Looking Your Best: How to Properly Wear a Cummerbund

Looking Your Best: How to Properly Wear a Cummerbund

When you are invited to a wedding, your outfit is extremely important. Learn how you can properly accessorize your tuxedo with a cummerbund, to make you look as stylish as possible.

It’s no secret that a cummerbund is a very handy accessory. It allows for a very neat appearance, helps to prevent food and drink spillages on the front of the shirt, and helps to keep your tummy tucked in. But wearing a cummerbund requires some degree of planning, as there are a few things you can do to ensure that you look your best. Small details can make a huge difference when it comes to wearing a tuxedo.

One of the first things to remember is to avoid wearing very bright colors unless the event requires it. A good example would be when you are attending a wedding where you are one of the groomsmen. You may have to wear a cummerbund that has to match the colors of the bridesmaids’ dresses, in which case a bright color will fit in perfectly since it’s part of the theme. But other than that, stick to colors that are not so bright, to perfectly complement your tuxedo.

Surprisingly, not many people know exactly what a cummerbund is, or why they should wear it. Although cummerbunds have been in existence for ages, the modern reason for wearing one is to cover your waist. One of the age-old principles of a successful tuxedo is that all the working parts must be covered or dressed. Your shirt buttons will be replaced with cufflinks, and your buttons will have satin facing. Your trousers will even have a satin stripe on the outer seam. This is why it's so important to cover your waist area, where your shirt can bunch quite awkwardly at times.


How to Wear One
It may seem that there is only one way to wear a cummerbund, but there is actually a right and a wrong way. You should wear your cummerbund with the pleats facing upward. Also, keep in mind that because they are essentially a cover for your waist area, they should be worn around your natural waist. This means that you will need to wear your trousers around the level of the navel, with half of the cummerbund covering the shirt and the other half covering your trousers.

If you wear your cummerbund too high or too low, it can have a negative influence on your appearance. And speaking of appearance, remember that your cummerbund needs to match your bowtie, not only in terms of color but preferably also in a matching fabric.

Some of the most common colors for cummerbunds are black, maroon, and red. This is usually the tradition when it comes to wearing colored cummerbunds, so if you don’t know which color to choose, stick with one of these. Remember that a cummerbund is for evening events only. It’s very formal, so you want to keep this for the very formal, fanciest events.


The Benefits of a Cummerbund
People don't always realize the benefits of the cummerbund, and they simply wear it because it looks good. Here are a few great benefits that you may not have known about:

  • If you wear it correctly so that the pleats face upward, it's an excellent crumb catcher. This was first learned in the British military and is still a great nickname for this accessory today.
  • Cummerbunds can have quite a slimming look for your tuxedo outfit. Men tend to look taller with a slim waist when wearing a cummerbund.
  • Especially in its original days, cummerbunds were a cooler option than wearing a vest.
  • In olden days, the cummerbund was often worn to hold ticket stubs to operas or symphonies, allowing gentlemen to have them ready and not having to go through their pockets to find them.
  • These days, cummerbunds or a great option to wear if you have to add a specific color to your tuxedo. A common example is a wedding, where men have to wear the colors of their female counterparts.

With so many great benefits to offer, cummerbunds are often overlooked. They are simply worn because they look good, without people realizing just how important they are or what the correct way of wearing them is. They come in a wide range of colors, materials, and factors, and they can add color and texture to almost any tuxedo outfit, making it ideal for any formal event.

GQ said it best: “Wearing a waistcoat, a double-breasted jacket or a cummerbund means that the only shirt visible is a powerful V at the chest, shooting up towards the shoulders, framed by silk, peaked lapels. No untidy white cloth is left to billow around the waist. The legs are lengthened, the waist suppressed, the shoulders emphasized.” By wearing a cummerbund, your look is basically completed.

You should consider the color you want to wear. While you will often wear a black tuxedo with the black cummerbund, modern tuxedo outfits call for quite a few color options. You can, for example, where a black tuxedo with a cummerbund and a necktie in the same color. You can also add other accessories such as a pocket square in the same color as your cummerbund and tie.  

Cummerbunds are a great accessory for formal wear and they help to add some style and color to your outfit. You can use it to add some color to your tuxedo outfit, or simply to look stylish as possible. It has been part of the tuxedo for many years and it is definitely making a comeback.

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