New lapels have abounded this year, but what are they all about? Ask well you might: after all, so long as there’s a front, a back, and a couple of sleeves, it’s through its lapel that a jacket makes its first impressions.

The first toile for the redevelopment of the front of the SB1 jacket. The notch eventually wound up being horizontal.

Lapels are vestigial things. Pointless, really, from the humourless standpoint of function — “vastly unnecessary flaps,” as someone once said. But the height of the gorge, the depth of the collar-line, the angle of the notch, and other such matters — they make a profound difference to how a jacket looks and its wearer feels. Remarkable, indeed, how a half-inch here or an eighth there will tilt circumstances between nondescript and ostentatious and back again. Lapel design is thus never undertaken lightly and, as well, is always done with complete mindfulness of the context of the rest of the jacket — its silhouette and styling — and half-mindfulness on post-rationalised dictums about one shape of lapel befitting one type of person but never, ever, the other. Decision-making is tempered, too, here anyway, by not wanting to have anyone make too much commotion when doing the weekly shop.

Fine margins, here, with the SB3. Indeed, the narrower the notch, the narrower the room for error when making: an error of a few millimetres on a wide-open lapel is but nothing; on a narrow thing such as this, not far off the end of the world.

Some lapels, of course, are timeless — the quotidian de facto quality of the notch, or the grandiose sweeping gesture of the kicking-k peak — while others seem outdated even before they’ve gone into production. The SB1 and SB3 jackets have both had makeovers in the lapel department this year. Both, for a start, have lower gorges than their previous incarnations. The former jacket, meanwhile, now has a classic horizontal peak, with the collar reaching just shy of the lapel; the latter has much the same again, but with angles and widths fine-tuned to account for thinner proportions. The outcomes — not only lapels, but fronts, backs, and sleeves as well — can be found now here in the workshop.