How to Choose Between Cummerbunds, Vests, or Neither
It’s no secret that selecting just the right formal wear option can be a chore. From figuring out what colors compliment your date’s outfit to determining which materials are best for the season, to identifying the right fit for your body type, there are many factors to consider. One of the biggest decisions when it comes to picking a tuxedo or suit will always be the accessories to wear to complete your look. Among the most popular accessories are the cummerbund and vest to cover the tuxedo waistband. But what is a cummerbund? And should you wear a cummerbund or vest? Read on to learn more about wearing a cummerbund or vest, and what to consider when wearing a tuxedo with vest and tuxedo with cummerbund.
What is a Cummerbund?
The tuxedo with cummerbund is a staple for formal events. So what exactly is a cummerbund and what is its purpose? Before wearing a tuxedo with cummerbund, it’s important to understand how this accessory came about. It may come as a surprise that the origins of the cummerbund actually date back to 19th century India. During this time, members of the British military stationed in India noticed the sashes Indian men wore around their waists, and figured this might be a great alternative to the heat-trapping vests they were wearing. Soon after the British army adopted this accessory, it made its way to New York and grew in popularity.
The cummerbund is typically black in color and made of a satin material, and should be worn with the pleats facing upward. It should be worn right at the waistline at the naval, and half of the cummerbund should cover the shirt while the other half covers the trousers.
In popular formal wear, a tuxedo with cummerbund serves a few different purposes. First, as the British discovered, a tuxedo with cummerbund is a much cooler alternative to the tuxedo with vest. Wearing a cummerbund is a great option for events taking place is warmer locations, or during the balmy summer months. Another purpose of the tuxedo with cummerbund, is that the cummerbund effectively hides bunching that can occur when tucking a shirt into pants. A tuxedo with cummerbund also serves to flatter the figure, giving men a slimmer and sleeker look by hiding the midsection. Finally, an often unknown benefit to wearing a tuxedo with cummerbund is that the pleats of the cummerbund are very efficient in catching crumbs, therefore protecting your trousers from getting messy.
What is Vest?
Like many other components of men’s formalwear, the vest started as a functional article of clothing. In fact, the first vests can be traced back to the 19th century, when they were worn by servants working outdoors who needed an extra layer of warmth. By the late 19th century, vests had grown in popularity. They had even become a part of more formal attire, eventually becoming an accessory to accompany the tuxedo. The tuxedo with vest is a highly formal look, and this vest should never be worn without the dinner jacket. These vests tend to be cut lower than other vests, allowing more of the dress shirt to remain visible.
Because wearing a tuxedo with vest is highly formal, the vest color and material should be simple and tasteful. In most cases, it is best to simply match the vest to the dinner jacket in color and material. In some cases, however, it can be acceptable to wear a vest in a subtle, complementary color.
Wearing a Tuxedo Cummerbund
Whether wearing a tuxedo with cummerbund or a tuxedo with vest, the primary purpose of both accessories is to keep the tuxedo waistband hidden from view. Because both the cummerbund and vest serve a similar purpose, they can in most cases be interchangeable. However, there are a few unique considerations to keep in mind with each to help you figure out when to wear a tuxedo with cummerbund vs. tuxedo with vest.
To determine the appropriate setting for a tuxedo with cummerbund, consider the season and time of day. A tuxedo with cummerbund makes the most sense if you will be attending a formal event when the temperatures are higher, making a vest more uncomfortable. A cummerbund allows for more airflow, and limits the amount of fabric on your body.
Another consideration when determining whether or not to wear a tuxedo with cummerbund is your figure. While both cummerbunds and vests are flattering accessories, men with smaller midsections often find the tuxedo with cummerbund a sleeker option, as it accentuates their slim figure.
Wearing a Tuxedo Vest
If you’re leaning towards wearing a tuxedo with vest, again consider the weather. A tuxedo with vest is a great formalwear choice if you anticipate an evening event or an event during cooler months. You’ll appreciate the extra layer around your midsection to help keep you warm.
Additionally, many men with larger midsections find that a tuxedo with vest is a more flattering and comfortable option for their figure. While cummerbunds are concentrated solely around the waist, the vest extends up the length of the torso, creating a long, lean line.
Tuxedo Without Cummerbund or Vest
Now that we’ve explored the possibilities when wearing a cummerbund or vest to cover the tuxedo waistband, you might be wondering if it is acceptable to forgo both when wearing a tuxedo. The answer to this question is not so simple because, while it has been done, it is tricky to pull off. In recent years, more celebrities have experimented with the trend of not wearing a cummerbund or vest with their tuxedos, and the reviews have been mixed. The main negative critique to not wearing a tuxedo with vest or cummerbund is that it makes the ensemble look incomplete.
If you dare to jump in on the trend of not wearing a cummerbund or vest with your tuxedo, make sure to wear a jacket that is double-breasted, and always keep your jacket buttoned throughout the event. Also, be sure to invest in an incredibly well-fit tuxedo jacket and shirt.
Tuxedo Cummerbunds and Vests from Savvi Formalwear
Savvi Formalwear has an incredible selection of tuxedo accessories, including a wide variety of top quality, comfortable, and affordable tuxedo cummerbunds and vests. We’re standing by to help you pick just the right cummerbund or vest to flatter your figure and take your formal ensemble to the next level. Browse our collection to find the right fit for a look you’ll love.