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What Sense Does A Cummerbund Make?

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Zachary, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. Zachary

    Zachary Familiar Face

    Dear Gents,

    So, yesterday arrived my black Barathea self-tie bow tie and black silk Cummerbund from my beloved on-line haberdasher Charles Tyrwhitt.

    I have noticed that the cummerbund is totally invisible under the single-breasted dinner jacket (with shawl collar). So does that mean a cummerbund legalizes opening my jacket?

    My father once told me you might open your jacket only if you wear a vest (so you don't hand your belly to your opponent on the silver platter). Furthermore, unless I'm misinformed, vests go with two-breasted dinner jackets, cummerbunds with single-breasted ones.

    The only sense I see in a cummerbund right now is to hide the lower shirt buttons so only four of them are visibly, hence shirt studs come in 4-packs. However, the dinner jacket itself does equally (unless I open it).

    So, dear Gentlemen, I humbly ask for your much appreciated help:

    What sense does a cummerbund make? Does it allow me to open a single-breasted tuxedo?

    Merci et bon week-end,
  2. Hello. As a fashion follower and doing much of the purchasing of clothing for my Husband, we have here a dozen or so cummerbunds. I would have to say some common sense comes into how cummerbunds have been used for such a long time in men's formal attire.

    Most men's formal trousers are going to be worn with braces, shirts with studs and a bow tie or some tie being used on either a wing tip collar or a normal collar. The cummerbund covers the top of the trousers and hides the top part of the braces and any bulge the pants may have, giving the clean lines and helps hold in the shirt and top of the trousers in. And yes, when wearing a cummerbund it does allow the wearer to be able to have the jacket open and not buttoned up.
    -30- likes this.
  3. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

    Just a "newer" alternative to the classic smoking-vest.
    -30- and LuvMyMan like this.
  4. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    In the days when I had to occasionally wear a tux I had a double breasted shawl collar jacket which did not reveal the cummerbund but, just to be ridiculously traditional, I'd wear a sash (basically a cummerbund I had to wrap and tie, and which was what cummerbunds evolved out of. I also had a sized bow tie ... so no buckle slide or hook there either. At the time clip on suspenders were common and I did the button types. I also had studs and a stud collar. Looking back I realize all of this was done as an objection to the ugly, cheap, and utterly hollow symbolism of men's formal attire in the 1980s and '90s. If there is one thing this site stands for it is wearing what you want the way you want to and bucking any and all trends. I vote for whatever makes you happy!
    scottyrocks likes this.
  5. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron Familiar Face

    With regards to what can go with single- or double-breasted jackets, cummerbunds and waistcoats can both go with either. There is some tendency for cummerbunds to be paired with shawl collared jackets, and waistcoats with peaked lapelled jackets, but it is certainly not a rule (the reason for this is that the lapels of the waistcoat itself frequently have a sharp angle on them, so those goes with a peaked lapel dinner jacket, but you can find waistcoats with curved lapels to match shawl collared dinner jackets too). Double-breasted dinner jackets can be worn without either, as the jacket should not really be opened at all, given the huge amount of fabric that will normally be hanging in an unflattering manner.
    Edward likes this.
  6. Faux Brummell

    Faux Brummell New in Town

    Hi folks. The purpose of a cummerbund or waistcoat/vest is to cover the waist - the "rules" state that the waistband of formal trousers should never show. (Even when a single breasted jacket is buttoned, the waistband and little white patch of shirt will tend to peak out under the button.) Because of the way a double breasted jacket buttons, no waist covering is necessary.

    HH, who is planning to rock his double breasted shawl collar dinner jacket for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera next month.
    Edward likes this.
  7. OldStrummer

    OldStrummer One of the Regulars

    A cummerbund was also often used as a place to hold opera tickets, or small totable items. That's why the opening of the "creases" in a cummerbund always face up.
    -30- likes this.
  8. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    What sense does a tie make? Once you start asking questions about clothing, where do you stop?
    Edward likes this.
  9. Jaxenro

    Jaxenro One of the Regulars

    Cummerbunds are cooler than waistcoats and cover the top of the trousers. A gentleman should never show the top of his trousers in public it was considered vulgar. A tradesman or workman could but not a gentleman or servant who is around ladies and gentlemen.

