A notch collar is a type of jacket or shirt front that typically tops a row of buttons in the garment's center. The notch detail is actually in the lapels that attach to each side of the collar portion that fits around the neck. Rather than a plain straight or curved lapel section added to the neck portion of a collar, a notch, or cut out section, accents each of the lapels. The V-shaped notch tends to give clothing a formal look that has become popular for suits and office wear.
Both men's and women's suit jackets may feature a notch collar. The formal men's evening suits called tuxedos often have a notched V-shaped lapel collar. Suits, shirts and coats with a U-shaped, rounded notch cut from the lapels usually look much less formal than garments finished with a V-shaped lapel notch style. The straight angles appear less relaxed than softer fabric curves.
A fairly stiff, dense fabric is needed to make either type of notch collar, as otherwise the material would tend to curl under rather than remain flat on the upper chest area. Many notched collar garments are made with a piece of fusible interfacing sandwiched between each side of a lapel fabric section. Fusible interfacing is a synthetic material sold in sheet form that fuses, or bonds, to fabric when it's ironed onto it. Non-fusible interfacing made to be sewn on is also available. Dressmakers use interfacing to add stiffness and shape to waistbands, pockets and other clothing details including collars.
Suede and thicker leather jackets may not require interfacing in their collars. A notched collar style on leather or suede outerwear is mainly seen on dressy button-front coats rather than more casual short jackets with zippers. Business appropriate versions of the classic mandarin collar motorcycle, or biker, leather jacket almost always feature a notch collar.
A notch collar coat or jacket can make a good dress wear addition to many wardrobes. Many notch style collar garments are versatile and could be worn with more casual wear such as jeans, as long as the denim jean color is dark and there are no rips or tears. Jackets with notch collars may be more expensive than ones with another type of collar — not because of the collar style, but due to a dressier type of material.
Lab coats often have a notched lapel collar. It's the classic styling for the traditional white laboratory coat. The notch lab coat collar adds a professional look to the plain white jacket while also providing stylish detail. Some women's lab coat styles feature embroidered details on the notch collar.