We’re all partial to the uniforms of our favorite sports teams, of course, and I think the U.S. military uniforms are pretty darned cool. But whenever a new Pope is selected, and we get a glimpse of the workings of the enclave of Cardinals, we must all grudgingly admit the truth: the uniforms of the Swiss Guard for the Vatican are the greatest uniforms ever.
I mean, look at these things! Just look at them! Multi-hued, horizontal-striped pantaloons, leggings, and tunics. Huge shirtsleeve cuffs and ruffled, lacy collars that look like they belong in a Rembrandt painting. Steel conquistador-style helmets with their sharply curved, pointed brims, burnished to a gleaming pewter glow and topped with bright red ostrich feathers. And they carry pikes for weaponry. Pikes!
With this one uniform, the Swiss Guard has managed to combine the rococo stylings and trappings of countless different military forces into one bold, harlequin-like statement. These aren’t uniforms made for camouflage or sneaking up on an opponent, no sir! No, the Swiss Guard will be going through the front door, beating a drum, tapping their pikes against the floor in rhythmic tempo, singing in perfect pitch, and doing intricate marching maneuvers like the Wicked Witch’s palace guard in the Wizard of Oz.