Variegated Uniforms

  • Historical Clothing
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Perhaps the most recognized of “traditional” Military Uniforms, the style of Uniform known as “Variegated” (also known as Counter Colored or Counter Charged), was one of the first attempts to identify specific Military Units and even The Military of a specific Nation. It is debated as to just “who” started this Military “fashion”, but it appears to have begun in Sweden and France in the early 17th Century. Tail Coats were popular in terms of Military use for Armies. These Coats were traditionally colored in White or Buff color. White was seen as a way of easily identifying Soldiers on the battlefield at distance. With the more consistent use of Artillery however, the massive amounts of smoke often negated this. It became difficult to “see” Soldiers by Commanders (with the Tail Coat colors blending in with the gunsmoke. Coats began to be manufactured even which had different colored “facings” or Front panels. This simple design change gave a “splash of color” to the Soldiers Uniform which allowed for visibility. Coloring was greatly varied by Nation. Eventually, The Variegated Facing was used to identify specific or Elite Units from more common Units. Many Nations began to adopt the color Red as a Variegated Front for even better visibility in gunsmoke. White and Buff coloring was still used for Breeches and Under Clothing. This was also seen as a practical form of battlefield visibility. The Variegated Front for Uniform Coats would continue as the standard of use in most World Armies until the abandonment of The Tail Coat in the late 18th and early 19th Century. Despite the change, Variegation would still be retain as a Uniform fashion – in the form of Unit Facings (different colored fabrics woven into Trousers and Uniform Coats). The practice can still be seen in Ceremonial Dress with many European Armies.