Most countries have military uniforms that are stately, that evoke feelings of honor and glory, or that feature something high-tech, developed for highly successful battlefield tactics. But what we”re presenting today are…not anything like that.
These are dress uniforms, which don”t have to worry about being camouflaged, functional, or even comfortable. They”re ornate and steeped in history and culture, that”s for sure, but they”re also a little bit silly.
And that”s why we love them.
1. The Swiss Guard dress uniform.
Don”t worry, the everyday uniform is silly, too. It”s plain blue with a white collar and has much the same shape. The official guard of the Vatican has had very similar uniforms, with the same basic shape, colors, and pattern, for about 500 years. Each uniform is custom fit to the guard wearing it, and takes 154 pieces of cloth and 3 fittings to complete. Weighing in at 8 pounds, it is the heaviest uniform used by a standing army in the world.
And yes, they wear armor, too. And carry halberds and swords. They also carry modern weapons like Glocks and SIG pistols. Yes, their pants are silly, but don”t antagonize these guys.
2. The Right Honourable Yeoman Warders
If the pope gets some silly-looking guards, then so does the queen. Their full title is “Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty”s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign”s Body Guard of the Yeoman Guard Extraordinary,” but they”re more commonly known as the Beefeaters. Originally, they guarded prisoners in the Tower of London as well as the crown jewels, but today, they mostly play tour guide. This is their everyday uniform, which has not changed much since the Tudor days and is said to be extremely uncomfortable.
3. The Yeomen of the Guard
While they might serve a mainly ceremonial purpose, many of the Yeomen of the Guard (a different branch than the Yeoman Warders, but with similar Tudor-style dress uniforms), must have 22 years of military service behind them. This means most of them are seasoned veterans who, despite their shoe ruffles, can probably kill you very, very easily.
4. Greek Parade Dress
Everyone likes to smirk at the Greek parade uniforms, with their pleated skirts and shoe pompoms. This is the uniform of the Evzones, which is an elite light infantry unit charged with guarding the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Soldiers must be at least six foot one to even sign up.
The skirt, known as a fustanella kilt, is made of precisely 98 feet of cloth folded into 400 pleats. Each pleat signifies a year of Turkish occupation. Meaning that the uniforms are a manifestation of ancient racial grudge holding.
If not for the fan-shaped headdresses, this uniform would be entirely intimidating. Now it”s intimidating with fan-hats.
Despite their years of animosity, India and Pakistan both love their fan-hats, only India opted with a lighter, orange-and-khaki color scheme.
This is a thing that happens every day. Seriously. At the border of India and Pakistan, during the daily changing of the guard, the servicemen from each country engage in this, which is something like a ceremonial “f*** you” from each side to the other. Neither of these guys look particularly personally invested in this. At least it”s not violent.
7. North Korea”s female uniforms
Nothing says “battle ready” like a midi skirt and bare legs. But it”s North Korea. What do you want?
Maybe there”s something silly about all military dress uniforms, many of which hearken back to times past regardless of current relevancy. Or maybe the connection to the past is what these dress uniforms are all about, the lineage of soldiers through history. Do you think they should stay as they are, or do you think they might need an update?