** school uniform: headwear styles

School Uniform: Headwear Styles

Figure 1.--The peaked school cap originated in England, but caps were worn in other countries as well. It was England, however, wear the cap reached almost universal status as a required part of any schoolboy's attire. Many English school caps were bright colors, but there were also grey caps like this one here.

We notice boys wearing quite a range of different headwear styles to school, both hats and caps. Hradually caps became more popular than hats, but both have been worn. Here we are primarily focusing on caps worn as part of uniforms, but many other headwear styles were worn to school by boys not wearing uniforms. This has varied from country to country and over time. England has had a particularly important impact on school headwear styles as well as other uniform styles. Here are some of the school uniform headwear styles for which we have developed information.

Brimless Headwear

We note a variety of headwear that did not have brims like hats or peaks (bills) like caps. This included some diverse styles. Some of the best examples heres were berets and tams, a relsted styles. These were worn by both boys abnd girls, although conventiins vried over time and from country to country. France was particularly associated with the beret, but it was worn in other countries. Outside of France and Belgium and perhps Spaon, the beret ws more assicuated with girls and younger boys. We also notice fezes whicgh were a Middle Eastern style.


Berets were worn to school by both boys and girls, but this varied from country to country. Boys from quite a number of countries wore berets to school. They are of course most commonly associated with French boys. French boys commonly wore berets. The beret is traditionally associated with French schooboys and smocks. Actually it was not just schoolboys who wore berets. It was in the first half of the 20th Century the trademark of the working class and during World War II, the Resistance. The beret is now not commonly worn in France by boys or men. This was very common in the first half of the 20th century, but for some reason declined sharply after World war II (1939-45). We note that girls began wearing berets after the War. This may have been a factor. n We're not sure why. Belgian boys also wore berets, I think more in Walonia than Flanders. We do note Dutcg boys wearing them as well. Surprisingly, German boys wore them to school, mostly younger boys. Berets were also worn in Spain, but I think more in the Baque country and Catalonia than the rest of Spain. A few schools used them as part of uniforms. Here they were much more common at girls' than boy's schools. We note a number of English schools where the girls wore berets. English boys, unlike continental boys did not wear berets to school. The peaked school cap was almost universal. Many European boys wore berets to school, but not as part of a uniform. They were not very common in America. Some younger American boys wore berets, bit not to school. We rarely see American boys wearing berets to school. This was probably because so many girls wore them.


The fez is a cylindrical tasselled heeadwear. a kind of truncated conical garment. It is often classified a cap, but as there is nor peak (bill), that is not quite correct. It was widely worn in the Middle East and to a lesser extent the Balkan areas with Muslim influence. It was a popular Ottoman style and was worn in Arab lands controlled or influenced by the Ottomans. The principal non-Ottoman area where the fez was worn was Prsian (modern Iran). It was strictly male headwear. The fez was commonly red. We are unsure about other colors. We see them worn in many schools im the Muslim world. We think this was at secular schools and not Islamic schools like madrasas. We note both students and teachers wearing fezes. It was a rare headwear type worn by both the boys and teachers. We suspect that reflect a certain orientation on the part of the parents or teachers. We do not yet have enough information on fezes and the Middle East to make much of an assessment. As far as we can tell there was little diiference from country concerning the fezes worn.


We note both boys and girls wearing tams to school. Thec tam ws popular in the late-19th and early-20th century. It was not one of the more popular styles, but we do notice children weating tams to school. The tam was much more common for girls to wear to school than boys, but we see some younger boys wearing them as well. We are not entirely sure about country trends. Most of the examples of boys wearing tams we have found are German. In some cases, it is difficult to destinguish between sailor caps and tams. We are not sure anout the countries where girls commonly wore tanms, but we do note them in America. Some American girls called berets tams, but the tam is fuller than a beret and usually a knit garment rather than felt like a beret. Also tams commonly had poms on top. The tam was not apecifically school style, but was worn to school by children. The tam was to a large extent a seasonal garment, most commonly worn during the winter. English schools had all kinds of headwear for girls. A few may have had tams, but we are mot yet sure about that. Perhaps our readers will know. We do know that some girls in state schools where there were no uniforms wore them.



We note large numbers of boys wearing quite a range of cap types to school, both as uniforms and as regular clothes. Hats were very common in he 19th century, but in the 20th century boys mostly wore caps. One of the styles particularly associated with school was the peaked cap worn in Britain and British colonies. Although stroingly associated withschools, it cbecomes much less common after the 1950s. Many American boys in the early-20th centiury wore flat caps to school. Bsevall caps became more common in the late-20th century. Cadet caps were very populr in Germany from the post-Napolonic War mid-19th century until the Workld war II mid-20th century. They were also worn in usdtri, but not in other countries, except curiously for Japan. The Japanese were so impressed with Prussia and Germany that they adopted to cadet caps for their new Meiji Restoration schools. As they colonized Korea, the style also became established there. Sailor caps were also popular in Germany for a time, but mostly for younger boys.


Hats as school wear have varied over time. Today they are rarely seen except at schools with uniforms and primarily for girls. But they were once very common, including for boys. Here chronology has been a major fctor in school hat wear, bith prevalence and the style of hat. We do commonly see hats in the 19th century. The rounded-crown hat was especially cimmon. This changed in the 20th century. Caps were very common schoolwear in the 20th century, but this was not the case for hats, at least for boys. We see many gorls wearing hats to school even un the 20th century, but this was much less common for boys. This reflected the general pattern of hat wear. We see fewer boys weating hats, especially in the 20th century. There were other fators involved here than gender and fashion. age was alo a factor as was the type of school. And we also have to consider both uniform and non uniform schools. Most schools with uniforms selected caps for boys. We see some exceptions. In modern times we mostly see hats for boys school uniforms in Japan. This is mostly in Japan. Mostly commonly this wa for girls, but we see some boys weaing hats as part of theor school uniform. Girls are different. The unifoirms devised for girls very commonly included hats, at least when hats were in style. As for non-uniform schools, meaning most schools, hats were much less common. Boys usulychose caps. We do see, however some girls wearing hats unil the mid-20th century. This is today almost never seen at schools without uniforms.


Quite a range of other styles have been worn to school. The styling of cold wear caps in particular has varied widely. Balaclavas have also been worm, but not as a uniform garment.


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Created: June 5, 1999
Last updated: 6:14 PM 8/5/2016