Cumberbund or cummerbund?
Doesn’t matter, as long as you know how to wear one. And if you don’t know how to wear one, here’s your ultimate guide as to how.
If you haven’t heard of a cummerbund before, then you might’ve heard of a crumb catcher, which is the same thing. And if you haven’t heard of either, then you’ve definitely seen one in the James Bond movies. But you might be wondering, what is a cummerbund?
A cummerbund is a sash that goes around the waist, usually worn with a tuxedo to black tie events. Keep reading to find out more about where they come from, why you should wear one, and most importantly, how to style one.
Where The Cummerbund Came From
Let’s keep it brief here. Just a brief history lesson for those that fancy it, and then we’ll get straight to how you personally should wear a cummerbund.
Cummerbunds were originally worn in India in the 1850s, where the British military worked. They were worn for dining wear, which wasn’t necessarily always the same formal wear. The British military would normally wear waistcoats underneath their jackets, but found that those were too hot for the humid weather in India, and so they needed to come up with something cooler to wear to said dining events. That’s when they opted for the cummerbund; a sash around their waist that half-covered their trousers (and belt), and half-covered their shirt.
Over time, wearing a cummerbund has become one of the stand-out pieces of formal wear, especially the tux cummerbund, which came about in New York. Of course, other pieces became a staple to pair with a tuxedo to really get the black tie event look, such as the black bow tie and black waistcoat.
This is how the new black tie dress code emerged, with inspiration taken from the British cummerbunds. It has brought us to the tuxedo look as we know it today, which has been the go-to look for formal wear ever since.
And by the way, if you’ve been thinking ‘isn’t the correct way of spelling it ‘cumberbund’?’ then you’d be valid in every way for thinking that. Truth is, the spelling ‘cumberbund’ only came about because of the misspelling and mispronunciation of the word, which has led it to come up in certain dictionaries spelt that way. But the original way of spelling it is, in fact, cummerbund.
Why Wear A Cummerbund?
Of course there are a number of reasons why you should wear a cummerbund. Wearing a cummerbund is a timeless part of a tuxedo, their main purpose being to cover the waist. One of the main rules you should know about when it comes to wearing a cummerbund is that all parts of your suit trousers and dress shirt buttons should be covered to make the waist look seamless, which is exactly what a cummerbund does. If you plan on wearing a belt to your next black tie event, your cummerbund should cover that, too.
And if you really want to go all out with your black bow attire, wear buttons out of satin, perhaps make your dress shirt have cufflinks instead of normal dress shirt buttons to match the satin seam on the outside of your suit trousers.
How To Wear A Cummerbund
Don’t risk embarrassing yourself by wearing your cummerbund the wrong way round to your next formal event. Read this to avoid silly mistakes, as there is actually a correct way to wear cummerbunds.
Step one is to make sure you wear your cummerbund with the folds facing upwards. This is where the nickname ‘crumb catcher’ came from; the folds served as the perfect napkin for crumbs and saved the rest of your (probably) expensive suit from getting stains.
Secondly, make sure you wear a cummerbund at your natural waist level. So ideally, your suit trousers would reach the same level as your bellybutton, so that, as we mentioned earlier, the cummerbund half covers the top of your trousers (buttons, zips and belts included), and half covers your shirt to hide any bunching from tucking your shirt into your suit trousers.
How To Put On A Cummerbund
If you’re wondering how to put on a cummerbund, get this: place the cummerbund at your waist with the pleats facing outwards and upwards. Attach it with the buckle at the back of your waist, and make sure it sights comfortably but also tight enough so that it stays in place.
You can adjust the fit of your cummerbund by pulling the straps by the buckle to make it tighter, and vice versa to make it looser. To keep the sleek tux look coherent, make sure you put any of the extra elastic in the back pocket of the cummerbund, and then you should be good to go.
Wearing your cummerbund at your natural waist gives the illusion that your waist is slimmer and your torso taller. You should also make sure it matches the colour of your bow tie, so I’ve you’re going for the satin, black cummerbund look, you should also wear a black bow tie with it.
Nowadays, if you’ve got a partner to take to the event where you will be going for the tux with bow tie and cummerbund look, it’s quite trendy to match the colour of your vest or cummerbund with whatever colour your partner is wearing.
The trick with wanting to match whilst you’re wearing a tuxedo with a vest is that if it is a bright colour, it will become the centerpiece of your look and standout. With a cummerbund tuxedo you could resolve that issue slightly, as it is smaller and less in-your-face.
That being said, matching with your partner is the ideal way to present yourselves as a couple, and the perfect way to wear and incorporate your cummerbund with your tux.
If you’re going for the cummerbund look for your next event, we think you simply can’t go wrong by wearing a black cummerbund and matching black bow tie. It’s chic, timeless, elegant, and a black cummerbund will be sure to match the rest of your tux. And if you’re feeling inspired by James Bond and want to feel like you’re part of the movie set, adjust your bow tie and you’re ready to roll.
How To Wear A Cummerbund: Your Ultimate Guide
Come on, you know you want to. Just wear a cummerbund to your next formal event and look like a boss walking straight out of the James Bond movie set. Look sleek in your bow tie, and cummerbund with a tuxedo. Show them you know how to wear one too, by making sure the pleats of your cummerbund are facing upwards, and look calm and collected by matching your bow tie colour and fabric with that of your cummerbund. Or match your cummerbund colour with that of what your partner is wearing to make your tuxedo outfit look more unique.
Whatever you end up deciding, just take your time finding the right cummerbund and tux. These items can be expensive, so you probably want to make sure you get something that you know you love, and will love for a long time. Pairing a cummerbund with a tux is timeless within itself, but if you’re going to pay a hefty price, make sure it’s out of a quality material such as satin for example, but preferably silk as they were traditionally worn, so that you can get the most use out of it as possible.
If you’re convinced you need a new tux, or at least a new cummerbund with your tux, we’ve created a collage of images to inspire you on what you could wear to the event you have coming up, and what kind of cummerbund you would want to go for.
Feature image: unsplash