Cummerbund entered the English language in 1616 – as word it has its origins in the Persian word for waist – kamar.
As is so often the case in the history of men’s style, the fashion for cummerbunds was launched by the military. British officers based on the Indian subcontinent adopted them as alternatives to waistcoats (vests in U.S parlance).
(Above) An Indian Musalman Captain of the 19th K.G.O Lancers in full ceremonial dress with cummerbund.)
The common modern design for cummerbunds more resembles a sash than a waistcoat, but in this fine example…
… from Bernard Weatherill of Savile Row (dating from 1964), we can clearly see the waistcoat origins of the garment shining through. This example of the genre is not only stylish but practical.