A Heritage Costumes Exclusive.

The cockade originally was used as a means for designating and identifying military personnel. The tri-corner hats favored by the British and French navies were all pretty similar in appearance, and when a deck was crowded, it could be difficult for the captain to tell where his officers were among the swarm of hats. A system of colored ribbons was thereby used, folded and tucked into a braid on the side of the hat. The captain, standing on the command deck, could look down and easily tell where his men were and what they were doing. Over time this type of simple ornament grew more elaborate and then was adopted by fashionable civilians. The word “cockade” comes from the same root as “cock, ” and if you think about it, a rooster has a similar ornament on his own head!

So not only did an officer need a cockade on his hat, but it had to be the right color.  So add this opulent cockade to your hat or lapel and define your regiment.