May 4, 2009

Cummerbunds

The History of The Cummerbund in Mens Fashion

For several centuries the cummerbund is a formal piece of clothing accessory used for so-called black tie events. Although having a purely decorative purpose in contemporary black tie attire, the cummerbund did actually serve a purpose at one point in time.

The cummerbund is a belt like piece of clothing accessory that is typically black in color with pleated pattern. It has a military origin and dates back to colonial India in the 17th century. British military officers used to wear a waist-coat, but the higher temperatures in India made this piece of uniform much less comfortable. As a result, the cummerbund was created.

The word cummerbund was adopted into English in 1616 and was derived from the Persian word “Kamar” meaning waist. In German it is called “kummerbund” meaning “band of sorrow”. The cummerbund is traditionally worn with the pleats facing upwards which were at one point used to hold ticket stubs. For black tie attire men should either choose a waistcoat or a cummerbund, but never wear both together.

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