Tuxedo lapel: Peak or Notch?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by pkiula, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    I've never seen a notch lapel on a tuxedo that looked good.
     
  2. JFKJean

    JFKJean Senior member

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    Word to the entire male cast of "Arrested Development".
     
  3. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    Then how do you explain shawl? It's the most informal lapel style, despite assertions to the contrary. It originated on casual smoking jackets, while notch lapels aren't actually all that informal. They were commonly seen on morning coats in the era we're talking about. If notch was considered as informal as some are trying to make it out to be, it wouldn't have come within a mile of formal daywear, would it? Shawl, of course, was never seen in that realm.

    The tuxedo was not simply descended from white tie. It was actually a dressed up version of the smoking jacket. Gentlemen found their velvet smoking jackets much more comfortable than evening attire, which was rather universally hated. So they had these much more comfortable jackets made up in plain black wool and dressed up to imitate formal attire, so as to be appropriate for informal dinners (which were a source of much confusion at the time). By the way, that leap can be traced directly to the 19 year old future King Edward VII, falling in 1860. Henry Poole apparently keeps good records, though apparently that garment was a blue silk smoking jacket, though ordered with matching trousers, kind of an in between phase.

    Tailcoats were only peak, true. But the Tuxedo has notch lapels since the 20's, when it really became solidified as the standard attire, with the tailcoat being reserved only for special occasions. That's the same time, BTW, that things like link fronts, midnight blue, or double breasted coats became acceptable, things that most here would never question.

    It's not about formality. That's an excuse, and a poor one. If that was true, shawl would be shunned as well. It's not.

    Read through the history section on blacktieguide.com. They do it far more justice then I ever could.
     
  4. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    I would tend to agree, but that is an entirely different matter than whether or not it is traditionally correct.
     
  5. Loathing

    Loathing Senior member

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    ^^^
    I agree that 'correct' formal wear has often been a hazy area and source of confusion, and as a result I wouldn't categorically claim that "notch is less correct than peak". But I stand by my argument that people perceive the peak to be more formal because of it's relation to white tie, and also because it looks better, not out of snobbiness.

    With regard to shawl lapels: as far as I know they crept into formal wear only on white jackets originally, because the shape complements the cummerbund and the colonial aesthetic in general. So whilst the shawl is less formal, it's allowed to be because it's worn in the relatively informal summer months only (or when on holiday, &c.).

    Now days things are very flexible with regard to peak, notch, shawl, midnight blue, cream, &c.. But I think there is a commonly acknowledge hierarchy, i.e.:
    peak + black = most formal;
    notch + black = less formal, but always acceptable;
    shawl +/or midnight blue/white/cream, &c. = bit flashy, not for v. conservative events;
    anything more outré = v. flashy, private parties or 'fun' events only.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  6. landshark

    landshark Senior member

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    I would wear shawl/midnight blue/cream before I wore a black notch tuxedo.I think it looks terrible.
     
  7. Loathing

    Loathing Senior member

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    Yup, I'd never wear a notch personally. Nonetheless, I see a 50/50 ratio of peak/notch at every black tie event I can remember.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  8. HomerJ

    HomerJ Senior member

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    You're incorrect about the history.

    They seem to have expanded that section. Nice illustrations.
     
  9. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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    pkiula - I am surprised that you started this thread.

    Aside from the obvious stacks of previous, identical threads, you have been around for 2 years and should know better how these threads end up.

    The noobs or senior members who should know better will get a headstart initially and breathlessly uphold their version of orthodoxy, naturally based on limited/no knowledge. This group includes the first 4-5 posters on this thread.

    The more informed members will filter in with a little more informed history. Some might post up ancient AA or similar illustrations from 19-0-something showing notch lapel tuxedos. cptjeff is doing a good job of this.

    A minority of members will come up with idiosyncratic (and completely wrong) views re: the origins and justifications behind various tuxedo options and how the notch is completely, always, 'wrong'. They will not back down despite being presented with contrary evidence. Loathing is doing a good job of this.

    And yet others will offer correct and/or more nuanced views on why you should perhaps avoid a notch lapel.

    And so on...


    Your spirit is to be lauded. Now if only you could get the facts right.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  10. lemmywinks

    lemmywinks Senior member

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    I rented a shawl lapel for my first prom then got a peak lapel made. I kinda prefer the Shawl because less people wear it imo.
     
  11. Loathing

    Loathing Senior member

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    I admit that all of my 'historical' knowledge comes exclusively by word-of-mouth. However, I did make the effort to google these things before posting any 'facts', and I did manage to find something somewhere to reinforce every single point. Clearly google isn't a reliable source. But, cpftjeff's claim that peaks are favoured out of snobbishness is far more idiosyncratic and unfounded than anything that I said.


    I also don't understand where you got this idea. Maybe you just skim-read my posts, because your accusation doesn't match the content of my posts. I've spoken to various tailors about the subject and they've all highlighted how the correctness of black tie was constantly hazy since its birth, and therefore there aren't many clear answers. That's exactly what I've tried to communicate in this thread, along with some of the word-of-mouth and perceptions over here in London & the Home Counties (at least in my circles). (Bear in mind, my father is 80 years old, went to St. John's Oxford, went on to become a High Court Judge, and is a member of Brooks's, the O&C Club, RAC, and Hurlingham: you can't get closer to the source of black tie than that, really.)

    Finally, I would love to hear where you got your authoritative history of black tie. (That's not meant to be snarky, I'm genuinely interested on where I might find an authority.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  12. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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    http://www.blacktieguide.com/History/04-Victorian_Late_Etiquette_&_DJ.htm

    After reading it, you may instead see that ...


    ... may instead show how far your father is from the origin of black tie/the tuxedo in the form we recognise and accept as canonical today.


    In the context of SF, it rings perfectly true.

    I don't think that one could argue against the perceived jump in 'fanciness' of the peak over the garden variety notch here on SF, and (as we have seen in this thread) there will always be lemmings who will argue against the notch tuxedo wiith the veneer of an argument that it is 'less formal' while simultaneously accepting the idea of shawl tuxedo.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  13. Loathing

    Loathing Senior member

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    ^^^
    Oh God, I've just remembered you're that insolent little prick who has adopted arrogance as a substitute for intelligence.
    In light of that, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree.
    I can't be bothered to repeat myself.
    And now that you've presented fucking www.blacktieguide.com as your authority, we're clearly not going to get anything interesting out of your subsequent replies.
     
  14. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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    Have you actually read it?

    Or are you going to stick to (as you put it) 'word of mouth'?

    So you dismiss things out of hand, and then talk about substituting arrogance for intelligece. I'm not sure whether to :rolleyes: or :rotflmao:.

    Either way - your loss.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  15. Maccimus

    Maccimus Senior member

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    Peak LOOKS better.
     

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