By Beverly Pereira
Photography: Courtesy Bellani S Bespoke Tailors & World Wide Web
The lapel isn’t as humble as it looks! It can tell a tall tale about a man’s formal fashion style. IAnD talks to Sunil Bellani, of Bellani S Bespoke Tailors, about the ins and outs of this quintessential, crucial detail.
The folded flap of cloth on the front of semi-formal or formal jackets - the lapel - is inarguably the most distinguishing element that makes a suit a suit. Often taken-for-granted, it becomes the cynosure of all eyes, scrutinised for its cut, style and silhouette, for the just-right dressed-look to suit the occasion!
“Three distinct lapel styles have stood out throughout the history of the bespoke tailored suit,” informs Sunil. The notch lapel works equally well on classic single-breasted business suits, or Friday jackets; and is the generally preferred no-fuss option for business days and the mandatory formal-look! Of course, there are slight variations in the width, the placement and depth of the notch, etc, but these are more-or-less subjective and tailored to personality types.
The peak lapel, spotted on a double-breasted jacket or even a tuxedo, is traditionally the most formal of the three. Defined by the edges that point towards the shoulders, the peak requires a good amount of skill to be cut and stitched to precision. Apt for dressy occasions like weddings, formal sit-downs and black-tie events, a peak lapelled-jacket can, however, go horribly wrong, if one does not pair it with a well-fitted shirt in an appropriate colour.
Sunil, who attends European trade shows annually and for whom the classic Italian cut remains a recurring inspiration, shares that single-breasted suits with notch lapels will be the summer 2015 trend for formal menswear, while the peak lapel on double-breasted jackets is set to trend during winter 2015.
Exclusively limited to formal wear, the shawl lapel has a curve, without points, that reaches the buttons of a tuxedo jacket. Sunil explains that the tuxedo has become all the rage with Indian men, who visit his store for appropriate wear to cocktail dinners and black tie events. He cautions that one needs to pair the shawl lapel with a black bow tie or tie.
Trends come and go, but lapel styles have never gone out of fashion. The lapel width, however, is subject to variances such as a man’s personality, height and chest width. While the classic lapel width measures 3-3.5 inches, skinny lapels that flatter slimmer body types range from 2-2.75 inches. Wider lapels are best suited to men with a larger stature.