Figure 1.--Ties are commonly worn at both English and Scottish schools. Several Scottish schools, however, have more flexible rules about ties. Note the well polished shoes.

School Uniform Garments: School Tie Conventions

British schoolboys are especially noted for wearing ties to school. Both state and private schools required them. Dressing in comfortable clothes was not considered appropriate for school. The school tie as we know it today appeared in England in the 1920s as soft collars replaced stiff Eton collars. Ties were considered appropriate school wear as formal clothes were the standard at school. We note many boys wearing sports collars without ties. This arrangement seems to have been acceptable at many schools until well after World war II. Ties in England became increasingly common in the 1960s, even at primary schools. Scottish schools seem to have been more flexible about ties. The ties were usually stripped in the school colors. Each school might have several different styles and colors of ties. Often prefects or boys who "won their colors" received the honor of wearing distinctive colors. Many elementary schools in the 1980s began allowing boys to wear more casual clothes, including shirts without ties. Almost all secondary schools, however, still require ties. At a few schools they are seasonal. Some Scottish schools did not require ties. This varied from school to school, many of which had a variety of rules about ties. Some schools did not require them or made them optional. Some schools required them with long trousers, but not with short trousers. These rules have changed over time.


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Created: 5:04 AM 12/8/2005
Last updated: 5:04 AM 12/8/2005