Court Uniform and Dress in The United Kingdom - Court Uniform

Court Uniform came into being in the early nineteenth century. Two orders of dress are prescribed: full dress and levée dress. The full-dress uniform consists of a dark blue high-collar jacket with gold oak-leaf embroidery on the chest, cuffs and long tails; white breeches and stockings; and a cocked hat edged with ostrich feathers. Levée dress is less ornate: the jacket is comparatively plain (with embroidery on the cuffs, collar and pockets only), and is worn with dark blue gold-striped trousers instead of breeches. On occasions, trousers are worn with the full-dress jacket; this is sometimes referred to as 'half-dress'. Different grades (or 'classes') of uniform were stipulated for different grades of official; these are described in detail below.

In the United Kingdom, court uniform was formerly worn by various ranks within the Civil and Diplomatic Service, by Privy Counsellors, and by officials of the Royal Household (who were distinguished from other wearers of the uniform by having scarlet, rather than blue, collar and cuffs). Full dress was worn at courts, evening state parties, drawing rooms, state balls, state concerts, etc.; levée dress was worn at levées, and other ceremonies where full dress was not worn. Neither were worn after retirement without special permission.

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