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A livery // is a uniform, insignia or symbol adorning, in a non-military context, a person, an object or a vehicle that denotes a relationship between the wearer of the livery and an individual or corporate body. Often, elements of the heraldry relating to the individual or corporate body feature in the livery. Alternatively, some kind of a personal emblem or badge, or a distinctive colour, is featured.
The word itself derives from the French livrée, meaning dispensed, handed over. Most often it would indicate that the wearer of the livery was a servant, dependant, follower or friend of the owner of the livery, or, in the case of objects, that the object belonged to them.
In the late medieval phenomenon of bastard feudalism, livery badges worn by the "retainers" of great lords, sometimes in effect private armies, became a great political concern in England.[ citation needed ]
In the 14th century, the word "livery" referred to an allowance of any kind, but especially clothes provided to servants and members of the household. Such things might be kept in a "livery cupboard".
During the 12th century, specific colours denoting a great person began to be used for both his soldiers and his civilian followers (often the two overlapped considerably), and the modern sense of the term began to form. Usually two different colours were used together (and often with a device or badge sewn on), but the ways in which they were combined varied with rank. Often the colours used were different each year.[ citation needed ] As well as embroidered badges, metal ones were sewn on to clothing, or hung on neck-chains or (by far the most prestigious) livery collars. From the 16th century onwards, only the lower-status followers tended to receive clothes in livery colours (whilst the higher status ones received cash) and the term "servant", previously much wider, also began to be restricted to describing the same people. Municipalities and corporations copied the behaviour of the great households.
The term is also used to describe badges, buttonsand grander pieces of jewellery containing the heraldic signs of an individual, which were given by that person to friends, followers and distinguished visitors, as well as (in more modest forms) servants. The grandest of these is the livery collar. William, Lord Hastings the favourite of King Edward IV of England had a "Coller of gold of K. Edward's lyverys" valued at the enormous sum of £40 in an inventory of 1489. This would have been similar to the collars worn by Hastings' sister and her husband Sir John Donne in the Donne Triptych by Hans Memling (described in Sir John Donne). Lords gave their servants lead or pewter badges to sew onto their clothes. In the 15th century European royalty sometimes distributed uniform suits of clothes to courtiers, as the House of Fugger, the leading bankers, did to all employees.
This practice later contracted to the provision of standardized clothing to male servants, often in a colour-scheme distinctive to a particular family. The term most notably referred to the embroidered coats, waistcoats, knee breeches and stockings in 18th-century style, worn by footmen on formal occasions in grand houses. Plainer clothing in dark colours and without braiding was worn by footmen, chauffeurs and other employees for ordinary duties. For reasons of economy the employment of such servants, and their expensive dress, died out after World War I except in royal households.
Most European royal courts still use their state liveries on formal occasions. These are generally in traditional national colours, and are based on 18th century clothing with fine gold embroidery. Only male royal servants normally wear livery. Knee breeches are worn, normally with white silk stockings; one exception being the Spanish court which prescribes red.
At the British royal court red state livery is still worn by pages, footmen, coachmen, and other attendants on state and formal occasions. The state livery worn by footmen includes foils. The scarlet coats are handmade, and embroidered in gold braid with the royal cypher of the monarch. Gold buttons and other trimmings are of designs and patterns which date from the 18th century. Unlike the tailor-made uniform clothing issued to full-time royal staff, the seldom-worn full-state dress reserved for court pages is not bespoke. The usual practice is to select pages whose height fits the existing ceremonial coats held in storage.
At the Belgian court liveries in traditional colours are still used at state occasions. The coats are red, and have black cuffs with golden lace. Royal cyphers are embroidered on the shoulders. The breeches are of yellow fabric. The semi-state livery worn for less formal occasions has black breeches.
At the Dutch court the full state livery is blue (nassaublauw). The breeches are yellow, and cuffs are red.
The phrase "to sue one's livery" refers to the formal recognition of a noble's majority, in exchange of payment, for conferring the powers attached to his title, and thereby freeing him from dependence as a ward.
