Nixon’s Palace Guard

In 1970, when President Richard Nixon was preparing for a visit from Prime Minister Harold Wilson, he thought his White House uniform guards looked “slovenly.” He ordered that a new uniform be designed after those he had seen on palace guards in other countries. When the uniforms were revealed, almost no one liked them. People made comments like “They look like extras from a Lithuanian movie,” “They look like a palace guard of toy soldiers,” and “Will they be goose-stepping?” The guards themselves complained that they felt too theatrical and that the hats were uncomfortable. So, within a month, the hats disappeared. The white jackets lasted longer, but eventually they, too, were mothballed. 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.