What is Aiguillette?
Aiguillette is actually a ornamental silk cord with enhancing metallic tips popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, sometimes of gold set with gemstones or enameled are generally called “aiglets”. “aglets” or “points”. worn on the army uniforms or its also use as the part of other costumes such as academic uniforms, where it will show the honor of the person. “aiguillette” actually originates from lacing used to fasten plate armor together, which used to hung from shoulder. The current aiguillette or shoelace tip and the ornamental tips on bolo ties are types of aiguillettes.
Aiguillette Come From?
Aiguillette is an old French word for indicator or tag, and refers to the metal tag at the last of the cords. The aiguillette origin is the same as shoe laces: these both originate in the old-fashioned period for tying clothes, shoes and armour. They are most regularly braided from gold or silver wire and feature pointed with metal tips. Aiguillettes come in different styles, ranging from the gold-wire cord aiguillettes worn by Equerries and Aides de Camp to the Monarch, to simpler corded aiguillettes worn by lower ranks and bandsmen in full dress. With the pristine detailing of the braids, aiguillettes are one of the more desirable features of a uniform.
Buff leather coats were very popular in the 17th Century. With these being up to 5mm thick, buttons were unrealistic, so leather or cord ‘points’ were used to fasten the coat. The sleeves of the coat were also made of buff leather and laced to the top of the arm hole. The ends being knotted off and the tags left to dangle.
It became popular on in-fashion after civil war, bunches of ribbons worn at the tip of shoulder or in the form of long bows with ending points. This trend end in England but in 14th and 15th into the early 18th century it was very popular in French dresses or courts of Louis. British army also revived this style in the form of knot with some changes and they add three loops, as a corporal’s badge of rank of its designation.
In this form it was made of worsted or silk cord of regimental color, with the pointed tags in the same metal as the buttons and coat lace. They were also worn in this fashion by staff officers in metal cord. This style continued for staff officers up to 1814 when the French style was introduced. This had evolved in the French court and army into the style we now recognize but in lighter cord and made in worsted, silk or metal cord. The modern heavy cord style is an elaborate Victorian invention.
Who wears an aiguillette?
Mostly aiguillette wear the armies or official forces officially MARINE CORPS and BRITISH MILITARY wear it. Now more we discuss below in detail:
BRITISH MILITARY AIGUILLETTE
There are four types of aiguillette worn by the British Armed Forces.
- Aiguillettes (1st Class or Royal) are of gold-wire cord and are worn on the right shoulder by, among others, admirals of the fleet, field marshals and marshals of the RAF; honorary physicians, honorary chaplains, honorary surgeons and aides-de-camp to the Sovereign; equerries to members of the royal family. Some appointments carry the privilege of wearing miniature Sovereign’s Cypher on the points of the aiguillettes. These aiguillettes are also worn by commissioned officers of the Household Cavalry (in full dress only). They are worn on the left shoulder in full dress by warrant officers of the Household Cavalry.
- Aiguillettes (2nd Class or Board) are of gold and dark blue, crimson or light blue depending if worn by Royal Navy, Army or RAF officers and are worn on the right shoulder by, among others, military members of the Defense Board and each Service Board and the personal staff of governors. A simplified version with no coils is worn on the left shoulder by staff corporals, corporals of horse and lance corporals of horse of the Household Cavalry in full dress.
- Aiguillettes (3rd Class or Staff) are of gold and dark blue, crimson or light blue depending if worn by Royal Navy, Army or RAF officers. They are worn on the left shoulder by, among others, attachés, assistants and aides-de-camp.
Simple aiguillette worn by lance corporals of the Household Cavalry and by bandsmen of Dragoon Guards and Dragoon regiments in full dress.
The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police wears silver aiguillettes in both formal and ceremonial dress. The Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of the City of London Police wear gold aiguillettes on the right shoulder in ceremonial dress. Some officers of that force also wear gold aiguillettes on the left shoulder in ceremonial dress.
MARINE CORPS AIGUILLETTE
In United States Marine Corps are wears Aiguillette it was made with Synthetic Gold & Red. Marine Corps Service Aiguillettes consist of round gold wire and scarlet cord, 1/4 inch in diameter, and consist of two, three, or four loops sewn together all the way around. Service aiguillettes are fastened under the shoulder strap and go around the shoulder just under the armpit, with the longest loop nearest the collar.
Service aiguillettes are generally reserved for the following:
- Four Loops – Aides to generals, admirals, or officials of higher grade.
- Three Loops – Aides to lieutenant generals or vice admirals.
- Two Loops – Aides to major/brigadier generals, rear admirals, or other officers of lower grade entitled to an aide.
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