From ancient times to recent history, [[TruthInTelevision this trope has been frequently been the standard]] for military uniforms, for a number of reasons.

For starters, pride and ExecutiveMeddling by leaders eager to have a fancy-looking army certainly play a part- pleas from commanders that their men cannot walk, let alone fight, while wearing gold shoes be damned. Even for nations with saner leadership, however, military uniforms make an excellent way to [[ConspicuousConsumption prominently display a nation's wealth and industry]], and there are examples that even in RealLife, this [[TropesAreNotBad trope is not bad]].

The Romans, for instance, had entirely practical uniforms that still managed to incorporate bling of war in an incredibly intimidating way: imagine being a tribal European standing side by side with your HomeGuard armed and armored with [[BreakOutTheMuseumPiece family heirlooms]] and repurposed farm implements, facing a Legion clad in identical gleaming armor bolstered with tanned leather, trimmed with practical and understated fringes and embossment... ''[[OhCrap and then realizing that these were just their footsoldiers]]'' as the guys with the really fancy armor rode up on horseback and started ordering them to march forward in lockstep.

A highly decorated[[note]]That idiom makes a lot more sense now, doesn't it?[[/note]] commander also tends to bolster his men's confidence, and is easy to locate and rally to in battle. For the average soldier, meanwhile, even small touches like a CoolHelmet and a [[SharpDressedMan classy uniform]] can be [[MagicFeather a powerful morale booster]].

This trope can also be subverted, because what may seem to be AwesomeButImpractical may in fact be both awesome ''and'' practical in action. The Winged Hussiars of Poland demonstrate: the large wing-like structures fixed to the back of this legendary cavalry group's armor may seem like impractical Bling of War...until you see modern historical reenactors in action, and realize the terror of being charged by a wall of armor-clad bird-angel-centaur-screaming-nightmare-things that you can't attack from behind.

In modern uniforms, this trope tends to be heavily downplayed or entirely averted in the field, bling being a [[StraightForTheCommander good way to show snipers who to shoot]]. Modern field insignias and distinctive signs have muted colors and small size, typically a small patch painted grey on a black background on the uniform's collar. In ceremonial circumstances however, BlingOfWar continues to be in full effect in many nations: uniform regulations are serious business, and you ''will'' wear your ChestOfMedals whether you like it or not.