How To Choose A Lapel Style For Your Suit Or Tux

Choos­ing a suit or tux is hard enough on its own (espe­cial­ly if it’s for your wed­ding), with­out the added stress of lapels. Bet you nev­er even thought about it. A lapel was just a lapel on every oth­er suit jack­et you’ve ever worn. But now there’s options and it’s just con­fus­ing.

You don’t have to wor­ry, we promise. It’s easy to get the hang of lapels and you gen­er­al­ly don’t have to wor­ry about choos­ing between them. There are three com­mon types of lapels: Notch, Peak, and Shawl.  Suits usu­al­ly only come in either a notch or peak lapel style and each col­or suit will have already cho­sen the style of lapel for you. Unless of course, you’re look­ing a lapels first and them col­or.

It’s tux­es that can get a lit­tle more com­pli­cat­ed. Most shops you’d get a tuxe­do, whether it’s online or in per­son, will offer a black tuxe­do with any of the three styles. Each lapel look says some­thing a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent, so we’re here to explain each one and the best time to wear them.

groom in blue suit with bright boutonniere


See that inden­ta­tion in the lapel near the neck were the top of the col­lar and the bot­tom of the lapel join? That’s the “notch”. The depth and place­ment of the notch varies. The notch is the most com­mon of lapel for a good rea­son: it’s extreme­ly ver­sa­tile and looks appro­pri­ate on every­thing from a linen suit to a tuxe­do.  When in doubt, go for the notch!

When to wear a Notch Lapel

Wear a notch lapel when you need a tra­di­tion­al, clas­sic look.  You’ll fit in regard­less of what every­one else may be wear­ing.

groom in blue suit


Peak lapels point upward at the seam and are tra­di­tion­al­ly more for­mal. They’re com­mon­ly used in tuxe­dos and morn­ing coats to denote an upscale occa­sion. These days, the peak is increas­ing­ly seen in a vari­ety of suit styles, includ­ing every­day suits. It gives a jack­et a sense of dra­ma and elon­gates the wear­er. Per­fect­ly con­struct­ed, peaked lapels are high­ly regard­ed, and can be expen­sive as they are the most dif­fi­cult to craft.

When to wear a Peak Lapel

You can’t go wrong wear­ing a Peak Lapel at a black tie event.  This is your chance to give your­self an added “James Bond” air of mys­tery and effort­less class, which will also help you exude con­fi­dence.

groom in black tuxedo


The shawl lapel frames the face with its ele­gant round­ed edge. It’s most com­mon­ly found on tuxe­dos and din­ner jack­ets —a clas­sic choice with a mod­ern edge. That said, you won’t gen­er­al­ly find a shawl lapel on any­thing oth­er than a tuxe­do or din­ner jack­et.

When to wear a Shawl Lapel

Wear a Shawl Lapel when you’re going for a more nos­tal­gic, yes­ter­year look. It’s a great option when attend­ing for­mal events (such as red car­pet galas) or when host­ing a par­ty at home.

Now that you’re set on the know-how for suit and tuxe­do lapel styles, you’re ready to choose one for your­self. With 21 suit and tuxe­do styles and thou­sands of acces­so­ry options, we’re sure you can find the per­fect look to make your union extra­or­di­nary.

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