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Do You Wear a Belt With a Cummerbund?

Cummerbunds are an essential part of black tie etiquette and they give formal suits a finished appeal. Cummerbunds are used to cover the unsightly bunching that occurs when a shirt is tucked into trousers and they also provide an aesthetic benefit to your overall ensemble. Although cummerbunds are undeniably considered old school in today's anything-but-traditional landscape, they're experiencing a modern revival with celebrities like Bradley Cooper and Alan Joe Alwyn sporting them on the 2019 Oscars Red Carpet. They're also known for their love affair with James Bond. 


Joe Alwyn Oscars Bradley Cooper Oscars Suit


With all the heritage that's associated with cummerbunds, they definitely come with an established rule book that's backed by years of tradition. Essentially, the number one rule of wearing a cummerbund is to never wear one with a belt. 
Belts and cummerbunds are two accessories that simply don't work well together. They're both worn around the hips where your shirt meets with your trousers and so there's some obvious friction that's going to occur when you try to wear them together. 
Black Cummerbund
The benefit of wearing cummerbunds is their smoothing effect to your lower body as they flatten out any unsightly bulging that occurs when you tuck your shirt into your pants. Trying to wear a belt underneath a cummerbund will undo all the magic that cummerbunds are employed to do, which is; smooth out your lower body, provide a seamless transition from your shirt to your pants and give your outfit an overall completed look. 


How to Wear a Cummerbund

As aforementioned, cummerbunds come with a distinct set of rules that are designed to make you look as refined as possible. As with most men's accessories, cummerbunds are coupled with a long list of "rights" and "wrongs" that are attributed to their rich heritage which dates back to ancient Persia. Whilst it's okay to exert individual expression with some men's accessories like ties and lapel pins, cummerbunds come with a rule book that's black and white. 
Rule 1
Cummerbunds are designed with rows of pleats that should be worn facing upwards. 
Rule 2
Cummerbunds should be worn at your natural waist line. This means your trousers should be worn around the level of your navel and half of your cummerbund should be covering your shirt. If worn too low, or too high, your cummerbund can make your body look out of proportion. 
Rule 3
Cummerbunds are to be worn with bow ties, not ties. As cummerbunds are synonymous with tuxedo dressing, as with bow ties, they should naturally be paired together. A tie can make a cummerbund look overcrowded and untidy as they awkwardly overlap. 
Rule 4
Cummerbunds are to be worn over suspenders, not underneath. This makes your ensemble look a lot neater and more finessed. 
James Bond Cummerbund
Rule 5
Match your cummerbund with your jacket lapels. If the lapels of your jacket have a satin finish, it will make the most sense to wear a satin cummerbund (or faux satin at the very least). 
Now that you're well versed in the arena of old school accessories, you'll be well equipped to wear any tuxedo with confidence. It certainly pays to get the small details perfect, especially in an ensemble where every detail counts. 

Peter Marshall is a legend amongst the men of OTAA. Sharp dressed to a point, only his wit has more edge.
An English gentleman, lover of business and an avid blogger




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