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Suit Lapel Width

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Sunday, April 17th, 2011 in Q&As

As a general rule-of-thumb, what is the best lapel width for a man’s blazer or suit? What width is too wide and what width is too narrow?

While typically mens lapels are sized based on the shoulder size of the suit jacket, suit makers are increasingly using fixed-size lapels for ease of use or merely to make a fashion statement. With that being said, the “average” lapel is approximately (but again, not always) about 2.5-3″, where narrower lapels (see: J.Crew, etc) are about 2″, and fashion-forward casual blazer lapels can be as small as 1″.

Two considerations go into determining the ideal lapel size for your suit — (1) your shoulder width and (2) the size of your ties. If your shoulders are broad (I’d say a 44 shoulder or above), you want a regular (if not a larger) lapel to balance your shoulders out. If you have an average shoulder size (40-43 or so), feel free to go for a 3″ or 2″ lapel — the latter are more stylish now and smack more of the ’50s, but they may go out of style. If you have especially small shoulders, definitely try to avoid anything over 2″, as the lapels will look overbearing.

No matter what you do, remember that you want your ties to be proportional to your lapels — if your lapels are narrow, go for a narrower tie. Doing otherwise will look imbalanced and show too much/too little shirt.

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