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As with many formal garments, the cummerbund began life as military-wear. It was first worn by British officers in colonial India as a lighter alternative to the waistcoat to withstand the humid temperatures. The term ‘cummerbund’ comes from ‘karmaband’, a Persian garment translating literally as ‘waist-band’. The cummerbund is a wide piece of material that wraps around the waist. Today it is worn as an optional alternative to a waistcoat at black tie and other formal events.
A cummerbund is rarely worn without a bow tie, so in the name of convenience and affordability, we’ve put together these bow tie and cummerbund sets, consisting of a matching bow tie and cummerbund in conservative shades ideal for formal occasions.
You should wear your cummerbund with the pleats facing upwards – they were originally used to catch crumbs at table. They should also be placed at the natural waist so half of the cummerbund covers the shirt and the other half covers the trousers.
Your cummerbund should always be paired with a matching bow tie – preferably of the exact same shade and fabric. This creates consistency across the outfit, creating a stylish aesthetic which will suit the mood of a formal evening.
The cummerbund is understated and stylish, avoiding colour or pattern overkill. While a vest covers the entire torso, the cummerbund simply wraps around the waist, leaving the back and front free to breathe.