Cummerbunds, Vol. 13, Issue 4

Etiquetteer hates cummerbunds. Not that they aren't Perfectly Proper. A cummerbund still falls within the Perfectly Proper evening clothes of a gentleman. But they can be rather difficult. Moving about causes a cummerbund to ride up, exposing shirttail and crumpling shirtfront, or to ride down, contributing to an air of sloppiness that is not consistent with evening clothes. And for gentlemen with a waist over, say, size 28, they only increase the size of one's girth - or its perception, which is quite different. And Etiquetteer thinks it's silly that the pleats have to be facing up - "up to catch the soup" as one friend of Etiquetteer's was taught - when what they really catch is crumbs, necessitating a trip to the restroom. No, Etiquetteer does not like cummerbunds, and was quite happy to see the waistcoat start making a comeback in the 1990s. A waistcoat hides a multitude of sins and displays one's most elaborate watchchain. (What? You have no watchchain, no pocket watch? Get thee to the antique store!) But Etiquetteer longs for the day when the current fashion for a waistcoat with a shallow neckline - one that begins buttoning almost below the second stud - is replaced with a return to the waistcoat with a deep narrow V sets off that sliver of gleaming white shirtfront studded with - well, studded with shirt studs. Nothing could be more striking!