From this core meaning, multiple extended or specialist meanings have derived. Examples include:
The term "livery" is now rarely applied in a military context, so it would be unusual for it to refer to a military uniform or the painting design of a military vehicle. The modern military equivalent for "livery" is the term "standard issue", which is used when referring to the colors and regulations required in respect of any military clothing or equipment.
Early uniforms were however regarded as a form of livery ("the King's coat") during the late 17th and early 18th centuries in the European monarchies.During this period, officers of the French Garde du Corps (the Royal Bodyguard) petitioned successfully that they not be required to wear uniform while on duty within the palace at Versailles, since this livery suggested that they were servants rather than aristocrats.
A waistcoat in BrE, or vest in AmE, is a sleeveless upper-body garment. It is usually worn over a dress shirt and necktie and below a coat as a part of most men's formal wear. It is also sported as the third piece in the traditional three-piece male suit. Any given vest can be simple or ornate, or for leisure or luxury. Historically, the vest can be worn either in the place of or underneath a larger coat dependent upon the weather, wearer, and setting.
A tailcoat is a knee-length coat characterised by a rear section of the skirt, known as the tails, with the front of the skirt cut away.
Formal wear, formal attire or full dress is the traditional Western dress code category applicable for the most formal occasions, such as weddings, christenings, confirmations, funerals, Easter and Christmas traditions, in addition to certain state dinners, audiences, balls, and horse racing events. Formal wear is traditionally divided into formal day and evening wear; implying morning dress before 6 p.m., and white tie after 6 p.m. Generally permitted other alternatives, though, are the most formal versions of ceremonial dresses, full dress uniforms, religious clothing, national costumes, and most rarely frock coats. In addition, formal wear is often instructed to be worn with official full size orders and medals.
A badge is a device or accessory, often containing the insignia of an organization, which is presented or displayed to indicate some feat of service, a special accomplishment, a symbol of authority granted by taking an oath, a sign of legitimate employment or student status, or as a simple means of identification. They are also used in advertising, publicity, and for branding purposes. Police badges date back to medieval times when knights wore a coat of arms representing their allegiances and loyalty.
A military uniform is a standardised dress worn by members of the armed forces and paramilitaries of various nations.
Mess dress uniform is the most-formal or semi-formal type of uniforms used by military personnel, police personnel, firefighters and other public uniformed services members for certain ceremonies, receptions, and celebrations, in messes or on private occasions. It frequently consists of a mess jacket, trousers, white dress shirt, often with standing collar and bow tie, along with orders and medals insignia. Design may depend on regiment or service branch, e.g. army, navy, air force, marines, etc. In Western dress codes, mess dress uniform is a permitted supplementary alternative equivalent to the civilian black tie for evening wear or black lounge suit for day wear - sometimes collectively called half dress - although military uniforms are the same for day and evening wear. As such, mess dress uniform is considered less formal than full dress uniform, but more formal than service dress uniform.
A frock coat is a formal man's coat characterised by a knee-length skirt cut all around the base just above the knee, popular during the Victorian and Edwardian periods (1820s–1920s). It is a fitted, long-sleeved coat with a centre vent at the back and some features unusual in post-Victorian dress. These include the reverse collar and lapels, where the outer edge of the lapel is often cut from a separate piece of cloth from the main body and also a high degree of waist suppression around the waistcoat, where the coat's diameter round the waist is less than round the chest. This is achieved by a high horizontal waist seam with side bodies, which are extra panels of fabric above the waist used to pull in the naturally cylindrical drape. As was usual with all coats in the 19th century, shoulder padding was rare or minimal.
The Red Serge refers to the jacket of the dress uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It consists of a scarlet British-style military pattern tunic, complete with a high-neck collar and blue breeches with yellow stripe identifying a cavalry history.
A heraldic badge, emblem, impresa, device, or personal device worn as a badge indicates allegiance to, or the property of, an individual or family. Medieval forms are usually called a livery badge, and also a cognizance. They are para-heraldic, not necessarily using elements from the coat of arms of the person or family they represent, though many do, often taking the crest or supporters. Their use was more flexible than that of arms proper.
