Thursday, February 14, 2008

Peak lapel performance

In the book "Dressing the Man," (HarperCollins, 2002) author Alan Flusser defines what a peaked lapel is:

A lapel cut on an upward slant, coming to a point and leaving only a narrow space between the collar and lapel. Usually found on double-breasted coats, but sometimes in single-breasted coats. This style of tailcoat lapel gives suits or sport jackts a more formal, dressy look.

There's definitely a throwback, classy vibe when seeing peak lapels on single-breasted, one- or two-button jackets. Such jackets, popular in the early 1900s, have not been easy to find on the rack, unless you're in the market for a tuxedo. However, this style is coming back for a rather stylish encore in business wear.

"Peak lapels and double vents are the two most requested items in single-breasted suits and sport coats today," said Benjamin Garibay, a men's clothing specialist at Saks Fifth Avenue in Houston. "Last season, Armani featured a Black two-button solid with both and it sold faster than anything else we carried."

Versace also has gotten into the single-breasted, peak-lapel act with its blue blazer with side vents. The jacket's gabardine pattern gives it a subtle sheen that makes it a versatile piece to go with denim, khakis or wool slacks.

I purchased my first single-breasted, peak-lapel suit a few years back, a tan Sean John model that remains one of my favorites for summer. The look is especially flattering on men who are tall or who have long torsos, where the button that's fastened at the waist produces a sleek "V" shape that accents the chest.

Bottom line: Single-breasted, peak lapel jackets bring out a bit more flair and formality without resorting to a tuxedo.

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