The White House guard (secret service uniformed division) publicly revealed their new uniforms which featured a white, double-breasted tunic with gold shoulder trim and a stiff shako hat with peaked front. They replaced the black uniforms the guards had previously worn on ceremonial occasions.
President Nixon had ordered that a new uniform be designed after he had seen what palace guards wore in other countries and had decided that the White House needed something as fancy.
However, almost no one liked the new uniforms. People made comments such as:
- "they look like extras from a Lithuanian movie"
- "Late Weimar Republic"
- "Nazi uniforms"
- "like a palace guard of toy soldiers"
- "will they be goose-stepping, or what?"
- "falls somewhere between early high school band and late palace guard."
- "They look like old-time movie ushers."
- Chicago Tribune columnist Walter Trohan complained they were a "frank borrowing from decadent European monarchies, which is abhorrent to this country’s democratic tradition."
The guards themselves complained that they felt too theatrical and that the hats were uncomfortable. So within a month the hats had disappeared. The white jackets lasted longer, but eventually they too were mothballed.
Alton Evening Telegraph - Jan 30, 1970
However, the uniforms weren't thrown out. They sat in storage for a decade, and in 1980 they were sold to the Meriden-Cleghorn High School Marching Band in Iowa.
Los Angeles Times - May 15, 1980
Category: Fashion | 1970s