Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On stripes and lapels

I noticed some discussion on Noveporte about the positioning of stripes on the edge of a lapel and thought I would give my opinion on the matter here.

Because of the way I was trained, things like this just jump out at me, and strike me as being a bit careless. I understand that to others it may not be important. Notice the stripe line vis-a-vis the edge of the lapel.


People will point out that the edge of the lapel is not straight, and that DB lapels in particular benefit from a pronounced curve to the edge, and they are correct. The curve is quite noticeable in the photo above. Also very noticeable is the concave curve at the tip of the lapel which I find particularly objectionable. This curve also causes stripes to be cut off toward the top or the bottom of the lapel, another thing which I don't particularly like. You will see the stripes cutting off at the bottom of factory-made garments because it is not practical in an assembly line to do otherwise; sartorial, or bench-made garments, can be done differently.

I was taught that the edge of the facing should be worked up with the iron, stretching and shrinking the facing so that a nice belly can be cut, but that the stripe will still follow the shape. Notice in this photo that there is a pronounced belly (the yardstick is used to show the shape); notice also that the stripe, rather than running parallel to the yardstick (which is straight) follows the curve of the edge of the lapel.

Lapel DB2

The facing has been worked up so that the line will run straight, parallel, and won't be chopped off by the curved edge of the lapel. The result is that the shape draws much less attention to itself and is more subtle and harmonious. In my eye, anyway. And this is, of course, a matter of personal preference and as such is open to debate.

I much prefer this

lapel DB1

To this


but I have, after all, been brainwashed into thinking that.



there was a question about stripes cutting off. Here is an example of what I mean. You may have never noticed these things before, but once you start looking at them they can drive you a little crazy. Or maybe it's just me. But those sleeves are just dreamy.....


The stripe on the lapel on the right (wearer's left) has been highlighted to show (I hope I'm being more clear now) how the stripe is cut off by the shape of the lapel- the stripe is straight but the lapel is curved so the stripe stops 3/4 of the way down. On the left I have shown how the stripe would run if the facing had been worked up in the manner shown above- the stripe would run parallel to the edge all the way down the lapel despite the curve in its shape.


rnssnc is correct- this is a Tom Ford suit. I haven't examined one closely- I had a quick look when they first came out and my first impressions were quite good but I know they have made some changes since so I would rather not comment ( I would very much like to get my hands on one to have a good look but they are rather expensive, even on ebay). Certainly the "hanger appeal" as we call it in the trade is exemplary.