All ideas have both + and - but the most problematic thing is what exact year are we going to play. UK doesn't have such big problem with this like French Empire. Why? ( will talk only about line infantry cos all unit types are going to take like 390 pages of text ) Line Infantry: 1793-1804 bicorns, long flaps, epaulets with a triangle shape on the end, high collars. 1804-1812 shako (even plumes, cordons and crests were different in each regiment ), shorter flaps. 1812-1815- even shorter flaps, epaulets in shape of rectangle, HUGE crests for grenadier/voltigeurs companies and whole tailcoat ( in this time we can call it jacket [ cos it has so short flaps ] ) was in different shape ( more like a square than triangle ) again different plumes ( not even counting differences between regiments ). For me the best option is to mix both ideas so: we have a basic list of regiments like idk. 7-10 most famous regiments. Then we have regiment creator: Head ( Shako ) Chest ( Jacket [ collars etc. ] + backpack ) and Legs ( britches and boots ) for each part we have like 5-6 models ( basic shapes )
For Head small plume, long crest etc. Jacket shape of epaulets, the shape of a jacket ( long flaps etc. ). Legs ( shape of trousers ). Then for each part, we have pallet of colors "The most used so pink is out" then we go to our regiment insignias ( Insignia ( eagle grenade horn etc. ), flag [ from a pool of flags ( French regiments always had same with different regiments number ) ] and name, for example, 18e Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne "Les Braves" or 92nd "Gordon Highlanders" Regiment of Foot. So then we have a pallet of colors for each part individual so pink guys are out, we can't upload any insignias parts etc so swastika and dick is out. everyone is happy.