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Vest vs. Cummerbund: Which One Should I Wear With My Tuxedo?

As a leading provider of designer tuxedo shirts, Buy4Less Tuxedo understands the importance of being dressed to the nines for every formal occasion.

Let’s say you have a black-tie gala coming up. You may have an idea of what material you want for the jacket, or how you want the pants. Maybe you know exactly the type of cufflinks that will go great with your ensemble, or the color bow tie you want, or how you want your pants to fit. You’re all set—right? Well, there might be one more decision you still have to make: vest or cummerbund?

Choosing between the waistcoat (also interchangeably referenced as a vest) and the cummerbund is the ceremonial divide between a standard suit and an elegant tuxedo. Check out this infographic on some key differences, and continue reading for a more in-depth look at how these hallmarks of refinement can elevate your sophistication for every black-tie occasion.


What Purpose Do Vests and Cummerbunds Serve?

Vests and cummerbunds are not just inessential accessories since both of these components have a purpose, which is to cover the waist. All the practical parts of a black-tie ensemble should be covered or dressed:

● Coat and vest buttons have satin facing

● Studs and cufflinks take the place of shirt buttons

● A satin stripe covers exposed trouser seams

● A vest or cummerbund hides where the trousers meet the shirt


What Should I Consider?

Color options for both are simple: a dark blue or black, with black being the most versatile choice. Remember that whatever color you choose should match the bowtie. Your cummerbund should be a similar material that is used for your jacket’s lapel facing. The vest material will be from the same cloth as the jacket, and its buttons should be covered in the same silk as what’s on the coat. 

The black-tie version of a waistcoat differs from the vest of a three-piece suit in several crucial respects. The tuxedo vest is generally cut low and wide to showcase the front of your formal shirt underneath. If you go with a cummerbund, it should be worn at the waist, half of it covering your trousers and the other half covering your tuxedo shirt. Remember, the pleats of the cummerbund always point upward. You can remember this because, in the British colonial era, the men used pleats as ticket holders when going to the theater.

While there are some interesting historical contexts and formal traditions to each option, it all boils down to personal preference. Traditionally, more rotund gentleman look bet­ter in a vest, while a cum­mer­bund will only accen­tu­ate the waist. As superficial as that may sound, it’s important to take your body type into account when trying to look your absolute best.

For more information about our cummerbunds and vests, or if you’re looking to buy a tuxedo shirt, continue browsing our site or give us a call!