A drawing of a cummerbund worn as part of a man’s evening wear[n 1]
An evening dress with a black velvet cummerbund, designed about 1912 by British fashion designer Lucile (Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon)[n 2]

From Hindi कमरबन्द (kamarband) and Urdu کمر بند(kamar band, belt, waistband), from Persian کمربند(kamarband), from کمر(kamar, waist) + بند(band, band).



cummerbund (plural cummerbunds)

  1. (fashion) A broad sash, especially one that is pleated lengthwise and worn as an article of formal dress, as around a man's waist together with a tuxedo or dinner jacket. [from early 17th c.]
    • 1809 March 6, “Embassy to Cabul, No. II. Description of the Introduction to His Majesty the King of Cabul, of the British Attendants on Mr. Elphinstone, in His Embassy to the King of that Country.”, in The Literary Panorama, volume VIII, London: Printed by Cox, Son, and Baylis, [], for C. Taylor, [], published November 1810, OCLC 877428785, column 1329:
      All this splendor was set off by a black shawl kummerbund, and blackish upper vest of the cloth called keem-khab, embroidered with large gold leaves. The vest was made like those of all other Mahomedans, but the lower part of it stuck out as you see painted in Indian prints, and altogether destroyed his figure; and the kummerbund was large and heavy.
    • 1812, chapter V, in Abstract of the General Orders & Regulations in Force in the Honorable East-India Company’s Army, on the Bengal Establishment, Completed to the 1st February, 1812; [], Calcutta: Printed by R. W. Walker, [], OCLC 558035259, page 196:
      Bounty cloathing is to be allowed, in the firſt inſtance, to the corps of Ordnance Drivers, according to the uſage of the Service, and with the bounty cloathing each individual is to be ſupplied on the formation of the corps with a blue turban and a red cummerbund at the coſt of the Government. [] the uniform turban and cummerbund to be afterwards provided by individuals, and kept up at their own expence.
    • 1818, James Johnson, “Dress”, in The Influence of Tropical Climates on European Constitutions. [], 2nd greatly enlarged edition, London: Sold by T. and G. Underwood, [et al.]; printed for the author, by Mottley and Harrison, [], OCLC 956538109, page 384:
      [W]e observe both Hindoo and Mahomedan guarding most consciously against solar heat, as well as cold. The turban and cummerbund meet our eye at every step:—the former, to defend the head from the direct rays of a powerful sun; the latter, apparently, for the purpose of preserving the important viscera of the abdomen from the deleterious impressions of cold. This [cummerbund] is certainly a most valuable part of their dress; and one that is highly deserving of imitation. [] In situations where atmospherical vicissitudes are sudden, a fine shawl round the waist forms an excellent cummerbund, and should never be neglected, especially by those who have been some time in the country, or whose bowels are in any degree tender.
    • 1827, [Walter Scott], chapter XV, in Chronicles of the Canongate; [], volume II (The Surgeon’s Daughter), Edinburgh: [] [Ballantyne and Co.] for Cadell and Co.; London: Simpkin and Marshall, OCLC 230674472, page 353:
      Richard Middlemas, as the Begum's general or Buckshee, walked nearest to her litter, in a dress as magnificent in itself as it was remote from all European costume, being that of a Banka, or Indian courtier. [] The vest was of gold brocade, with a cummerband, or sash, around his waist, corresponding to his turban.
    • 1927, F[anny] E[mily Farr] Penny, chapter 4, in Pulling the Strings, London: Hodder and Stoughton, OCLC 14705422, OL 16814587W:
      Soon after the arrival of Mrs. Campbell, dinner was announced by Abboye. He came into the drawing room resplendent in his gold-and-white turban. […] His cummerbund matched the turban in gold lines.
    • 1994, L[isa] J[ane] Smith, The Chase (The Forbidden Game; II), New York, N.Y.: Archway Paperback, Pocket Books, →ISBN, page 99:
      She saw dresses in every color of the rainbow; she saw lime green cummerbunds and pink cummerbunds and plaid ones.
    • 2005 June 13, Edmund White, “My Women: Learning How to Love Them”, in The New Yorker[1], archived from the original on 10 May 2016:
      The thin boys with their brush cuts and spotty faces, their dinner jackets and burgundy cummerbunds with matching bow ties, would gape at us.

Alternative formsEdit


  • German: Kummerbund



  1. ^ By David Ring, from the collection of the ModeMuseum Provincie Antwerpen (Fashion Museum of the Province of Antwerp) in Antwerp, Belgium.
  2. ^ From the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England, UK.

Further readingEdit