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The Lapel

Updated: Aug 26, 2020


A sociological study some years ago posed the theory that there is an analogy between women’s skirt lengths and social wellbeing. We could also suggest that the same thing goes for lapels on jackets. In the 1960s, when growth and optimism were growing, lapels were narrow, while in the 1970s, a period of turbulence, social redefinition and affirmation of new demands, they became more assertive and dominant. A perfect lapel should be somewhere between 9 and 10 cm in a single-breasted jacket. But there are no strict rules except not to exaggerate. Everything should bear a relationship to the wearer and his physical figure. We should always be aware of the look of the entirety of what we wear, as Balzac maintained, and it should demonstrate unity, clarity and harmony.The hand-stitched buttonhole in its simplicity and precision enhances the whole jacket. It reminds us that a suit is a uniform and that, when jackets were worn only by the military, the buttonhole in the lapel served to fasten the jacket right up to the collar. Peaked lapels are only for double-breasted and suit jackets.

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