*** school garments

School Garments

English school garments

Figure 1.--Here we see English boys wearing some classic school uniform garments, grey shirts, ties, V-front jumpers, sweaters, grey short pants, knee socks, and oxford shoes. British school fashions like these boys are wearing have been very influential around the world.

Here we discuss popular school garments. This includes both school uniform garments as well as popular non-uniform school garments. Here we want to discuss not only the various specific garment, but the chronological and country trends associated with the these garments. As a result of the devlopment of photography, there is a huge photographic record of school garments after the mid-19th century when school photography became widespread. This is especially true in America in Europe, but now has become increasingly common around the world.


The popularity of school garments like other fashions have varied over time. The countries that did not have uniforms closely followed overall fashion trends. School uniforms tended to lag behind overall fashion trends. This information can also be used to date undated images. These school photographs are very helpful in dating images because public education became wideespread at about the same time that photographt was developed in the mid-19th century. And after only a few decades, school photography became a well established annual ritual. While our 19th century archive is spotty, by the turn-of-the 20th century we have a very substantial archive, at least for the larger countries. School wear could be rather formal, at least in cities, during the 19th century. Rural schoolwear was more informal. Overalls in American rural schools became common (1910s). We still see formal schoolwear in the early-20th century, but school clothes became increasingly informal after World War I. Not very many children wore uniforms in the 19th century, but some countries mandated smocks. This continued in the 20th century. Communist countries tended to require uniforms fter World War II. Many British public (state) schools began requiring uniforms in the 1960s. And some American schools began mandating volutary uniforms. This began with parochial schools (1960s). This was also began to be adopted in inner-city schools (1970s). .

Country Trends

Some school garments are destinctive to specific countries. In fact many school portrits can be classified bu country based on the garments the children are wearing. Some countries have been very influential in establishing certain garments and styles a school styles. Here British private schools became particularly important in developing what we now see as school uniforms or school-style garments. Public schools were a phenomenon that developed in America and Westrn Europe (especially Germany) and children did not wear uniforms. Styles in these schools varied, but at least in cities were at first more formal than is common today. Styles in Britain and France were especially important because of all the colonies in Asia and Africa. Japan was the first Asian country to developba public school system. Children at first wore their traditional schools, but Western style uniforms were mandated for boys and girls. Only in the 20th century, however, do we see the European countrues beginning to build public schools in their colonies. Thus we see school children wearing western garments in quite a number of countries where traditional dress was still common. Rarely have these countries chosen traditiinal styles for their schools. We see some examples for girls in India. We have several country garment pages which can be viewed here.

Specific Garments

Here we are discussing the various specific school garments. Some of the common school uniform garments worn by children around the world are discussed on this page. Some of these garments are destinctive to a specific country or group of countries. Most of the garments, however, are fairly standard around the world. This is in part due to the influence of British schools. Britain had a much larger system of boarding schools than other countries and many of these schools had uniforms. Thus the English uniform garments became widely adopted around the world. Several items worn at the English schools, like blazers, became stand boys' garments. School uniform garments have reflected changes in overall fashions overtime, usually a little behind overall fashion changes. Interesting is the degree to which school uniform styles have remained fairly standard over long periods.


Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[The 1880s/a>] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s]

Related Style Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Long pants suits] [Short pants suits] [Socks] [Eton suits] [Jacket and trousers] [Blazer] [School sandals]

Navigate the HBC School Section:
[Return to Main school uniform page]
[Activities] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Debate] [Economics] [Garment] [Gender] [Hair] [History] [Home trends] [Literary characters]
[School types] [Significance] [Transport and travel [Uniform regulations] [Year level] [Other topics]
[Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Return to the Historic Boys' School Home]

Created: 4:57 AM 5/2/2016
Last updated: 9:07 AM 3/28/2017