Spit and Polish

There was a famous  editor of GQ magazine. When asked to name his  twenty  fashion icons of the 20th century , one he mentioned was  Erwin Rommel. Who can forget the Desert Fox in one of his fast moving  Tiger tanks going forward in France , Russia or the Desert.

The oil, stained, sun burnt  face, the  goggles around his neck ,the immaculate silk scarf ,the tailored  gloves,the arrogance of the hat  and of course the brilliantly cut jacket. The uniform was of course designed by Hugo Boss. Needless to say the rather dull Jewish owner s of GQ magazine sacked their editor but the image of well dressed Nazis remains. They may be bastards, evil  incarnate, they may have lost the war but did they look  good. Ja Wahl.

 And when you remember what the British were wearing.Those ill fitting  khaki battle blouses made of  such course material, no I’m sorry, you cannot get away from the  fact that the best dressed army lost the second world war. And  the best dressed armies often do.

Picture the scene at Agincourt. The pride of French chivalry. Its heraldic symbols, its  glistening armour, its noble shields, its  plumes its well groomed horses and squares. Against them rustic yeomen, archers in their leather jerkins,  hobbit like in comparison, grim and dull. And of course these men who held their manhoods dear win  ,and the men of England  who lay in bed on that St Cripsins day forever after think themselves accursed for not being there to  see those bright and fashionable popinjays done and dusted.

Tnen there was dashing, bonnie Prince Charlie and his  Highland legions. Tartan aGo go. Feathers a quivering in those bright bonnets, stags to the right, none like us. Against them uniform ,red coated Hanoverian troopers led by Butcher Cumberland. Once again the best dressed lost.

And then we come to Napoleon. How he loved designing uniforms. And who can forget Murat in his hussars best.,Ney in the uniform of the Old Guard. Soult in the dashing , plumed splendour of a full Field Marshal. The shakos the busbies,  how good it must have been on the dawn of Austerlitz. The joie to guerre. All  lost against the dull squares of Wellington’s unmentionables.

Nearer to the present time. Who dresses us as Vietcong . But everyone love the kit  of the French at Dien Bien Phu and the Yanks at Khe Sang . Do military clubs dig tunnels and ride bikes for weekend pleasure or wear US  fatigues and drive jeeps. I rest my case. Good uniforms lose wars.

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