Traditionally, peaked lapels are considered to be more formal than notched lapels. In the early days of the morning coat, the frock coat was considered to be the most formal garment, and as such it featured peaked lapels.
Morning Coat around 1910’s With Slim Notched Lapel
The morning coat, still a semi-formal garment, was often cut with notched lapels until the 1920’s. Especially in Germany, one could still see many two button, sometimes even three or four button, morning coats with notched lapels. With the decline of the frock coat, the morning coat moved up in terms of formality, and subsequently the peaked lapel became almost de rigueur.
Morning Coat with Notched Lapels 1930
This trend carries to the present day, in which the vast majority of all the morning coats will have a peaked lapel. As you will notice, a peaked lapel comes in various shapes and sizes. One of the most important factors in determining the look of the lapel is the number of front buttons on a morning coat.
In the 1960’s, a small number of very fashion forward bespoke aficionados decided to add a shawl collar to their double breasted suits and morning coats. However, this fashion has always been far from being main stream, and today it would extraordinary to see a morning coat with a shawl collar.
In the early days of the 20thcentury, slim lapels were combined with a high gorge and a short collar. As the lapels grew bigger in the late 1920’s and especially the 1930’s, the peak on the lapel became flatter, and the gorge moved lower to create a longer collar. In the 1950’s, the collar moved slightly up again but did not quite reach the level of the 1900’s. The width of the lapels was also more moderate, neither too slim nor too wide. Today, it seems that most morning coats have a slightly higher gorge and slightly pointier peaks while the lapel width remained roughly the same.
Peaked Lapels with Piping & Without
Unlike the frock coat, the morning coat is hardly ever seen with a silk lined or a half silk lined lapel. However, at the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, there was a guest who actually wore one of these rare morning coats with a partially lined silk lapel. Since it is usually associated with a frock coat, it will undoubtedly lend your morning coat a historic or vintage look.