Men's Lapels Reach A New Peak
After years of slim, subtle notch lapels on men's suits, some labels -- from high-end designer Tom Ford to fast-fashion retailer Zara -- are trying to nudge men into bolder, more pronounced lapels.
In some cases, the lapels are wider. In others, the lapels 'peak' upward. And in some spring 2013 collections, the lapels are both wider and peak.
These lapels are a far cry from the slimmer notch lapels that have reigned in menswear in recent years. And this means that most men won't already have these styles in their closets. It also means some men will feel compelled to buy these new lapel suits to stay current -- at least that's what designers and retailers are hoping.
Men are being presented with an ever-growing range of lapel options on single-breasted jackets: narrow notch lapels, wide-notch lapels, narrow-peak lapels and wide-peak lapels, in addition to standard-width notch and peak lapels. Brands pushing wider or peak -- and sometimes both wider and peak -- lapels on single-breasted jackets this spring include Alexander McQueen, Billy Reid, Gucci, Giorgio Armani and J.Crew.
Peak lapels also appear on Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann's 'The Great Gatsby' movie opening May 10. Brooks Brothers, which collaborated on the men's costumes for the film, currently sells a white peak-lapel suit based on one the actor wears in the film.
It takes a lot to compel a man to buy a new suit, research shows. The average man purchases a new suit once every two and half to three years, according to Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, a retail information provider. That's an eternity in the world of retail. And unless a man has a special occasion (formal family event, job interview), or his lifestyle has changed (divorce, dating again) or he has a suit that has worn out or no longer fits, he's not in the market for a suit.
The average man now owns two suits, if that, Mr. Cohen says. Before the dot-com era ushered in more casual workplace attire, men were more likely to have at least three suits in their closets.
High-end menswear designer Michael Bastian, who has been pushing peak lapels as well as slightly wider lapels, says 'everyone is kind of getting bored with the idea of the three-button notch-lapel jacket. There's got to be more beyond that. There are guys out there looking for something a little different.' By 'different' he also means the surprising single-breasted jackets with shawl lapels in his recent lines. Those more formal lapels are typically found on tuxedo jackets.
For upscale menswear label Canali, the choice to emphasize the peak lapel on single-breasted suits 'follows the spring collection's intention of revisiting a retro, dandy style, ' says Elisabetta Canali, the granddaughter of the brand's founder and the company's communications director. The peak lapel on a single-breasted jacket is 'a different style for those people who want to dress in a more formal way and appear more fashion forward.'
The peak lapel's origins lie in formal wear. It was typically found on tailcoats and eventually on tuxedo jackets, according to Alan Flusser, author of menswear guide 'Dressing the Man, ' and a custom tailor.
Double-breasted suits rose in popularity during the 1920s, which increased the visibility of peak lapels. As a result, peak lapels on single-breasted jackets grew popular, especially during the summer months as a cooler alternative to double-breasted jackets, with their overlapping fronts and additional fabric that made men warmer.
Since then, the single-breasted jacket with a peak lapel has gone in and out of fashion; the notch lapel on a single-breasted jacket has endured as the top seller in the U.S.
In the 1950s and '60s, notch lapels went narrower. In the '70s, lapels got wider and peak lapels began to trend again. The '80s saw the revival of double-breasted suits, reigniting interest in peak lapels. Minimalism in the '90s favored the single-breasted suit with subtler notch lapels. Slimmer-fitting suits in the past decade called for narrower notch lapels.
Until recently, a peak lapel on a single-breasted jacket was hard to find anywhere except on a custom-made suit.
Retailers don't expect peak lapels to replace notch lapels, but rather to become trendier additions to men's wardrobes. 'It's a fashion statement, ' says Tom Kalenderian, general merchandise manager of men's at Barneys New York. Barneys is carrying peak-lapel single-breasted jackets from brands including Lanvin and Prada. The retailer highlighted a peak-lapel single-breasted Armani suit in a recent print advertisement and in its spring mailer sent to customers. Sales of single-breasted peak-lapel jackets have so far been strongest with fashion-forward men, 'not your typical Wall Street guy, ' Mr. Kalenderian says.
Wider lapels may be a tough sell for retailers, as it took a long time to convince men to squeeze into the recently popular slimmer suits with narrow lapels.
Online retailer Gilt now sells some peak-lapel single-breasted suits, 'but the vast majority is still in the single-breasted notch, ' says Tyler Thoreson, Gilt's vice president of men's editorial and creative. 'The way a number of men are wearing their suits is not necessarily for work, ' he says. 'It's all about a more casual, less structured take on tailoring right now, which works better with a notch lapel.'
Indeed, that's one of the potential challenges of the peak lapel. Because it is considered more formal, the theory goes, it makes a single-breasted suit or sport coat harder to dress down -- say, without a tie and with dark jeans -- than a notch lapel.
Some labels have attempted to make the peak-lapel sport coat more versatile and casual. Clothier Paul Stuart sells peak-lapel single-breasted sport coats in silk-wool and silk-linen blends in colors such as plum and royal blue in its Phineas Cole line, which is aimed at more youthful, fashion-conscious customers.
Banana Republic showed a black-velvet blazer with a narrow peak lapel worn with a turtleneck and dark plaid wool trousers for its fall 2013 collection. The look 'shows a new way to wear the peak lapel, ' says Simon Kneen, Banana Republic's creative director.
To make a peak-lapel sport coat more casual, Julie Rath, a men's style consultant, recommends finding one in a less-dressy fabric such as linen, hopsack or chambray, or selecting a subtler peak if the fabric is wool or silk. Also, a jacket with a patch pocket is generally considered more casual. The jacket can be worn with a henley shirt over a nice T-shirt with dark jeans for a dressy yet casual feel.
A notch lapel can look good worn with a shirt open at the collar and no tie -- the way many men wear their suits in a sportier way outside of work. But this casual style rarely looks good with a peak lapel, as the peak is too formal. 'It wouldn't be my first choice' for a gentleman looking to go without a tie, says Ms. Rath. 【已有很多网友发表了看法，点击参与讨论】【对英语不懂，点击提问】【英语论坛】【返回首页】