Suit Jackets and Lapels Explained 

The versatility of suit jackets lies in their ability to accommodate different body types and suit various occasions. There are different types of suit jackets and lapels. We take a look at the various styles and what you might choose to wear for a particular occasion.

Let’s start with suit jackets and the main differences between single-breasted suits, double-breasted suits, tuxedos, and three-piece suits:

Type Description Occasion
Single-Breasted Features a single row of buttons and a narrow overlap of fabric. Business meetings, casual, everyday
Double-Breasted Has two rows of buttons and a wider overlap of fabric, creating a more formal look. Formal events, weddings
Tuxedo A formal suit with satin or grosgrain facings on the lapels and buttons, and side stripes on pants. Black-tie events
Three-Piece Includes a matching vest in addition to the jacket and trousers. Business formal, special occasions

So your everyday suit jacket, one that you might wear out for dinner, or to a business meeting, would be the single-breasted jacket. A guest at a wedding or a more formal event may opt for a double-breasted jacket while a more formal occasion may require the hire of a tuxedo or 3-piece suit. The everyday suits/jackets are the suits you would probably choose to buy as you are likely to get more than one wear out of them. It is often more cost-effective to hire a more formal suit. It depends how often you attend such events.

Suit jacket styles


This style is a staple in men’s fashion, featuring a single row of buttons down the front. It can range from classic two-button designs to more modern three-button or one-button configurations. Single-breasted jackets are versatile and can be worn for both formal and casual events.


Double-breasted jackets feature two parallel rows of buttons on the front. They often exude a more formal and structured appearance compared to single-breasted jackets. Double-breasted jackets are popular for business settings, formal occasions, and weddings.


A three-piece suit includes a matching vest (waistcoat) in addition to the jacket and trousers. The vest adds an extra layer of sophistication and can be worn to elevate the overall look, especially for formal events and business settings.


Slim-fit jackets are tailored closely to the body, creating a sleek and modern silhouette. They feature narrower lapels, higher armholes, and a shorter length compared to regular-fit jackets. Slim-fit jackets are favoured by those who prefer a more fitted and contemporary style.


Regular-fit jackets offer a classic, relaxed fit with straight-cut lines. They provide more room in the chest and waist compared to slim-fit jackets, offering comfort and ease of movement. Regular-fit jackets are suitable for those who prefer a timeless and traditional appearance.


Lapels play a significant role in determining the overall style and formality of a suit. Here are some common types of suit lapels:

Notch Lapel

The most common type of lapel found on suit jackets, the notch lapel features a small notch where the lapel meets the collar, creating a “V” shape. It is versatile and suitable for both formal and casual occasions.

Peak Lapel

Peak lapels have edges that point up and towards the shoulders, forming a peak. They are often found on double-breasted jackets and are considered more formal than notch lapels, making them popular for business suits and formal events.

Shawl Lapel

Shawl lapels have a smooth, rounded edge without a notch or peak. They are commonly found on tuxedos and dinner jackets, giving them a sophisticated and elegant appearance. Shawl lapels are typically reserved for formal evening wear.

Grosgrain Lapel

Grosgrain lapels feature a strip of grosgrain fabric sewn along the edge of the lapel, adding texture and contrast to the jacket. They are commonly found on tuxedos and are considered a luxurious detail, especially when paired with satin or silk lapel facings.

Contrast Lapel

Contrast lapels use a different fabric or colour for the lapel compared to the rest of the jacket, creating a striking visual effect. This style is often seen in fashion-forward or bespoke suits, adding a unique touch to the overall design.

Notched Collar (for Tuxedos)

Some tuxedo jackets feature a notched collar instead of the traditional shawl or peak lapel. Notched collar tuxedos are less formal and are typically worn for more casual or contemporary events.

Wide Lapel

Wide lapels are broader than standard lapels, adding a bold and retro-inspired aesthetic to the suit. They were popular in the 1970s and have made a resurgence in recent years, particularly in fashion-forward and vintage-inspired designs.

These are some of the most common types of suit lapels, each offering its own unique style and character. The choice of lapel can greatly influence the overall look and feel of the suit, so it’s essential to consider the occasion and personal preference when selecting a lapel style.

If you are looking to hire a suit for an occasion, or just want to browse our selection of suits for sale, we would be more than happy to help. Just get in touch to book an appointment.

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