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I was made an Honorary Colonel and Aide de Camp of the Governor of Kentucky in 2006 - more properly known as a "Kentucky Colonel". The Kentucky Colonels are brought together by the "Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels", a long-standing charitable organization.

The Colonels have had several uniforms - mostly unofficial. Up to 1931 the ceremonial uniform of the Kentucky Colonels was available through several suppliers, and was a high collar double-button frock coat with 5-strand colonel sleeve braid. Here is a sales brochure from the early 20th century showing the old style uniform (moustache optional).

In May 1931 the meeting of the Colonels decided on an update to the uniform. The minutes of the meeting describe the new design: “… a dark blue jacket much shorter than the Tuxedo coat, silk faced lapels, gold buttons, gold braid epaulets on the shoulders, gold aiguillette (braided cord) suspended from the right shoulder, five narrow embroidered gold stripes extending halfway up the sleeve from the cuff and intertwined in a circular pattern, and the aide-de-camp shield with the small letters ‘KY’ worn on the cuff. Trousers are dark blue evening dress trousers with a gold stripe down the outer seams. A stiff bosom white shirt, wing collar, black bow tie, blue military dress cap, blue officers evening cape and black shoes completes this uniform.”

There is no supplier of this uniform, so a couple of years ago I undertook to have one made by a custom uniform company. It took a while to get it right, but it is now ready to show off:

Here I am wearing my new Kentucky Colonel uniform.

With Col. George McNeillie III, another Kentucky Colonel, at a Knight Templar event in Toronto in 2011.

Sleeve detail, showing the 5-stripe knot of a colonel and Aide de Camp shield

For interested Colonels, I had the uniform made from scratch by the Custom Uniform Company of Denver, USA. Ever since the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels endorsed the uniform in their December 2011 newsletter, there has been incredible interest from Colonels in getting themselves kitted up. Maybe we'll see more at next year's Kentucky Derby.

My thanks to Deb Webster at the Custom Uniform Company for letting me drive her nuts with the details, and for Colonel Glen Bastin, Ambassador of the HOKC for being so supportive of this project.



© Stephen Lautens 1997-2012