Even if this practice is followed merely for ceremonial purposes, I suggest that it creates a Ruritanian atmosphere of fancy-dress, more appropriate to the Victorian era. It is hardly helpful to the Ministry of Defence in its efforts to portray the armed services as providing careers open to merit and talent, rather than privilege.
If the Blair government is serious about creating a truly modern society, then practices like this should be consigned to history. If the persons concerned are no longer serving officers, then what is wrong with civilian dress?
R J RUMSEY