Introducing…”What is Wednesday”

Notch, Peak & Shawl Collar II

This will be a weekly Wednesday post aimed at answering some of the more basic and critical aspects of tailoring and the terminology we use to describe them. It stems from realizing that I’m constantly throwing out different terms with my clients and quite often they’re unsure as to what I exactly mean.  The goal of this section then is to alleviate this terminology gap and provide you with some know-how to talk tailoring with a little more ease.

What is…a notch, peak and shawl collar?

Before we get into the different types of collars I’ll address what we mean when we refer to the collar itself.  The collar is the part that wraps around your neck and joins with the lapels (the front of the jacket which folds back on itself).  It is how this is shaped that determines the type of collar.  With that in mind here are the three most prominent collars:

Notch, Peak & Shawl Collar


I’ll start in the lower right hand corner with the most commonly found collar style – the notch.  It literally looks like V or L shaped notch has been cut out creating a step effect between the lapel and the collar.  This style is always appropriate and is found on traditional business suits as well as on more casual jackets.  The one place you will never find it though is on a double breasted coat – come back next Wednesday to find out more about that subject.


Directly above the notch is the second most popular collar style – the peak.  The peak is exactly that – in this case the lapel holds its angle until its crests and falls back towards the collar where they are joined with little slip stitches.  This style is traditionally higher on the formality scale than the notch but more and more it’s being used in daily wear so no need to shy away if you appreciate its aesthetic.  The one place you will always find a peak lapel/collar style – double breasted jackets.


Lastly on the left is the most formal collar style – the shawl.  This style is almost exclusively found on tuxedo jackets and more often than not is done in a different fabric than the rest of the jacket itself.  The fact that it is a continuous collar that wraps around the neck and flows downwards to the first button makes it very elegant in appearance.

As always I’d love to hear your opinions on this or any sartorial subject for that matter.  Better yet book a free appointment and we can banter in person and see if we might be a good fit to work together.

Take care – Michael

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