The School Blazer: Country Trends

Figure 1.--The boys at this Scottish school all wear srandard blue blazers with the school crest. The senior boys wear the exact same blazer.

The blazer originated at exclusive private schools in England, but has been adopted for school wear by state and private schools in many countries around the world. British boys once wore blazers in a wide range of solid colors and stripes with caps to match. American boys commonly wear blazers as a kind of informal dress wear with khakis or grey flannel trousers. In most countries, however, the blazer is commonly associated with school weat. It has been most popular in Empire countries, but is worn in other countries as well. The ise of the blazer has declined in many Empire countries, especially during warm weather. It is srill, however, commonly worn at British schools, although the standard blacl blazer is becoming increasingly common.


Most state schools in Australia no longer require blazers. Some of the private schools, however, still have them. They are mostly worn by senior boys. Junior boys generally wear open-necked shirts or jumpers for ordinary school days. Some preparatory schools require blazers. Once both private and state secondary schools generrally required blazers or some kind of suit jacket. The blazer is today primarily worn by private school boys, both prep schools and secondary schools, although some of the schools have suits rather than blazers. They come in a wide range of colors, although blazers in Australia have generally been more subduded than the many bright colors and stripes that English preparatory school boys once wore


Chilean state secondary schools require boys and girls to wear a standard navy blue blazer with grey skirts or trousers.


The blazer was developed as smart summer wear for affluent Britons as was soon adopted by the country's elite Public Schools. The developing preparatory schools also adopted the blazer. They were viewed as somewhat informal wear. More formal atire would be an Eton suit and hard collar. Blazers were worn with soft collars and the school tie. School blazers added great variety to the sometimes dowdy school uniform. State secondary schools like the private schools had highly varied and colorful blazers through the 1950s. Most have, however, for reasons of economy shifted to a plain blaack blazer with the school crest. Private schools, both primary and secondary, continue to have uniforms with coloful blazers--although less varied than in the 1950s and 60s. The school crest is worn on the left chest pocket. Often it is the initials of the school, but some schools have logos or elaborate crests. Assesing English schools can be quite complicated because of the many different types of schools. Most schools, except for primary schools, adopted blazers as part of the school uniform. There were even some primary schools, especially Anglican primary schools that had blazers. There were, however, many variations among schools and over time concerning blazers.



The blazer is a garment primarily associated with Britain and British Empire schoolwear. We do notice a few German boys wearing blazers. It was not a major school style, but we do do notice a few German boys wearing blazers. And it some cases they were not just standard blue blazers that American boys commonly wore, although not necesarily as a school garment. Given the black and white photography of the day, we can not tell much about color. We notice a few boysing striped jackets blazers, some of which look rather like colorful British school blazers. Of course the blazers German boys wore were not uniform blazers, but curiously we note one school in which several boys are wearing stripped jackets. We are not positive they are blazers, but they certainly look like it. And it is curious that so many boys would wear similar jackets without the school playing a role. We count 11 boys wearing these jackets, nearly half the boys. The stripe patterns and probably the colors seem to have varied a bit. They do not have pathch breast pockets like British school blazers, in part because there were no school crests to put on it. Most of the other boys are also wearing jackets, but not stripped jackets. Notice that the boys are not wearing ties like British boys would weaer.

New Zealand

Blazers used to be commonly worn at New Zealand secondry schools. This no longer is the case. Blazers are worn at a few private preparatory schools, but at few secondary schools--even the private schools. Most schools, however, still have blazers, but they are usually only worn by senior boys. The junior boys mostly wear shirts and jumpers.


Scottish school bazers were esentially the same as as Englisg blazers. Tweed jackets were more popular in Scotland, but they were usually worn in addition to rather than instead of blazers. Often Scottish schools had a blazer for every day wear and tweed jackets for formal occasions to be worn with kilts.

South Africa

Many South African school children wear British-style school blazers. A South African reader writes, "As I understand it and have noticed in this country, red is a very popular colour for a school blazer. Indeed, it does look most smart and attractive on a schoolboy who has bearing and wears his uniform with confidence. In some high schools in this country, the red blazer is strictly reserved for the Head Boy or Girl or it is worn as a 'Honours' blazer for those who have excelled in sport and/or academics. It is worn with distinction and pride and it sets the pupil apart in a more respected rank from fellow pupils."

United States

American boys who have not traditionally worn school blaxzers. The public (state) schools who are introducing school uniforms do not normally make blazers part of the uniform. The prestigious private schools which have modeled themselves on British schools have required dark suits or tweed sport jackets, but usually no brightly-colored school blazers.


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Created: September 20, 2002
Last updated: 6:01 AM 8/12/2011