It was around this time in 1970 that there was a new style for the White House Uniformed Division, though not many people at the time thought it was too stylish.


For decades the guards have provided security at the White House and other sites that are part of the Executive Branch.

Since they’re law enforcement officers, they have dressed like law enforcement officers, wearing either police-style clothing or the black suits that we associate with Secret Service agents.

But presidents sometimes like to put their own style on their surroundings.

They redecorate the Oval Office, overhaul White House furniture and try to bring fancier uniforms to the building.

One of those was President Richard Nixon.

In 1969, he was traveling through Europe and really liked the look of the palace guards he saw in other countries.

He wanted to bring some of that look to the U.S.

The White House turned to a tailor in Washington, D.C., Jimmie Muscatello, to design the new uniforms.

Muscatello described himself as a “country fella” who had never been to Europe, but he studied up and put some ideas together.

He first proposed a bright red uniform that I imagine looked a little like the signature suit of M. Bison, the lead villain in the “Street Fighter” video games.


The Secret Service said that was too flamboyant, so the final versions were white suits with gold trim, black hats, and black pants with gold stripes on the sides.

Muscatello suggested the uniforms would make life “more interesting” for the guards, which was putting it mildly.

Americans mocked the suits, saying the White House looked like it was being guarded by movie ushers.

Others loathed the idea that there were people in military-style uniforms surrounding the president’s house.

The suits were retired just weeks after they first appeared, but that wasn’t the end of the story.

A decade later, they were sold as part of an auction of surplus government property.

One of the bidders was rocker Alice Cooper, who wanted to have his road crew wear Richard Nixon’s old uniforms.

But in the end they went to a high school marching band in Iowa, which bought a president’s attempt to bring European-style uniforms to the White House guard for ten dollars each.


Today in 1978, the birthday of Emilio Marcos Palma, the first person born in Antarctica.

TIME Magazine reported that his mother traveled from Argentina to Antarctica because she wanted to make sure her country had the first Antarctica-born baby and not neighboring Chile.

Pomp and Circumstance (Nixon Library)

A Brief History of Antarctica (TIME)

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