A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In Praise of The Single-breasted Peaked Lapel Suit

An Uptown Dandy, left, 
in his single-breasted peaked lapel three-piece suit.

Its always interesting to check in at Put This On to see what Jesse, Derek and the crew over there are talking about. Their eBay finds are always a veritable treasure trove, and they always offer insightful and practical advice on what to wear and how to wear it. One of Derek's recent posts focused on the single-breasted peaked lapel suit of Jeff from Louisville (aka The Thrifty Gent). And there are the usual helpful suggestions to ensure that you'll wear it well. And the point about the button stance is a very good one (you can find Derek's post here). 

Jeff, the Thrifty Gent, in his single-breasted peaked lapel suit.

Jeff''s suit actually looks quite similar to my favorite suit, which is also from Ralph Lauren's Purple Label. Of course, if you're going to experiment with the peaked lapel single-breasted, there is something to be said for the classically elegant appearance of the single-breasted peaked lapel suit with a vest. In my opinion, the vest helps to offset the more pronounced lines of the peaked lapel, particularly on the RLPL model with its wider contours.

George Raft, center, in Night After Night, 
in single-breasted peaked lapel three-piece suit.

One final consideration: the single-breasted three-piece suit with peaked lapels was something of a staple during the golden age of men's style. George Raft was one of many adherents to the style, and he wore it to great effect in many films, including the classic Night After Night in 1932. Raft's custom-made version of the three-piece classic provides an example of what Derek refers to as the truncated lapels, because it does feature a button placement that is considerably higher than the actual waistline. But this might have also taken into account the high-backed trousers of the era, which essentially raised the appearance of the waistline to the eye of the casual observer. The combination of vest and high-waisted trouser prevents the unsightly gap of exposed shirt and belt that is prominent today because of the popularity of low-rise trousers and shorter jackets. In any event, Raft's higher arm-hole placement and structured shoulder complete what is an absolutely stunning silhouette. Unfortunately for Raft's, Night After Night featured Mae West's scene-stealing film debut, but thankfully the single-breasted peaked lapel suit is apparently still going strong.


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