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Do You Wear a Cummerbund with a Tuxedo

Cummerbunds have been synonymous with formal fashion for over a century. They got their beginnings in the 1850's when they became an integral part of dining attire in British India. Since then, cummerbunds spread to public use and have become known in the modern sphere as synonymous with formality and sophistication. Although they undoubtedly have old school connotations, cummerbunds have been experiencing a modern revival. Hollywood celebrities like Bradley Copper and Joe Alwyn, among others, have been spotted wearing cummerbunds on 2019's Oscars red carpet. 

 

Bradley Cooper Oscars Suit Joe Alwyn Oscars Suit

 

Cummerbunds are valued for the completed look they bring to formal attire. They are often interchanged with waistcoats in tuxedo ensembles and when paired with a black bow tie and tux; they have the power to give you a James Bond aesthetic. Because cummerbunds have over a century of heritage behind them, they undeniably come with a strict rule book of "do's" and "don't"s. 
 
One of these important rules is to never mix a cummerbund with a regular suit. As cummerbunds are a signature formal accessory, they have a tendency to make regular suits look overdone. Traditionally, tuxedos are worn for formal wear and regular suits are worn for the daytime. Mixing and matching such distinct looks can make your ensemble look mis-matched and confused. 
Black Cummerbund
 
The "do"s and "don't"s of wearing cummerbunds are definitely open to interpretation in the 21st century but there still has to be a high degree of caution taken when wearing them out to social events. 
 
Generally, a cummerbund is traditionally worn with a tuxedo, not a dinner jacket. Due to the sense of formality that accompanies cummerbunds, they definitely have a tendency to make regular suits look overdone. 
 
If you want to distinguish your evening wear from the looks you wear to work, buying a tuxedo and a cummerbund can certainly be a worthwhile investment. 

 

How to Wear a Cummerbund

Here are the "do"s and "don't"s of wearing a cummerbund: 

 

Only Wear a Cummerbund with a Tuxedo

Cummerbunds are a match made in heaven with a tuxedo but they should never be worn with a regular suit.  

 

Don't Wear a Waistcoat at the Same Time

Wearing a waistcoat will defeat the purpose of wearing a cummerbund. They're both accessories that cover your waist area so there's only room for one. 

 

You can wear them with suspenders

Wear suspenders underneath your cummerbund to create a truly 007 look. If you're going to wear both at the same time, always ensure your suspenders are underneath

 

James Bond Cummerbund
Wear the pleats facing upwards
Most cummerbunds are designed with rows of pleats that should be worn facing upwards. Although it's a small detail, it's a central etiquette to cummerbund wearing.
 
Pair it with a bow tie
Cummerbunds, as with tuxedos, are designed to be worn with bow ties- not neckties. If you wear a tie, there's an awkward overlap with your cummerbund.
 
Don't wear a double breasted suit
Double breasted suits cover your waist and hip area so they defeat the purpose of wearing a cummerbund. 
Cummerbund
Don't wear a belt at the same time
Cummerbunds are designed to flatten out your lower abdomen and smooth out any unsightly bulges. Wearing a belt underneath your cummerbund will undo all the magic that cummerbunds are employed to do, which is; smooth out your abdomen, cover any unsightly shirt tucking malfunctions and make your overall ensemble look more finessed. 
Now that you're equipped with the ins and outs of wearing cummerbunds, you'll be ready to wear your next tuxedo combination with confidence. 

 

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