Black Tie – The Accessories

Cummerbund or waistcoat?

You don’t have to wear either, however bear in mind your shirt. Waistcoats and cummerbunds are a great way to hide where the dress studs finish and the ordinary buttons start.

Originally a white pique waistcoat from the formal white tie attire was worn but later this changed to the black vest. They either have their own lapels or if not are in the same fabric as the jacket’s lapels.

Waistcoats are great to keep the slimline look if you happen to unbutton your jacket. This is due to the continuation of the same colour from trouser to waistcoat.

Pictured right: Moss Bros Hire available at Moss. For stockist enquiries call 0207 447 7200.

Cummerbunds (from the Hindu word ‘kamarband’) were originally sashes worn in India and brought back by the British. The sash should be worn with the folds pointing upwards – originally so that men had somewhere to keep their opera or theatre tickets handy. Cummerbunds can accentuate a portly stomach, but can give the skinny guy much-needed inches.

Whichever you choose – go for black. Keep the colours for less formal events.

However if you decide to go for colour then only choose the dark shades such as navy or burgundy, but always keep your bow tie black – there is no alternative colour choice here.

Pictured: Cummerbund, Marks and Spencer

Pocket square

Don’t forget your pocket square: this is your finishing touch. Traditionally white linen, but white silk is now more popular.

Here’s our Guide to Black Tie series to help you create the ultimate outfit – click the links below:

The Dinner Suit

The Dress Shirt & Cufflinks

The Bow Tie

The Shoes (& Socks)

The Accessories

The Overcoat


Karen Grace is a Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for and fashion writer for

She studied Personal Styling at the London College of Fashion and is a registered affiliate member of the Federation of Image Professionals International.

For personal shopping and styling services you can reach her via frumpy to funky on  [email protected] and
07787 800 390


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