Lapel roll is not just for jackets with three buttons. We’re familiar with the ‘three-roll-two’ jacket style, as seen on Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace, Spectre and No Time to Die, where the lapels of the jacket roll over the top button and down to the middle button. This three-roll-two can have varying degrees of roll, from a lapel that folds at the middle button and over the top button to a gradual, pronounced roll where the lapel rolls through the top button.
The degree of roll is determined by both the cut and the inner canvas. Pressing can help add roll to a jacket, but the roll ultimately needs to be supported by the jacket’s cut and structure. Without canvas in the lapels it’s not possible to have much of a roll.
A rolled lapel is not exclusive to the three-roll-two style. If you like the rolled look of a three-roll-two but aren’t as fond on a buttonhole in the middle of your lapels, you can still have the same kind of lapel roll on a jacket with one or two buttons. There’s no rule that says a gently rolled lapel can only be on a button-three jacket.
Many English bespoke tailors make their lapels with roll on button-one and button-two jackets. All of Bond’s English tailors make the lapels on all their jackets with some roll, but a gradual, pronounced lapel roll is a hallmark Anthony Sinclair’s Conduit Cut for Sean Connery.
Some of the clean lines that define Connery’s button-one and button-two jackets would have been disturbed if there were a buttonhole through the lapel, but the unbroken roll of the lapel adds considerably to the Conduit Cut’s identity.
Rolled lapels give an especially elegant look to Sean Connery’s suits. That doesn’t mean that flatter lapels are bad, but rolled lapels are something that is more exclusive to high-end suits. A prominent roll something you’ll only find on the best bespoke suits or the most exclusive ready-to-wear suit brands like Tom Ford. The pronounced roll of Connery’s lapels helps bring attention to the chest. This is not to say that Connery’s chest isn’t large enough on its own, but that the rolled lapel adds depth to the chest. And by flaring out just above the waist, these lapels emphasise a small waist and make any waist look smaller, which is something the average man can benefit from.
A rolled lapel also streamlines the shape of the jacket’s front edges by creating a smooth continuous line from the top of the lapels to the bottom of the round at the lower quarters. The roll prevents the lapels from looking like they’re stuck on to the front of the jacket and integrates them with the shape of the jacket, visually lengthening the jacket. It’s curves like this that add a sexiness to Sean Connery’s suits.
For all these reasons, rolled lapels demonstrate the art form that tailoring can be. Though such a lapel roll was by no means exclusive to Anthony Sinclair, his jackets demonstrate how well the roll can be done, without a buttonhole in the middle of the roll to distract from the pure shape.