From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Fit of Peak

The Perfect Pour

Wine and Spirits

The Perfect Pour

A deep dive into the world of Macallan Scotch whisky.

The Perfect Cup

Food and Drink

The Perfect Cup

Terra Kaffe’s espresso machine elevates your morning ritual with the press of a...

A Classic Martini

Wine and Spirits

A Classic Martini

A drink from New York City’s Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel

Look at one of those glamorously lit publicity shots of a great male movie star from the 1930s and chances are he's wearing a single-breasted peaked-lapel suit. That style-the most formal variant of the single-breasted jacket, offering the authority of the traditional double-breasted model in an elegantly pared-down form-largely went into abeyance for five decades. But with the return of classic sartorial dressing in the '90s, it's made a comeback. Here—with a portfolio of contemporary examples—suits that will lend you an aura of peak performance.

There's nothing casual about the single-breasted peaked-lapel suit. It's a sophisticated garment that looks most at home in dressy situations. Two-button multistripe brown Super 120s wool suit ($1,495) by Cantarelli. Pale-blue cotton shirt ($425) by Lorenzini. Silver woven silk tie ($125) by Mickey. Handmade linen pocket square ($110) from Best of Class by Robert Talbott. The three-button jacket, with its high closure and short-roll peaked lapel, gives additional emphasis to the upper chest: often a sought-after effect in these days of body consciousness. Three-button navy wool Salvatore suit ($2,750) with alternating chalk and double-beaded stripes; blue-striped spread-collar cotton shirt ($235) with French cuffs; and gold woven silk tie ($110), all by Oxxford. Brown cap-toe leather lace-ups ($265) by Salvatore Ferragamo.

Where to Buy:

Two-button brown wool suit: At BARNEYS NEW YORK New York; 212-826-8900 • TYRONE Roslyn, New York; 516-484-3330 • PLAIN CLOTHES Birmingham; 205-871-3391.
Pale-blue cotton shirt: At ULTIMO Chicago; 312-787-1171 • LOUIS BOSTON Boston; 800-225-5135.
Linen pocket square: At ROBERT TALBOTT nationwide; 800-747-8778.

It's hard to imagine a more sleekly flattering line than the one achieved by using a bold stripe in combination with the deep V of a long-roll lapel and a nicely judged degree of waist suppression. Two-button double-track stripe gray Super 100s wool suit ($975) by Samuelsohn. White with gray microwindowpane spread-collar cotton shirt ($195) and multicolor woven silk tie ($105) from Best of Class by Robert Talbott.

Where to Buy:
Three-button navy wool suit: At NEIMAN MARCUS select stores; 800-937-9146.
Cotton shirt and silk tie: At BARNEYS NEW YORK.
Shoes: At FERRAGAMO BOUTIQUES nationwide; 800-445-1874.

Where to Buy:
Gray wool suit: At WM. FOX & CO. Washington, D.C.; 202-783-2530 • DANIEL TAYLOR CLOTHIER Dallas; 214-521-0433 • OXFORD SHOP OF NASHVILLE Nashville; 615-383-4442.

Choosing to wear a single-breasted peaked-lapel suit implies a certain sartorial confidence—and a measure of connoisseurship. Equal care should go into the selection of accessories. Here are some beautifully appropriate suggestions. The Sulka suit (about $3,000) is assertive, so don't make the mistake of wearing shoes with it that are too thin-soled or small-scaled. These handsome split-toe lace-ups in brown cordovan leather ($1,600) by Silvano Lattanzi have distinctive welt stitching and are a perfect balance for the suit. Pima cotton socks ($18) by Mountain High.

The formality and added weight of French cuffs worn with enamel and sapphire links are a good match with the Oxxford suit ($2,750). The chronograph watch in white gold completes the strong ensemble. Blue-striped cotton shirt ($235) by Oxxford. Yellow enamel and sapphire cuff links ($1,560) by Asprey & Garrard. Da Vinci watch ($19,995) by IWC. The dressiness of a spread collar makes this shirt the correct choice for Samuelsohn's wool suit ($975); a richly woven silk tie that creates a substantial knot is the becoming finishing touch. Gray-on-white microwindowpane cotton shirt ($195) and multicolor woven silk tie ($105) from Best of Class by Robert Talbott. Even the finest suit—here, the Cantarelli ($1,495)—is enhanced by a fine linen pocket square, its edges rolled and stitched by hand. Handmade 100 percent linen pocket square ($110) from Best of Class by Robert Talbott.

Where to buy:
Split-toe lace-up shoes: At ULTIMO Chicago.
Pima cotton socks: At BERGDORF GOODMAN MEN New York; 800-218-4918 • SAKS FIFTH AVENUE select stores; 212-753-4000 • NORDSTROM nationwide; 800-285-5800.
Enamel and sapphire cuff links: At ASPREY & GARRARD New York; 800-883-2777. White gold chronograph watch: For IWC catalog, call 800-432-9330.
Blue-striped cotton shirt: At BARNEYS NEW YORK.
Spread-collar cotton shirt and multicolor woven silk tie: At ROBERT TALBOTT nationwide.
Handmade linen pocket square: At ROBERT TALBOTT nationwide • BERGDORF GOODMAN MEN • NEIMAN MARCUS select stores.

The ultimate in urbane evening dress: luxurious black silk shantung cut long and lean, the peaked lapels adding just the right seigneurial note. Two-button silk shantung suit ($1,995); white spread-collar broadcloth shirt ($195) with French cuffs; and black miniwindowpane silk tie ($105), all from Ralph Lauren Purple Label.The vest is not only a stylish addition to most single-breasted suits—it gives the outfit a more formal look—but also a practical one: It keeps you warm, even in very lightweight wool. Two-button tan nailhead Super 120s wool suit (about $3,000); white cotton shirt with blue stripes and French cuffs ($225); and solid purple silk tie ($105), all by Sulka.

Where to buy:
Luxurious black two-button silk shantung suit with peaked lapels: At POLO RALPH LAUREN select stores; 800-756-7656.
White spread-collar broadcloth shirt with French cuffs: At POLO RALPH LAUREN select stores • BARNEYS NEW YORK • LOUIS BOSTON.
Black miniwindowpane silk tie: At POLO RALPH LAUREN select stores • SAKS FIFTH AVENUE select stores.

Where to buy:
Single-breasted two-button tan nailhead wool suit with matching vest, white cotton shirt with blue stripes and French cuffs, and purple silk tie: At SULKA nationwide; 800-757-8552.


Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.

Come On In

U.S. issued American Express Platinum Card® and Centurion® Members, enter the first six digits of your card number to access your complimentary subscription.

Learn about membership.