tuxedo lapel unique.

  100. MHM says:

    Is there should be vents in a tux?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      That depends on who you ask. Traditionally tuxedos don’t have vents.

      This piece is about lapels, though. Keep an eye on The Compass, we’ve got a story on different ways to wear a tuxedo coming soon.

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  102. Drew says:

    Can I wear slim peak lapel with no tie?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A peak lapel, slim or regular, can work without a tie if the suit would otherwise work without a tie, Drew. In other words, don’t try this with a tuxedo or a more business formal look like a pinstripe.

  103. john p says:

    I have suit with a 4 inch lapel. It was very expensive and looks great. Is it out of style or can I wear it to a formal wedding?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      If you like a more traditional wider tie, like those from Brooks Brothers, a wider lapel is suitable (get it…that’s a little custom clothing humor for ya). Of course if you’re a big fan of Mad Men and like your ties skinnier than Mary Kate and/or Ashley, then a 4″ lapel would probably look a bit disproportional. In that case, don’t trash the suit, especially since you like the way it looks, just get a wider tie for the wedding…then (shameless plug) order a bunch of suits from Black Lapel.

  104. Andy says:

    🙁 how disappointing. I’ve always wanted a “Harvey Specter” type peak lapel 3 piece suit, but have more of a Mike Ross build.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Andy, there’s no reason you can’t pull off a peak lapel 3-piece suit with a slimmer build. Just keep the lapels in proportion and don’t go too wide!

  105. Frog leg McGargel says:

    what occasion would a double breasted suit have a notch lapel

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Notch lapels on double-breasted suits made some appearances in the 70’s and 80’s (e.g. Eddie Murphy in 48hrs), but if you’re looking for a more timeless DB look, we’d suggest sticking with the peak lapel, regardless of the occasion.

  106. Santino A. Casas says:

    I see you guys have added the James Bond Skyfall tuxedo. Very nice!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Santino – It’s very close! Here’s a great rundown of the suit you’re referring to. That said, we think our tux is sexier. 😉

  107. Henry Hau says:

    The middle suit at the top of the page. Is that your solid charcoal suit?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Close. 🙂 That’s our Solid Charcoal Blue Suit.

  108. Alexander R. says:

    Does Black Lapel plan on selling tuxedos like the one pictured?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Yep, it’s a little preview of what’s to come in our spring collection! 😉

  109. Reed says:

    Please tell me that tuxedo will be available in the Spring Collection!!!!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      That tuxedo will be available in the Spring Collection!!!! 😀

      1. Reed says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like you’re playing around with the soft shoulder.

        1. Black Lapel says:

          Reed, can you elaborate a bit for us? We’re not sure we understand your question! You can also email our concierge team! 🙂

          1. Reed says:

            Sorry, it looked like the tuxedo jacket had a soft shoulder going on. I think I was mistaken…

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