What are Epaulettes?

Did you know |¬†√Čpaule is¬†the French word for shoulder -¬†√©paulette¬†is the diminutive form, meaning "little shoulder"!

Epaulettes (pronounced eh-puh-lets) originated in France at the end of the 17th century. Originally, they were decorative ribbons used to keep shoulder belts (leather straps holding bayonets or other weaponry) from slipping. From the 18th century, epaulettes were commonly used to denote the rank of the person wearing it; often, they were metal plates with braided fringes that covered the entire shoulder.

This tradition continued throughout history and can still be seen today in the dress uniforms of various military institutions. Their everyday uniforms still have a flat cloth sleeve that sits on the shoulder, but it is more correctly referred to as a "shoulder mark" rather than an epaulette.

Confusingly, the word epaulette refers to both the shoulder piece and to the loop on the jacket or shirt to which it is attached. In most modern garments, if an item is listed as having epaulettes, it usually means it will have a fabric tab on the shoulder which attaches with either a button or hook-and-loop fastening. Curious? Check out our Epaulette Shirt or Epaulette Jumper - both available to be branded with your logo!

(Sorry ladies - we don't sell beautiful epaulette accessories like our mermaid model is wearing here!)

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