Yes there were some political undertones to the showy uniform on the right. According to Time Magazine, President Richard Nixon, while making a tour of European capitals c1971, had been impressed by the appearance of the various honour guards that he had reviewed. On his return to Washington DC he enquired about having the Secret Service security guard detachment at the White House issued with a dress uniform for appropriate occasions. Apparently they wore an ordinary police type uniform at the time. So a stylish clothes designer got to work and produced the Spanish style "Roz" shako, white tunic and black trousers with gold stripes shown. These were duly worn on one occasion only to welcome a visiting head of state. Unfortunately Nixon was then entering his period of domestic unpopularity that was to culminate with Watergate. The media saw the "Ruritanian" uniforms as evidence of megalomania and ridiculed them. The shakos were immediately abandoned (a few years later I was told that they had been sold to a marching band but that seems unlikely). The white tunics continued to be worn occasionally until Gerald Ford became President in 1974. The Secret Service, probably embarrassed by the whole thing, then quietly discarded them. The plainer version on the left had been the daily uniform through-out and continues to be worn now for all occasions. I guess it goes to show the importance of symbolism and tradition in the public acceptability of uniforms - if the Nixon uniform had (like the even more elaborate grey and white full dress of West Point) been adopted in the early 19th century then there would probably have been an outcry at any modern day attempt to abolish it.
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