School Uniform Garments: Sweatshirts

Figure 1.--The boys at this English prep school wear comfortable blue swearshirts with the school logo rather than the more traditional jumpers and ties.

The blazer, cap, or tie are generally thought of when the traditional English school uniform comes to mind. It is the jumper or sweater, however, that became the most utilitarian of all school uniform garments. Ties and caps are basically ornametal. The blazer was worn to school and then generally taken off until it is time to go home. The sweater, however, given the English climate was worn through the 1980s, except for a few summer weeks and usually all day long at school.

Many English schools in the 1990s decided to introduce a fashion almost as American as blue jeans--the sweat shirt. For decades American boys have worn sweatshirts. First they were worn as part of gym suits in cold weather. Eventually theu became an accepted fashion for casual dress. Sweatshirts achieved a degree of fashion acceptability in the 1970s when schools and sports team began selling sweatshirts with logos. This was first done by colleges, but soon high schools and elementary schools followed suit. This was not done aspart of a school uniform, but meerly for casual wear. As school uniforms became to be more fashionable in America, they were adopted as part of the uniform in the 1980s by many state elemebtary schools.

Most schools in England and the former English colonies through the 1980s required "V" neck jumpers to be worn with ties. This continues to be the most common style. However, informal styles are becoming increasingly common. This is especially true at state schools, both primary and secondary. Even preparatory schools, the bastion of traditional school uniform in England are beginning to change. Several schools in the 1990s have adopted casual styles without ties. Open neck shirts are worn in the summer term and sweatshirts in the colder terms. Sweatshirts are also worn at some schools for casual wear after the schoolday is over.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: December 4, 1998
Last updated: October 30, 1999