- Jacket Lapel Étiquette
- When is it appropriate to wear a Notch Lapel / When is it not appropriate to wear a Notch Lapel
- When is it appropriate to wear a Peak Lapel / When is it not appropriate to wear a Peak Lapel
- When it is appropriate to wear a Shawl Lapel / When is it not appropriate to wear a Shawl Lapel
- Trousers Étiquette
- Belt loops vs. suspenders
- Full Break vs No Break vs Negative Break
- Pleat vs No Pleat
- Cuff vs No Cuff
- Interview Attire Étiquette
- What color/style suit is appropriate / What color/style suit is not appropriate?
- What color/style shirt is appropriate / What color/style shirt is not appropriate?
- What color/style tie is appropriate / What color/style tie is not appropriate?
- Black Tie Étiquette
- What is the definition of Black Tie?
- Is it approbate to wear a Neck Tie vs Bow Tie vs No Tie?
- Is it appropriate to wear a Black Suit instead of a Black Tuxedo?
- Is it appropriate to wear Dark Blue instead of Black?
The term “canvas” is one that many people don’t encounter until venturing into the world of made-to-measure, tailor-made, or bespoke suiting, so it can be a source of much confusion. More specifically, “canvas” refers to what is also known as a “canvas Interlining”.
At JHolden Bespoke, all our suits are carefully crafted with a Half Canvas construction as standard, but clients can choose a Full Canvas construction instead if they wish. What’s the point of a canvas interlining? What’s the difference between half canvas vs full canvas? We’re glad you asked.
The canvas interlining is typically made from horsehair (often blended with cotton) or synthetic fabric. As the word “Interlining” suggests, a layer of this fabric is sandwiched between the cloth you see on the outside, and the lining you see on the inside.
The purpose of the canvas interlining is to give the suit jacket support and shape, a bit like a skeleton. Indeed, this internal layer (along with other hidden components, such as shoulder padding) is also often referred to as a suit’s “structure”.
As you can see from the diagram, the half canvas construction quite literally extends from the padded shoulder to about halfway down the jacket body. This allows for a robust and well-shaped shoulder structure - a very important part of a well-fitting jacket - and also ensures the jacket tapers elegantly towards the waist.
Because it requires considerably less work than a fully canvassed suit, a half canvassed suit is a cheaper option that still provides much-needed structure. It will feel noticeably more robust and comfortable, and will be better-fitting than a fused suit without canvas (certainly more so than an unstructured jacket). At the same time, a half canvassed suit is also lighter and less structured than a fully canvassed suit. With that said, many customers actually prefer the lighter weight and less-structured feel of a half canvas suit jacket, especially in warmer weather.
The full canvas option extends further down the jacket’s front, adding additional structure and weight and allowing the suit jacket to mold more accurately to your shape with a superior drape. In short, a full canvas suit will fit better than any other option.
Canvas also improves the durability of a jacket by distributing tension from stress points (such as the elbows and shoulders). Canvas construction also helps a bespoke suit cope with the rigors of dry cleaning, and of course, a full canvas suit means more canvas interlining to provide durability.
The only real downside to a full canvas suit is the added cost, as its construction is a more involved and lengthy process. However, there is once again an element of personal preference here: a fully canvassed suit jacket does feel heavier and more structured on the body. While some customers prefer this, others favor the more lightweight feel of a half canvas suit.
The notched lapel is the venerable standard in men’s suiting. It’s traditional yet contemporary and will be found on jackets ranging from your weekend sportcoat to your go-to business suit. By definition, the notched lapel is categorized by a ‘notch’ where the jacket collar meets the lapel at a 75 – 90 deg angle. If you have one suit, make it a notched lapel, simply because this style is the most versatile. You can wear it to work, to the bar, to an interview, just about anywhere you like.
If you are used to buying off-the-rack suits then you’ve probably owned all notched lapel suits. On the other hand, with bespoke suiting, you have the choice. You may even adjust the size of the notch. For instance, a slimmer lapel demands a very subdued notch, whereas a wider lapel has more room for creativity.
Tip: If you only need one suit, make it a notched lapel, but go with a dark charcoal or near-black fabric selection. This way, you can still navigate a formal event when paired with a black silk tie and white pocket square.
Body type considerations? None at all. As a testament to the versatility of this lapel, all guys can make this look good. A notched lapel will even take you to some rather elegant occasions. However, if the event is significantly formal or if you are shopping for a double breasted suit, you better consider the alternative: the peaked lapel.
A peaked lapel is defined by the lapel edges pointing up and towards the shoulder. Traditionally, this lapel was seen in very formal garments like the morning coat or the tailcoat. In modern times this look is (unfairly?) constrained to the realm of executive offices and formal events. Similar to something like a collar bar, you can’t really dress down a peaked lapel.Whether it’s on a double breasted suit or not, you’ll stand out from the crowd. If you choose to widen the lapel and then go peaked, well, now you are really making a statement.
Regardless, don’t shy away from the peaked look. Yes, it’s generally a more formal look than the notched lapel, but is there anything wrong with dressing up? Of course not! Aside from turning some heads at a wedding you’ll look great in your Denver office.
Tip: If you are a shorter guy looking to gain a few virtual inches, give this lapel a try. Similar to the effect of wearing a slim suit, a peaked lapel will induce a lengthening effect by moving the eyes upward towards the shoulders. Larger guys may also employ this technique to lose a few virtual pounds by appearing taller. Wear a dark suit and the effect is amplified.
The shawl collar (sometimes referred to as “shawl lapel” or “roll collar”) is one of the three main types of men’s suit jacket lapels. However, it’s both one of the most exclusive and unique designs.
First things first: the term “shawl lapel” is a bit of a misnomer. Why? The shawl style is all collar, even though it extends to where the lapel typically is and technically becomes a lapel at that point.
We say that it’s “all collar” because, unlike peaked or notch lapels, there’s no separation between the collar and lapel. It’s all one piece.
Still, the term “shawl lapel” gets used despite technically being an oxymoron, and it’s important to be aware of it.
Shawl collars live almost exclusively in the world of black tie. You’ll never see this lapel style on a business suit (where notched lapels are the appropriate option), and you shouldn’t see it worn during the daytime either.
It’s a holdover detail from the men’s smoking jacket, which is why the shawl collar looks a bit like a detail you’d see on a bathrobe, albeit much dressier.