Breeches are an article of clothing covering the body from the waist down, with separate coverings for each leg, usually stopping just below the knee, though in some cases reaching to the ankles. The breeches were normally closed and fastened about the leg, along its open seams at varied lengths, and to the knee, by either buttons or by a drawstring, or by one or more straps and buckle or brooches. Formerly a standard item of Western men's clothing, they had fallen out of use by the mid-19th century in favour of trousers.
Byzantine emperors dress changed considerably over the thousand years of the Empire, but was essentially conservative. The Byzantines liked colour and pattern, and made and exported very richly patterned cloth, especially Byzantine silk, woven and embroidered for the upper classes, and resist-dyed and printed for the lower. A different border or trimming round the edges was very common, and many single stripes down the body or around the upper arm are seen, often denoting class or rank. Taste for the middle and upper classes followed the latest fashions at the Imperial Court. As in the West during the Middle Ages, clothing was very expensive for the poor, who probably wore the same well-worn clothes nearly all the time; this meant in particular that any costume owned by most women needed it to fit throughout the full term of a pregnancy.
Full dress uniform or parade dress uniform is the most formal type of uniforms used by military, police, fire and other public uniformed services for official parades, ceremonies, and receptions, including private ones such as marriages and funerals. Full dress uniforms typically include full-size orders and medals insignia. Styles tend to trace back to uniforms used during the 19th century, although the 20th century saw the adoption of mess-dress styled full-dress uniforms. Designs may depend on regiment or service branch. In Western dress codes, full dress uniform is a permitted supplementary alternative equivalent to the civilian white tie for evening wear or morning dress for day wear – sometimes collectively called full dress – although military uniforms are the same for day and evening wear. As such, full dress uniform is the most formal uniform, followed by the mess dress uniform.
Court uniform and dress were required to be worn by those in attendance at the royal court in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Fashion in fourteenth-century Europe was marked by the beginning of a period of experimentation with different forms of clothing. Costume historian James Laver suggests that the mid-14th century marks the emergence of recognizable "fashion" in clothing, in which Fernand Braudel concurs. The draped garments and straight seams of previous centuries were replaced by curved seams and the beginnings of tailoring, which allowed clothing to more closely fit the human form. Also, the use of lacing and buttons allowed a more snug fit to clothing.
The uniforms of the Royal Navy have evolved gradually since the first uniform regulations for officers were issued in 1748. The predominant colours of Royal Navy uniforms are navy blue and white. Since reforms in 1997 male and female ratings have worn the same ceremonial uniform.
The school uniform is black and white, derived from the municipal colours of Edinburgh.
The United States National Park Service, often referred to as the USNPS or NPS, is run by the United States Department of Interior and is charged with protecting, preserving, and interpreting the nation's national parks. While the first national park, Yellowstone, was created in 1872, the National Park Service has only existed since 1916. There was no unifying dress for park officials until the United States Army Cavalry took over the protection of the parks in 1886. For nearly a century since it was officially established, the USNPS underwent several major uniform changes, although several items, such as the distinctive campaign hat, are carry-overs from the early days. Eventually, the uniform became the gray shirt and green trousers that can be seen on NPS Rangers today.
Diplomatic uniforms are ornate uniforms worn by diplomats—ambassadorial and consular officers—at public occasions. Introduced by European states around 1800 and patterned on court dress, they were abandoned by most countries in the twentieth century, but diplomats from some countries retain them for rare, formal occasions.
The Kriegsmarine was the navy of Nazi Germany prior to and during World War II. Kriegsmarine uniform design followed that of the preexisting Reichsmarine, itself based on that of the First World War Kaiserliche Marine. Kriegsmarine styles of uniform and insignia had many features in common with those of other European navies, all derived from the British Royal Navy of the 19th century, such as officers' frock coats, sleeve braid, and the "sailor suit" uniform for enlisted personnel and petty officers.
The Royal Marines uniform is the standardised military dress worn by members of the Royal Marines.
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