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Epaulettes: symbol of dignity


In any system it is crucial to rank sets of items. Ranking is a method to distinguish between two or more than two set of objects even people on the basis of their performance. In our World globally the system of ranking is used to distinguish between people from different working groups. In connection with the previous ranking system, in order to decide between two sets of item or people system must require some signs to assign to them in order to rank them. Different field all around the globe from the beginning used Epaulettes. They do have historical background.

Description of epaulettes:

The epaulettes are decoration component for the shoulder. These are awarded by different organizations to their workers. Ranking them and it is an honor for the person to whom it’s been awarded. This honorable decoration piece is designed in accordance with the rank. Different organizations design this honorable shoulder component accordingly. Mainly it is used in military organizations along with other organizations too. In military it is mainly worn by officers in representation of their honorable rank.

Outward form:

  • The outward description of this component is as it is an ornate piece fastened usually on shoulder in all organizations worldwide. As its form changes with the time as in the ancient era they are made up of metals which are gold and silver.as in these days these metals are common in decorative items.
  •  In today’s time or this modern era they differ in their forms the epaulette is a five sided cloth which is flap type known as shoulder mark and it is sewed along the uniform. This is how the design of this shoulder mark evolves.

History of epaulettes:

This epaulette share historical background to different nations of the world. It originated in the Ancient and Greek cultures also have linkage to other nations as they also used as a symbol of honor to rank armed forces. These nations are Canada, Belgium, France, Germany and even this culture is rooted in Ottoman Empire and in the Russian Empire too. As all of these listed nations have well developed armed forces and a well-organized system been designed by them, therefor they have historical as well as cultural relation with epaulettes. Back in the 19th century the armed forces from Europe worn it to distinguish them from other European forces , here it is in the form of threads which may be twisted or are straight or hanging strips they have reveling boarders.


They originated in the Ancient and Greek cultures. They design military costumes in which ribbons in the form of bunch of strips are used to prevent shoulder marks from displacing. The accurate source of origin is not known yet in the ending of 17 century these are designed in the military costumes of different nations. As the time passes it evolve. In beginning of 18th century it is used to distinguish the rank of armed forces in France, the position of this piece also describe the rank of officers. Later on it become the sign of only commission rank among armed forces. It is not only the sign for military forces. But also in other forces as an honorable representation of their rank. In the mid of18th century they were first seen on the uniforms of Swedish forces.

Representative of:

Mainly it is used to represent the rank of military and other forces. But what the epaulette represent is depends on

  • The position of the shoulder piece on which shoulder it is worn on the left or right in some of the ranking positions on the either the left or right shoulder.
  • Color of the shoulder piece also symbolizes the rank of the one who wears it. As they are designed by the organizations according to their interest historical point of view.
  • The size and shape of the epaulette also differ according to the position or rank or the person who wear it. With the passage of time they become smaller in size so it becomes comfortable to wear them.

Significance of epaulettes:

Epaulettes are the decorative shoulder component. These are crucial component of military, police and other force’s uniforms .They too used for decorative purposes on clothes. As many brands used it for ornamental purposes but they originate from ancient costumes where they are served the purpose of defense. They are of remarkable importance. They not only enhancing the uniform. But also providing the crucial information about the designation of the person who wears it. Different colored epaulettes in contrast to the uniforms are there providing information about the position of wearer.it hold both historical and cultural significance.

 Color in contrast to uniform:

Epaulettes exist in different colors in contrast to color of uniform here are combinations listed below

  • Red ones with bristly form white shapes these are the patterns seen in Belgian forces uniforms.
  • Gold braided strap is a part of Canadian army which symbolizes their status or rank.
  • These are strips braided as seems like knots hanging on the shoulders of German forces.
  • Mainly its color is gold in different uniforms.


These are only small thing with huge historical as well as cultural backgrounds in today’s world. They have rich history and convey significant information about things. They derived from a common central point shared by all nations. Epaulettes derived from the ancient Greek culture then adapted by other nations in other forms. They serve many purposes including ornamental and decorative one shown in many clothes in the modern time. These are the combination of colors, designs and arrangements which convey remarkable information’s. These are simple signs which symbolize such tremendous information.     

Read more at: Fashionhub



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