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I think the whole lapel issue is completely overblown by a few folks. A big gala was recently held for the local symphony or some such thing and all of the big, wealthy movers and shakers were there. The attendees were typically middle aged to older and monied. They weren't the kind of people who rent tuxedos nor were they Hollywood celebrities.

Anyway, a number of pictures were published in the newspaper and I made a point of taking note of the lapels. In all of the pictures there were a total of ten men with lapels visible enough to make out the style. I counted 1 shawl, 2 peaks, and 7 notches. The notch lapel appears to be becoming the lapel of choice in the United States by men who do know the difference. It's what President Bush wore and now that President-elect Obama is going to wear one I expect this style to only grow more in popularity given his near rock star status.

I doubt that many waiters are buying the $1600 notch lapel tuxedo sold by Brooks Brothers or the $1000 HSM notch lapel rig that Obama is wearing. I believe that the black tie police are going to just have to eventually accept the fact that the notch lapel is here to stay. After all, there was a time when the purists did not all accept the shawl lapel as being "proper" but that too changed over time. :icon_smile_big:

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Regardless of what is considered "proper" by the general public, I would opt for peak or shawl lapels if I was buying another tuxedo. It just makes me feel like I'm wearing a more distinct garment, and I enjoy that. With notch (and I do own a notch lapel tux jacket from before I was very fashion conscious that I now rarely wear as I have a shawl lapel model), I just feel like I'm wearing a fancy suit.
 

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It just makes me feel like I'm wearing a more distinct garment
I agree. I'm not as vehemently opposed to the notch lapel as some but to me a dinner jacket serves a specific purpose and should be a specific article of clothing. If I'm going to wear a tux then I'm going to by God wear a tux; peak or shawl, waist covering (another piece of the ensemble regretably going by the wayside), bow tie, patent leather, etc. I see some youngsters wearing it with sneakers or a FIH tie. I'm not losing sleep over it but in my mind it's not a tuxedo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have a question actually, now that the subject is lapels. Not being intimately familiar with all the options for black-tie, I was wondering about lapel widths. I am very tall and thin (38L or 39L), and I much prefer narrower lapels on my suits. When properly fitted, some of the big peaked lapels I have seen would come close to touching the edges of my shoulders.

Assuming I am going to be purchasing my own black tie ensemble, are there options out there with narrower peaks, or is that the norm/rule? I'm assuming I could slim it down somewhat going to bespoke route, but I doubt my first DJ will be bespoke; I'll be lucky if its MTM - my gf is planning on spending less than $1000 on her wedding dress. Are there RTW options?
 

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I'm not as vehemently opposed to the notch lapel as some but to me a dinner jacket serves a specific purpose and should be a specific article of clothing. If I'm going to wear a tux then I'm going to by God wear a tux; peak or shawl
But if the argument is that a notch lapel is too much like an ordinary business suit, why is a peak lapel not too much like every run of the mill double breasted navy blazer out there with their peak lapels? And as for shawl lapels, Amy Vanderbilt considered them to be no more formal than a notch lapel.

I just don't see all of the distinctions that some people make. A tuxedo is unique from business suits in far more ways than the style of lapel. A notch lapel tuxedo looks no more like a business suit than a double breasted peak lapel tuxedo looks like a double breasted peak lapel business suit. Personally I enjoy seeing a variety of styles rather than everyone walking around looking like clones of each other. :icon_smile:

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I think the whole lapel issue is completely overblown by a few folks.
Non-sequitur, unless you mean "a few folks at Esquire magazine". The Esquire piece advises going with a peak lapel. Why must you use that to again re-open your long-standing crusade to convince AAAC participants of the merits of notch-lapel dinner jackets?

The notch lapel appears to be becoming the lapel of choice in the United States by men who do know the difference. It's what President Bush wore and now that President-elect Obama is going to wear one I expect this style to only grow more in popularity given his near rock star status.
How do you know that the men you list know the difference? I'd say the notch is becoming the default of those who don't know, or care about, the difference.
 

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Rambling-
Like it says in the black tie guide, you are wearing a tuxedo to signify that the event is special and by handicapping the "specialness" of your tuxedo I think you are downplaying the event. Moreover, whole point of a tuxedo is that it is different from a regular suit. Why would you try to make a tuxedo look more like a regular suit. To me its like the modified pickup truck turned lowrider on 19' rims you see on the street. Why buy a truck if you want to turn it into a low riding sports car and vice versa. In the end you kill the best part of owning a truck in its utility and yet you still don't have the great handling or looks of a sports car. A tuxedo with a notch lapel is hampered at what it does best-stand out but too dressy to be used for business attire. It is kind jack of all trades master of none.
 

