Uniforms are an integral part of armies everywhere in the world. They speak volumes about the wearers’ traits, characters, as well as their countries culture. The style, color, appearance, even the fabrics used are all carefully planned and put together to maximize their use, comfort, practicality, and protection that could affect the soldiers’ morale and performance. Some uniforms, like those of the British Army are so iconic that they form the model for the uniforms of other countries(U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps uniform are all based on the British models. But there are some nations that dress their soldiers in uniforms that are like nothing we’ve ever seen. there were some that went out of the way and stood out. Here are some of the oddest military uniforms we have ever seen.

Papal Swiss Guard

Swiss guard swearing-in ceremony at the Paul VI Audience Hall. (Paul RongaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Papal or Pontifical Swiss Guards are among the oldest active military units ever and started in 1506. Their main tasks were to protect the pope and the Vatican Palace in the entirety of the Vatican City. Known for their colorful blue, red, orange, and yellow dress uniform that gives a Renaissance period vibe, this design that we know was a revision of commandant Jules Repond in 1914. Putting on the uniform is not easy-breezy as it is composed of 154 pieces (excluding the weapons) and takes nearly 32 hours and three fittings to complete. It might also be the heaviest to wear at 8 pounds.

Swiss Guardsman in regular duty uniform. (Simone Casadei User: Wappi76CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Thankfully, the modern regular duty service dress uniform is less-complicated with a solid blue version paired with a black belt, white-collar, and a black beret. However, there’s no denying that the colorful tricolor grand gala uniform catches our attention.

India’s Border Security Force

The BSF Camel Mounted Band playing the tune “Hum hain seema suraksha bal” while passing through the Rajpath during the full dress rehearsal for Republic Day Parade -2004, in New Delhi. (Government of IndiaGODL-India, via Wikimedia Commons)

BSF Camelry was established in 1965 in the wake of the Indo-Pakistani War. Soon after, the male camels (around 1200 in total) were dispatched as an equivalent of the usual cavalry team to be used in the desert border with Pakistan and Bangladesh. The camels used in ceremonial duties are trained to get used to loud music and also 75 different pieces of decorative items, including their riders’ outfits. The uniforms and colorful harnesses of the camel contingent are different from the rest of the BSF.