The uniform of the Napoleonic Hussars included the pelisse: a short fur-edged jacket which was often worn slung over one shoulder in the style of a cape, and was fastened with a cord. This garment was extensively adorned with braiding (often gold or silver for officers) and rows of multiple buttons. The tunic was worn underneath, which was also decorated in braid. The Hussar’s accoutrements included a Hungarian-style saddle, covered by a decorated saddlecloth, with long pointed corners surmounted by a sheepskin.
On active service the Hussar normally wore reinforced breeches which had leather on the inside of the leg to prevent them from wearing. On the outside of their breeches was a row of buttons, and sometimes a stripe in a different colour. A busby was worn as headwear. The colours of the dolman, pelisse and breeches varied greatly by regiment, even within the same army.
Hussars were the only corps in the British Army allowed to wear moustaches.
The Hussar’s look has mostly become legendary because of what the hussars did while wearing it. They had made it a point in their honour code to be the most scandalous, daredevils of all military corps. They wore ponytails and moustaches. They looted and pillaged.
You may have seen many of these uniforms in the recent television production of War and Peace.
Many braids and laces used on this uniform can be seen on our website here.
The United States Marine Corps Dress Blues
The Marine Corps have a dress blue uniform, in addition to their green service uniform which is part of a long line of historical Marine Corps uniforms – dating back to the American Revolution. The most formal of a Marine’s uniforms outside of the elaborate evening dress uniforms of officers and senior enlisted, it is often referred to as “Dress Blues” and can be worn in many forms. It is the only uniform of the United States military to use all of the colours of the nation’s flag and incorporates button designs which are the oldest military insignia still in use in the United States Armed Forces.
A sword may be worn when the individual is in command of troops in formation. When wearing the sword and Dress Blue coat, officers wear the Sam Browne belt. For enlisted, the sword is worn with a white waist belt and brass buckle when wearing the Dress Blue coat.
It is the single most imitated uniform by other militaries and has remained unchanged for decades.
Royal Air Force
The RAF’s service dress is worn on formal and ceremonial occasions. It remains essentially unchanged from the service dress uniform adopted in the early 1920s. It consists of a blue-grey jacket and trousers (or skirt for a female).
In 1947, the temperate officers’ service dress jacket was altered. The lower side pockets were removed and the single slit was replaced by two hacking jacket style slits. The lower button was moved up to a position behind the belt and silk embroidery flying badges were replaced with ones in bullion embroidery. These changes were unpopular and in 1951, with the exception of the lower button move, the former uniform style was re-adopted.
Rank is indicated in gold braid on the lower sleeve and white gloves are worn for ceremonial events. Initially the full dress uniform was worn with the service dress cap. However, in 1921 a new form of head-dress was introduced. It was designed to resemble the original flying helmet and it consisted of a leather skull cap trimmed with black rabbit fur. The helmet also featured an ostrich feather plume which was connected at an RAF badge.
The RAF uniform has influenced many other uniforms across the world, including the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Indian Air Force.
Visit our website for British Royal Air Force accoutrements.
The Household Cavalry
The ceremonial and operational uniforms are quite distinctive. The ceremonial uniform of the Household Cavalry has two features that are not often seen on other soldiers. They wear a shiny silver helmet with a long plume of horse hair hanging from the top. When on mounted guard duty they also wear metal chest armour. The two regiments can be told apart by the colour of their jacket and by the plumes on their helmets.
The Life Guards wear red tunics with white plumes while The Blues and Royals wear blue tunics and have red plumes to their helmets. While on guard, the soldiers carry swords. When mounted on horses, the soldiers wear white riding-breeches, known as buckskins, and tall black winged leather boots, which are called jack boots.
We supply to the MoD many components and finished items for this uniform.