We all know what lapels are, but has anyone ever wondered who sew this piece of stiff fabric? Not only that, but when was this fabric sewn, making this thing to remain in vogue for centuries, until the present day.
We all known that some fashion pieces have lapels. Those are blazers, jackets, coats and some types of shirts, but have you ever wondered exactly what purpose they serve?
The lapel is certainly a convenient place for some symbol and therefore there is a theory that it was invented exactly for that, a place for a medal of sorts. However, the truth is somewhat different. Lapels are a consequence of the development of fashion in the 19th century, and before had quite practical purpose.
Lapels first occurred in the 17th century for practical reasons. During winter, coats received some sort of collar which was connected to the other side of the coat.
So when it was cold, the collar was buttoned up in order to protect the neck and when it was hot or when one could go indoors (when the room temperature was probably 15 degrees Celsius), the collar was unbuttoned. But right here “fingers interfered” with fashion. It looked inelegant for the lapel to hang when unbuttoned and they twitched it in half and buttoned it somewhere on the shoulder. Then appeared a problem with symmetry, because it twitched a part of the other side of the coat.
The rest is history of the path to fashion. Tailors tried to make lapels as beautiful as possible, so in the 19th century there were several versions of lapels. And over time the original function lost that purpose, so today we wear scarves, shawls and turtlenecks.