Uniforms – what makes them so sexy? I’m talking men here, but it works both ways. Men are known to love the school uniform with its pleated skirt and white socks, or the nurse with the skin tight dress and stockings. Men have the advantage though, they’ve been in uniform for much longer.
Romans – with their short tunics, plumed helmets and armour. Were they beginnings of the uniform? It seemed to take centuries to reach a standardised form of dress in the military. In the Middle Ages, confusion reigned and badges or emblems were sewn on to cloaks to help differentiate.
The most well-known, the crusader knights with their crosses brazenly worn for all to see.
The navy liked their officers to look smart, but not the grimy sailors who swabbed the decks. It took a while for the idea to catch on to the lower ranks.
Regimental uniforms were almost tribal in origin and had little to do with camouflage and more do to with the prestige. Polished brass buttons, bright colours and obvious white breeches tightly hugging the thighs. Modern soldiers may wear dress uniforms still today during parades, but at least they have the luxury of protection and blending in with their environment when in conflict zones.
Eventually, with the rise of other hierarchical services came other uniforms – the police, fireman, medical profession and flight attendant to name a few.
What makes them work – they have to hug the figure. Bring out the broad shoulders and narrow hips. They make men taller, regardless of actual height. Neatness. There’s something satisfying about seeing shirts tucked in, straight seams, crew cut hairstyles and …. ties.
Here are a couple of my favourites…
Alice, the heroine of my latest spanking romance, is infatuated with uniforms. The arrival of the militia regiment in town has her standing on tiptoes at the roadside desperate to see her prey….
She could see columns of redcoats, their bright scarlet bodies dazzling against the background of brick and pavement. For a moment, she savoured the sight of the marching soldiers. Across their broad, manly chests were the white cross belts with their powder pouches and underneath the belt, the lines of brass buttons. Above, the black shakos with chin straps, cast shadows over faces. Below, there were snug white breeches and buffed boots, splattered with spots of mud.
Clutching her hands to her chest, Alice finally caught a glimpse of the officers.
“Is that the major or captain?” asked Lucy pointing at the tallest horseman.
Alice examined the uniform. “No,” she said firmly. “The colonel.” She could see the golden tassels of his epaulets perched high on his shoulder. The cocker hat lowered over his forehead inconveniently hid his features. As the marching soldiers filed passed, and the officers drew nearer, he loomed closer.
“Look at them!” gasped Philippa. “Are they not handsome? I am sure one just winked at me.”
“I do believe it is the dust in his eyes, sister,” said Lucy sourly.
Alice edged closer to the line of men, as close as she dared without falling into their path. Remembering her kerchief, she gave it a wave, hoping it would draw their attention.
The foot soldiers, one arm swinging rhythmically, the other clutching their muskets to a shoulder, stared obstinately to the front and ignored her. She noticed the junior officers almost swaggered on their horses, a hand to their hats, tipping or nodding in greeting to the gathering.
It was the elegant colonel, straight backed and tall, who held Alice’s attention unwaveringly. For some reason his features seemed familiar to her, even though she could only truly see his mouth and nose. As his burly stallion came closer, the impassive colonel lifted his head up higher. His face didn’t alter in expression throughout his manoeuvring, even when the horse refused to stay in line. His eyes focused on the road ahead, while one hand held the reins, the other arm lay almost limp to one side, straight and unbending, crop clutched in his hand. She adored his gallant posture—a man confident in his role.
Then his eyes moved, down and to the side and he looked straight at her. Not a passing glance of curiosity, but one that remained fixed and unswerving for several seconds. His head turned as his horse came to pass in front of Alice, and she could not believe her eyes when he lifted his arm and touched the tip of the riding crop to the brim of his cocked hat, at the same time letting his head nod vaguely in her direction. Then, the tiny salute complete, he returned to his original posture—rigid and upright in stance, arm to one side.
Alice had frozen to the spot, pulse racing and throat constricted. His face, neither youthful nor aged, remained imprinted on her mind. Why she thought him familiar she didn’t know—she felt sure she would remember such a handsome man. Her friends, seemingly unaware of her brief encounter with the colonel, whooped in delight when one of the lieutenants acknowledged their applause. While Alice remained lost in thought, her friends frantically waved their kerchiefs in her face.
“Did you see, Alice?” shrieked Lucy. “The officer on the bay horse did give me the most charming of smiles. Where do they billet? We must make their acquaintance.”
“I don’t know,” muttered Alice trying to recover her composure. It was a lie. She suspected the officers would be staying at the Dancing Bear Inn; she had overheard the innkeeper complaining about the rising cost of serving visiting regiments. But her plan to visit the inn wouldn’t be ruined by her giggling friends. Alice believed only she had the maturity to deal with such men, and she intended to go on her own.
The militia continued on and disappeared into the marketplace.
“There, done,” remarked Philippa clapping her hands once last time. “Was that not a fine display of soldiery? Did they not look most handsome in their uniforms? What say you, Ann?”
Alice’s quiet friend hadn’t said anything throughout the parade, content to stand at the back, her lanky frame easily giving her a better view. She seemed, to Alice, embarrassed by the fuss.
“It was a good parade,” said Ann, her face turning pink.
The others laughed at her understated response, teasing her as they walked down the streets amongst the dispersing throng.
Lucy chided Ann. “You’ll never make an impression if you don’t show some interest.”
Alice, half-listening, glanced over her shoulder, back up the street to the disappearing lines of soldiers. She could not shake off the sensation that she had been recognised by the regiment’s colonel.