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Regardless of what is considered "proper" by the general public, I would opt for peak or shawl lapels if I was buying another tuxedo. It just makes me feel like I'm wearing a more distinct garment, and I enjoy that. With notch (and I do own a notch lapel tux jacket from before I was very fashion conscious that I now rarely wear as I have a shawl lapel model), I just feel like I'm wearing a fancy suit.
I have to somewhat agree. When someone is wearing a tuxedo, they are usually attending a social/special event, not a board meeting. Typically, one would not wear a peak lapel suit for business. So for me, black tie is a way of doing away with all the typical characteristics of a business suit. For this reason, my dj is a 1-button, peak lapels, and have no vents. All my suits are 2-button, notch, and mostly dual vented. That might be a big part of the reason why the traditional tuxedo has peak lapels.
 

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But if the argument is that a notch lapel is too much like an ordinary business suit, why is a peak lapel not too much like every run of the mill double breasted navy blazer out there with their peak lapels? And as for shawl lapels, Amy Vanderbilt considered them to be no more formal than a notch lapel.

I just don't see all of the distinctions that some people make. A tuxedo is unique from business suits in far more ways than the style of lapel. A notch lapel tuxedo looks no more like a business suit than a double breasted peak lapel tuxedo looks like a double breasted peak lapel business suit. Personally I enjoy seeing a variety of styles rather than everyone walking around looking like clones of each other. :icon_smile:

Cruiser
We know you don't see the distinction...so leave this to those who do.
 

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But if the argument is that a notch lapel is too much like an ordinary business suit, why is a peak lapel not too much like every run of the mill double breasted navy blazer out there with their peak lapels? And as for shawl lapels, Amy Vanderbilt considered them to be no more formal than a notch lapel.

I just don't see all of the distinctions that some people make. A tuxedo is unique from business suits in far more ways than the style of lapel. A notch lapel tuxedo looks no more like a business suit than a double breasted peak lapel tuxedo looks like a double breasted peak lapel business suit. Personally I enjoy seeing a variety of styles rather than everyone walking around looking like clones of each other. :icon_smile:

Cruiser
Fair points but we come back to the element of tradition and the original styling. My view is simply that the more elements from a common business suit (like notch lapels or FIH ties) are interjected into the traditional formula, the less the garment deserves to be called a tuxedo. I'm not sinless in this area as I always wear a fly-front shirt with no studs. I personally prefer that look but if someone came up to me and told me I wasn't being technically correct I wouldn't disagree.
 

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Non-sequitur, unless you mean "a few folks at Esquire magazine". The Esquire piece advises going with a peak lapel. Why must you use that to again re-open your long-standing crusade to convince AAAC participants of the merits of notch-lapel dinner jackets?

How do you know that the men you list know the difference? I'd say the notch is becoming the default of those who don't know, or care about, the difference.
AGREED!!!
 

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"Oh, and lose the cuffs. You really don't need them."

What are they talking about? Cuffs on the dinner jacket?

"1) George Clooney often wears a notch lapel, so it must be all right"

Seriously, what happened to his shawl lapels? It was just last year or so...



Cruiser: No offence, but I think it's about time you've retired the argument for notch lapels. You have a right to your opinion of course, but neither you nor other forum denizens here seem destined to budge on their opinions. On top of that, it really IS a good choice to go with peaks or shawls when first buying a dinner jacket. All the authorities agree.
 

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"Oh, and lose the cuffs. You really don't need them."

What are they talking about? Cuffs on the dinner jacket?

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I believe they were referring to cuffs on the trousers. Regardless of lapels, can we all agree that cuffs (turn ups for our British friends) are a mistake in formal wear?
 

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Cruiser: No offence, but I think it's about time you've retired the argument for notch lapels. You have a right to your opinion of course, but neither you nor other forum denizens here seem destined to budge on their opinions. On top of that, it really IS a good choice to go with peaks or shawls when first buying a dinner jacket. All the authorities agree.
Well said.
 

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But if the argument is that a notch lapel is too much like an ordinary business suit, why is a peak lapel not too much like every run of the mill double breasted navy blazer out there with their peak lapels?
Cruiser
Do you get a lot of guys running around in double-breasted navy blazers in central Tennessee, Cruiser--so many that it is a commonplace sight? The "Commodore Phony" look isn't too big out my way, despite my living within walking distance of two yacht clubs. A guy did wear a DB blazer (coupled with jeans) to my third and final (I trust) wedding. However, the guy (my bride's son) was nine years old at the time. Other than that, seeing a guy in DB blazer is a once-in-a-blue-moon event.
 

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But if the argument is that a notch lapel is too much like an ordinary business suit, why is a peak lapel not too much like every run of the mill double breasted navy blazer out there with their peak lapels? And as for shawl lapels, Amy Vanderbilt considered them to be no more formal than a notch lapel.

I just don't see all of the distinctions that some people make. A tuxedo is unique from business suits in far more ways than the style of lapel. A notch lapel tuxedo looks no more like a business suit than a double breasted peak lapel tuxedo looks like a double breasted peak lapel business suit. Personally I enjoy seeing a variety of styles rather than everyone walking around looking like clones of each other. :icon_smile:

Cruiser
I'm with Cruiser.
The problem isn't the notch/step lapel. It's those disgusting multibutton/buttonless jackets. One-button wearers must unite for the fight.
 
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