Apologize if you believe this post is out of place on this thread, however, GMMCL has pointed out on a number of threads that the gorge of a jacket, as much as any other factor, dates the jacket and reduces its overall desirability. (When I joined style forum last year, I had no idea what a gorge even was.) Other factors, such as shoulder padding, lapel width and more are also factors, but in some ways, those are better understood. I asked him if he would explain his view on gorge in a PM and he sent me a nice explanation with accompanying photos. I took his photos, made them all the same size so they were easier to compare and then tried to illustrate his points with overlays. So any credit for the thought work here should go to Greg. Any errors are mine.
I hope his tutorial helps you as much as it did me.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
First of all, what the heck is the gorge? When I first started looking into this, I believed it was just the tailors name for the notch. However, in this thread over at AAAC (http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?51688-blazer-gorge ), Chris Despos explained and Alex P. illustrated that the gorge is technically “the line where the collar and lapel are joined”, ending at the notch.
With that in mind, this first photo outlines a current style jacket and labels the relevant parts of the jacket.
There are three factors to consider:
Gorge placement (How high the point of the notch is)
Gorge angle (How acute/narrow (think fish mouth) is the angle of the seam from the point of the lapel)
Direction and size of the Notch (at different points, the notch widened and narrowed, and in some appeared to point down, instead of down.
Those factors are demonstrated here in this graphic. Note that the yellow dashed line in all subsequent graphics is as the shoulder line to give us a comparison point in all the photos.
Note in red, the dashed line that goes from notch to notch. The small red line between the yellow line and the red line shows the placement of the gorge. On the right lapel, I’ve put the angle of the notch there which will be used to compare in other jackets. On the left lapel, the angle of the notch is highlighted.
This is just about as classic as it gets: mid gorge placement, facing shoulder, Notch is approximately ~90 degrees:
This next photo is of a Hickey Freeman Cashmere jacket. This is an example of a low gorge: Look how low on the jacket the gorge rests.
- Note the line connecting the notches and how much lower it is relative to the yellow shoulder line.
- The angle of the gorge is also radically different. For reference, the white dashed lines are the same angle as our reference jacket above. The red line is the angle of this jacket. Not quite double, but radically more vertical than the reference angle.
- Finally, on the left notch, I’ve overlaid the notch angle from above, the red dashed line shows that this jacket is more open than the reference jacket.
This is about the best example I have. Not dramatic, but if you compare it to the one above above, you can see the difference. Notice how the line connecting the notches is exactly on the shoulder line.. It's even higher with more "fashonable" Italian labels. However, the gorge angle and the notch angle are identical to the reference jacket.
Wide or Down-pointing Notch:
Acute, almost fish-mouth gorge (suits from the 70s are even worse, plus they face downwards -- very dated). Note that even though the height is between our reference and our high examples, the notch angle is more open and pointing down more.
The Age Trifecta:
And here's the trifecta: Low gorge placement, slightly acute gorge angle, and downward facing. This is very typical of Oxxford even until recently and it makes the suit look SUPER dated.
And finally, all the jackets side by side.
Hopefully this post will contribute to your thrift store shopping success.