The First Military Uniforms

In our article entitled “Discover the three functions of the military uniform!”, we explained in details the importance of this outfit for soldiers, which we can summarize in three points, namely: protection, identification, functionality and we added comfort. To access the full article, click here.

The question that arises at this level is: how did this product appear in the first place? what marks the beginning of military uniforms?

Since Greek antiquity, we have noticed the use of unified clothing, such as in Hannibal’s Spanish Infantry or the Spartan Hoplite, where they wore white and red outfits respectively. But it was just from the 17th century, in Europe, that we witnessed the appearance of what is now called a military uniform. The need to set up regular armies and to dress the soldiers at a lower cost, pushed the authorities to rethink the clothing of their armies, and to establish a detailed dress code which includes; the model of the outfit, the model of camouflage, the colors…

This outfit reached its peak during the Napoleonic era. Officers wore elegant, well-tailored outfits with extravagant gold or silver braiding, multitudes of gold buttons and polished leather. While regular soldiers wore simpler costumes.

Except for color, there was little that distinguished early military uniforms from civilian clothing. This color has become associated with countries – such as red for Great Britain and blue for the United States of America. Previously, we relied on a single tenue design for fights, training as well as official events. However, a distinction between the branches of the army proved essential to design practical, comfortable and durable clothing for each.

It is in this sense that this sector has seen variations in colors, choice of fabric, design of insignia indicating rank, number of buttons, etc. Many elements emerged – brass and leather buttons, practical buttoned pockets, braids and gold trimmings to indicate status.

These uniforms were designed, firstly, to distinguish soldiers from civilians during times of war. Then, to recognize illegal arms holders who will not be protected by the laws of war. And finally, in order to attract the attention of young civilians and encourage them to join the army.

The choice of fabric, technology used, color and type of camouflage of these clothes takes into account the soldier’s mission, the climate of the battle or training areas and the requirements of each country. A single look at the soldier’s military uniform is enough to have a clear idea about its authority. Check our diverse range of military uniforms here.