A Guide to Formal Accessories: When to Wear a Cummerbund or Waistcoat, and How to Use Tuxedo Studs or Cufflinks to Complete Your Look

 Accessories can make all the difference when completing a formal outfit, but it can be difficult to know what accessories to use in what setting. In this blog post, I will explain when to wear a cummerbund or waistcoat, what tuxedo studs or cufflinks are, and how to use them to complete your look. By understanding these aspects, you can make sure that you stand out for the right reasons at your next black-tie event.

When to Wear a Cummerbund or Waistcoat:

Cummerbunds and waistcoats are two common formal accessories that can add a touch of formality and elegance to any outfit.

  1. Cummerbund: A cummerbund is a wide, pleated sash worn around the waist of a tuxedo. It is typically worn with a single-breasted jacket, and is appropriate for black-tie events or formal weddings. The cummerbund is traditionally black or midnight blue to match the tuxedo jacket; however, they can less commonly be found in a variety of colors. Although there is no longer a real functionality to the cumberbund, it can add a touch of elegance and differentiate your formal ensemble.
  2. Waistcoat: A waistcoat, also known as a vest, is a sleeveless garment worn over a dress shirt and under a jacket. Waistcoats in a formal setting are typically made from the same fabric as the jacket and pants, and should show just slightly underneath the jacket when buttoned. In white-tie dress, a white pique waistcoat is customary. 

Tuxedo Studs and Cufflinks:

Tuxedo studs and cufflinks are both formal accessories that can add a touch of sophistication to any outfit.

  1. Tuxedo Studs: Tuxedo studs are small, decorative buttons that replace the front buttons on a tuxedo shirt. They are typically made of gold or silver and can add a touch of elegance to a formal outfit. Tuxedo studs can only be worn with shirts that have stud-holes, so be sure to check your shirts before splurging on a set of studs. 

  2. Cufflinks: Cufflinks are decorative fasteners that are used to secure the cuffs of a dress shirt. They are typically made of precious metals or stones, and can add a touch of personality to a formal outfit. They should match the metal or color of other accessories such as the watch, belt buckle, or tie clip. Cufflinks can be worn with traditional fold-over French cuffs, or single layered link cuffs that feature buttonholes on both ends of the shirt cuff. 

When choosing your cufflinks or studs, it is important to stay true to your personal style. If you are more conservative it is preferable to choose less eye-catching designs such as white gold or silver and a matte stone such as onyx or lapis lazuli. For the bolder gentleman, yellow or rose gold links can be a great conversation starter, and gemstones such as sapphire, diamond, or goldstone can really make your outfit shine.

How to Use Formal Accessories to Complete Your Look:

A well-fitted cummerbund or waistcoat can add structure and elegance to an outfit, while tuxedo studs and cufflinks can add a touch of sophistication and personality.

To use formal accessories correctly to complete your look, follow these tips:

  1. Choose accessories that match the color and style of your outfit.

  2. Keep it simple and elegant - don't overdo it with too many accessories.

  3. Use accessories to add a touch of personality or color to your outfit, but make sure they are appropriate for the occasion.

With a basic understanding of the options and rules of thumb for formal accessories, you can confidently put your best foot forward.