Tuxedo, cummerbund and bow tie: a combination that’s as classic and sophisticated as it is striking. Worn well and you feel on top of the world. Worn wrong and you might find yourself feeling self-conscious. So how to wear a cummerbund?
Instead of spoiling your evening by fixating on the vest you left in the closet, take note of these dos and don’ts for a flawless affair.
What is a Cummerbund - and Why Wear One?
Let’s start with the basics.
A cummerbund (note, not cumberbun or cumberbund) is traditionally a pleated silk accessory designed to conceal the point at which a gentleman’s shirt and trousers meet.
Worn only with a tuxedo, a cummerbund omits the possibility of one’s shirt serving as a distraction below the button of the jacket and ensures the formation of a strong V, fortifying a distinguished image of bolstering masculinity.
As an added bonus, a cummerbund conveniently covers an area of the body that some strive to hide. Worn at a gentleman’s natural waist, a cummerbund can be credited with making him appear not only slimmer but also taller.
Originally adopted as a warm-weather option to the vest, the cummerbund’s roots lay in 1800's Asian fashion. Urdu/Persian men wore a kamarband, literally translated as "waist sash". The Hindi word - cummerband - is likely responsible for our Western spelling.
How Should You Wear a Cummerbund?
There’s a right and a wrong way to wear a pleated cummerbund.
Now worn purely for fashion, in days gone by gentlemen made use of their cummerbund to safely and discreetly keep tickets and receipts tucked away. Thus, the correct way to wear a cummerbund is with the pleats facing up.
If you find yourself forgetting which way is right, remember this accessory’s colloquial nickname - the crumb catcher.
(On a related note, be sure your cummerbund is free of your evening’s follies before returning it to your closet. Don’t let an untreated stain take you by surprise or shake your confidence.)
When to Wear a Cummerbund
The cummerbund is reserved for formal occasions and is only to be worn with a single-breasted tuxedo jacket and in tandem with a bow tie. To wear a cummerbund with a suit or with a necktie would be considered a fashion faux pas.
Whereas tradition calls for a black cummerbund as a prominent feature of one’s black tie ensemble, the modern gentleman is free to tailor his look to his personality or occasion.
At R. Hanauer, we offer a broad array of hand-cut, hand-sewn, hand-pleated and hand-pressed cummerbunds and corresponding bow ties that feature silk sourced from the world’s top textile mills.
From solids, stripes, dots and tartans to plaids, paisleys, Southern favorites and college colors, we have cummerbund and bow tie sets that will suit gentlemen of every age and make him runway-ready for every occasion.
Our goal at R. Hanauer Fine Accessories is for gentlemen to feel confident, every day.
If a fabric in our bow tie collection catches your eye but you don’t see it offered as a cummerbund set, please reach out. We would be delighted to custom-create a set that is uniquely yours. And if you’re not sure which fabrics to choose first, we’ll happily send you a swatch at no charge.
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