    Most people dress like tradesman today and very few like ladies and gentlemen. Just the way things are. Most see this as progress I tend to view it as the opposite
    -30- and F. J. like this.
  10. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Even tradesmen wore suits to work in my grandfather's time. I think this distinction is problematic. People for some time now dress according to trends spread by the media. My experience suggests there are still many ladies and gentlemen (those archaic words) out there today but they are probably best judged by their character not their garments. But none of this makes sense of the cummerbund which I remember reading even Cary Grant thought was silly. ;)
    Edward likes this.
  11. Jaxenro

    Jaxenro One of the Regulars

    There is dress and there is dress.

    The other day I took my wife to get coffee and there was a young woman in the parking buckling her young child into the back seat. She was wearing lose “shorts” and when she bent over we saw things only her husband and doctor should. To me drsssing like that in public, although accepted today, is vulgar

    The time period I was referring to was the 1890’s or so which was I think before your grandfathers time although I could be wrong. By the 1920’s and 30’s it had loosened up a little although you are correct no tradesman probably went out without a coat or vest on in the 1890’s. Shirts were still considered underwear if I am not mistaken
    -30- likes this.
  12. The biggest disappointment of modern fashion is that class-based judgements are still around and made on the basis of dress. As to cummerbunds, as noted above they were indeed for covering the waistband of the trousers. Essentially, they provided a less formal alternative to the waistcoat for this purpose, hence their popularity with the technically less formal shawl collar jackets. Also popular for wearing in Summer and/or the tropics, being cooler (temperature wise) than a waistcoat. Even worn as an essential part of 'South Seas Dress', in which the jacket is dispensed with entirely.

    Double-breasted DJs do not, as a rule, require either cummerbund or waistcoat, being as they should not be worn open, and therefore do the job of covering the waistband themselves. Those who like to open a DB DJ at some point in the evening however will often prefer to have a cummerbund or waistcoat underneath.
  13. Jaxenro

    Jaxenro One of the Regulars

    Personally what others wear doesn’t affect me and I refrain from comment except when said outfit doesn’t cover what I consider a minimum for decency. And I don’t think women should be in burqa’s or anything or only dresses or men jn long pants and long sleeved shirts. But if either sex wears clothes in public, regardless of how expensive or trendy, that cover less than a minimum area I think it’s wrong. I don’t judge the person but I do question a society that has made this acceptable.

    Cummerbunds if I understand correctly date from the 1850’s in India as a way to cover the trouser waistband in public that was not as hot as a waistcoat and was adapted from Indian dress by British officers for comfort. Considering one trend today of wearing the trousers waist at thigh level, which I understand is a prison style as belts and braces were removed from prisoners, I doubt we will see it’s time again.
    -30- likes this.
  14. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    A cummerbund can double up as a sling for a happy event.
    Jaxenro likes this.
  15. Jaxenro

    Jaxenro One of the Regulars

  16. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron Familiar Face

    Jaxenro, now you've got me wondering how one would create a cummerbund for trousers worn hanging down like that. An absurdity, but an amusing one.
  17. Jaxenro

    Jaxenro One of the Regulars

    I suppose you would need a kilt but that’s a whole nother conversation
    Zoukatron likes this.
  18. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    I hear you. I am constantly offended by people's choices but I am old.
  19. I used to be, but to be honest I lack the energy to care that much any more. I suppose these days I'm more concerned with whether people behave decent rather than dress decent. ;)
  20. Jaxenro

    Jaxenro One of the Regulars

    I usually don’t care either except when running to the store turns into a strip show. Or honestly a 250 pound women crammed in a mini dress or 300 pound man in short shorts and a belly T shirt or coveralls open at the sides and no shirt. It’s like a car wreck you don’t want to look and you just hope no one was hurt when they squeezed into it
    -30- likes this.

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