Formal Wear Styles : Notch
The notch lapel option is for the gentleman who wants maximum versatility out of his wedding suit, and to be able to wear it regularly following the big day. While notch lapels are typically seen as too casual for formalwear, we at Thomas Henry don’t believe there are only two rules of menswear – save black for formalwear and never button the bottom button of your jacket. Otherwise, the choice really is your and there are no right or wrong answers with suiting, so if you want a formalwear piece that has a notch lapel, by all means go for what you love.
Formal Wear Styles : Shawl
The shawl collar is characterized by a continuous, curved edge and is an elegant choice for any formal event for wedding. The shawl lapel is found most commonly on tuxedos for black tie events, as well as on smoking/ dinner jackets. Typically made in black satin, we at Thomas Henry also like our shawl lapels in a velvet (especially on the smoking jacket). From Frank Sinatra to Daniel Craig, the shawl collar has been a favorite for celebrities at black tie events for decades.
Formal Wear Styles : Peak
Peak lapels are so named for their upward pointed tips. Peak lapels are typically seen as more formal and are usually wider than the notch lapel, It is a challenge for a cutter to properly cut and shape the lapel properly, and it takes a high degree of skill to do so. As peaked lapels give off a classic, elegant vibe they are the standard for formal wear.
Formal Wear Styles : In-Line Peak
Thomas Henry also has a modern variation on the classic shawl collar lapel we call the “in-line” peak lapel. The is like a combination of a peak and shawl lapel, in that the collar is mainly constructed like a traditionally shawl, however there is a cut-out along the collar where the break in the peak lapel would typically be, but which is sewn in and fixed. This serves to break-up the uniform swoop of the classic shawl lapel, and gives a different styling option.
We at Thomas Henry typically recommend the inline peak lapel when you want to do something a little bit different, either on your everyday suit or a little bit unique in your formal wear. This is especially apt for smoking jackets, modern tuxedos or a new additional to a navy suit that is a little bit out of the ordinary. It won’t be the first lapel type you have in your rotation, but it certainly deserves a place for the gentleman with a distinguished wardrobe.
Formal Wear Styles : Morning Coat
Like most formalwear etiquette, the proscription against donning evening wear during the day is not simply an arbitrary custom but a matter of aesthetic logic. The tuxedo and tailcoat take their black color from their after-dark surroundings and in this context they imbue their wearer with elegance, power and even an air of mystery. When worn in broad daylight, however, black suits look dull and lifeless and tend to make (Caucasian) men’s faces appear ashen which is what makes them so appropriate for traditional funeral director attire.
Conversely, while formal day coats are also usually black they are typically the only occurrence of ebony in morning dress (the traditional term for formal day wear). Their somberness is offset by non-matching gray trousers – which are themselves enlivened with striped or checked patterns – and by the addition of tastefully colored ties, waistcoats and even shirts. The end result is an ensemble immensely more suitable for daylight and delightfully more open to personalization than a tuxedo is, yet at the same time significantly more formal than a regular suit. It is no wonder this genteel tradition remains commonplace in Britain and at the same time perplexing that it became highjacked in America.
Formal Wear Styles : Cutaway
Another style of the morning coat, the most formal version is by far the most popular and features a type of tailcoat known as a cutaway. In Britain it is worn by grooms, groomsmen and guests at formal church weddings and for formal daytime events in the presence of The Queen such as Royal Ascot and Trooping the Colour.
In North America its appearance is largely limited to formal weddings prior to 6 o’clock and even then is extremely rare – although perfectly correct.
Formal Wear Styles : Tails
A tailcoat is a traditional English garment worn for dress occasions. It is a coat with the front of the skirt cut away, so as to leave only the rear section, known as the tails. The historical reason coats were cut this way was to make it easier for the wearer to ride a horse, but over the years tailcoats of varying types have evolved into forms of formal dress for both day and evening wear.
Although there are several different types of tailcoat, the term tailcoat is popularly taken to be synonymous with the type of dress coat still worn today in the evening with white tie. This dress coat, one of the two main surviving tailcoats, is a dark evening coat with a squarely cut away front. The other one is the cutaway, which is cut away at the front in a gradual taper.
The evening tailcoat is further differentiated in that it must fit the torso snugly even though it is cut so that it cannot be closed or buttoned. This can only be accomplished by having it contour to the wearer’s body perfectly. Therefore, unless a man has proportions virtually identical to a pre-made tailcoat, he will need to invest in the considerable expense of dress suit that is custom made for his physique.
Formal Wear Styles : Nehru
The Nehru jacket is a tailored jacket that traces its origin to the Mughal Empire in India, and increased in usage during the post-independence era from 1947 up to 1970. The jacket is named after Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, who was an important part of the Indian independence movement, and became the first Prime Minister of India.
Based on the traditional Indian achkan garment, it is distinguished from a traditional, Western-style suit jacket by the band-style, mandarin collar, which was originally a part of court dress in northern India. The band collar is a short stand-up collar that is not turned down and does not feature a lapel.
The Nehru jacket also increased in popularity in the 1960s in American and Britain, most famously with The Beatles and the English Mod styles of dress, and the Bond villain Dr. No. It remains popular today for traditional South Asian weddings, with a modern twist. This version for Thomas Henry is cut shorter than the traditional achkan garments (which is typically knee length), this jacket is made to end below the hips like a typical suit jacket.
By Appointment Only
We aren’t an ordinary retail shop. Instead, we aim for an approachable, personable service where we can take the time to get to know you and your style. We schedule appointments either at your home, your office or our studio space (depending on the type and length of the appointment). A great-fitting, custom suit can’t be rushed – whether in its design, tailoring, or getting to know the clothier you are working with to make sure it the custom garments are made just right for you.
Please do reach out to Thomas Henry Made if you have any questions or you are ready to get started.