The History of School Uniform
Thursday 4th January 2018
School uniform has certainly changed over time! Here at Price & Buckland we certainly know a thing or two about school uniform so that's why we've highlighted some of the key school uniform elements from the 16th Century right through to the present day.
School Uniform in the 16th Century
- Early uniforms were referred to as blue coats, and consisted of a blue trench-coat jacket. Blue was the cheapest dye available, and represented humility among students. Christs Hospital was the first school in England to adopt a uniform.
School Uniform in the 19th Century
- The elementary Education Act of 1870 made education available to all students in England and Wales. All schools adopted a uniform to reflect to trends of the time. Victorian schools were strict on appearance. Cleanliness is next to Godliness was promoted to students. Boys wore blazers, shorts and long socks, and caps were worn at some schools. Boys were also expected to keep their hair short, and girls were required to tie their hair neatly. Girls wore a tunic dress, pinafore and blouse.
School Uniform in the 20th Century
- School uniforms reflected the British class system like never before. Many private schools changed their uniforms to distance themselves from state schools. Girls began wearing gymslips as athletic wear over blouses, and boys were allows to wear long trousers from the age of 14.
School Uniform in the 1950's
- The Butler Reforms raised the school leaving age to 15. Mixed gender schools became popular in the 1950s. Schools were encouraged to create uniforms codes based on the time of the year. Boys wore flat caps, shirts and blazers. Leather satchels became popular. Girls worn gymslips in winter, and dresses in summer.
School Uniform in the 1960s
- Pupils began rebelling against tradition, often unbuttoning their blazers and slackening their ties. Girls wore a pleated skirt with tights, a blouse and blazer. Boys were allows to wear long trousers from a young age. Both girls and boys wore ties with shirts.
School Uniform in the 1970's
- Changing trends saw the dressing down of uniforms in state schools. Shirt collars and sleeves were fashionably widened in the playground. Boys began to wear their hair long. Girls were still required to wear skirts.
School Uniform in the 1980's
- Fashion & culture had a big impact on 80s school uniform. Students challenged conventional schoolwear like never before. Girls wore shorter and shorter skirts. While boys ties & trousers got skinner. Customisation of blazers and satchels was common.
School Uniform in the 1990's
- School uniform became more casual & comfortable. Girls were allowed to wear trousers for the first time. Trainers and casual footwear became acceptable in some schools.
Present Day School Uniform
- A large number of schools have restored the blazer and tie uniform to promote a more professional image. Depending on the school, uniforms are casual or formal. Contemporary uniforms are designed to be durable.