Shoulder cords. Better referred to as an aigullette or a fourragere.
"An aiguillette . . . is an ornamental braided cord most often worn on uniforms . . . it will denote an honour. Originally, the word 'aiguillette' referred to the lacing used to fasten plate armor together. As such, a knot or loop arrangement was used which sometimes hung from the shoulder."
"The fourragère is a military award, distinguishing military units as a whole, that is shaped as a braided cord. The award has been firstly adopted by France"
The aiguillette and fourragere as with the gorget the last vestigial and emblematic items worn on the uniform in remembrance of the olden times of knighthood and the wearing of armor?
"A more probable explanation [and reasonable] is that the aiguillette derived from the laces used to secure plates of armor together . . . —the breast- and back-plates would be attached on one side with short loops of cord acting as a hinge, and on the other by a longer and more ornate tied one . . . As armour became more ornamental and less practical, so too did the ties. This would also explain the aiguillettes of varying levels of complexity"
So astonishing is the number, variety, and how-to-be-worn versions of merely aiguillette that you almost need the proverbial scorecard just to keep track.
Here with a sample of images, aiguillette and fourragere:
The braid worn under the arm with the single hanging rope.
On the right the braid by itself worn under the arm. On the right the braid with rope looped and worn over the sleeve but with an additional rope worn under the arm AND one more rope hanging.
Frenchman on parade wearing a fourragere. Attached obviously in the front to the blouse button with rope handing but then the braid connects exactly where in the back?
Here Graves B. Erskine. Senior USMC commander from the era of the Second World War [WW2]. His shoulder cords described as a fourragere. This is a combination of braid, and ropes, looped ropes and single. Those looped ropes over the sleeve, braid under the arm with the single rope not a loop. "General Graves B. Erskine wears the fourragère with the cords hanging over the sleeve, a mark of being in the military unit when the award was made. Soldiers and Marines who are later assigned to the unit do not wear the outside cords. Graves B. Erskine, then platoon leader in the 6th Marine Regiment, was personally authorized to wear the fourragère."
This one appears to be a fourragere but I cannot be sure. The uniform is Canadian formal dress as one might wear to an event when meeting the Prime Minister! The braid and ropes worn under the arm with the two additional ropes hanging. And those metallic tips to the hanging ropes are called a what? Anyone know?
Devoted readers to the blog might want to peruse the various regulations that govern the wearing of the shoulder cords, the aiguillette and fourragere. You almost need a law degree to understand this stuff, it gets so complicated and so fast, who can wear and when and how, etc. the "varying levels of complexity" immense.