Scottish School Uniform: The Blazer

Figure 1.--Several Scottish schools have blazers with piping. This boy wears a black blazer with red piping.

Scottish schools required blazers much as English schools. HBC knows of no important difference between Scottish and English school blazers. Many Scottish schools by the 1980s also had dress uniforms consisting of tweed jackets which were worn with kilts for dress occasions. The kilt was not normally worn with the kilt. HBC is not yet sure about earlier years.


The blazer was developed as smart summer wear for affluent Britons as as soon adopted by the country's elite Public Schools. The developing preparatory schools also adopted the blazer. They were viewed as somewhat informal wear. More formal atire would be an Eton suit and hard collar. Blazers were worn with soft collars and the school tie. The blazer was also adopted as standard school wear in Scotland, although most schools also had tweed jackets to wear with kilts for dress occasions.


School blazers added great variety to the sometimes dowdy school uniform. State secondary schools like the private schools had highly varied and colorful blazers through the 1950s. Most have, however, for reasons of economy shifted to a plain blaack blazer with the school crest. Private schools, both primary and secondary, continue to have uniforms with coloful blazers--although less varied than in the 1950s and 60s.


Most school blazers are a standard style. They are always single breasted. They have patch pockets, especially the chest pocket. Some blazers have welt pockets with flaps, but this is not the traditional style.


Most Scottish schools have blazers rather than suits. Several English schools choose the option of a suit, usually a grey suit, But this does not seem to have been the case in Scotland. HBC has not noticed many Scottish schools with grey suit uniforms, but a few schools did have grey blazers.


Most blazers were solid colors, but there were two primary alternatives, stipes and piping. The costs of these alternatives have caused schools in recent years to drop them. Some English schools decided on striped blazers. This does not seem to have been the case in Scotland where almost all of the blazers were solid colors. One popular styule in Scotland was piping. Several schools had color piping around the edges of the blazer and on the lapels. The piping was of contrasting colors. Blue blazers, for example, had yellow and white piping. Brown lazers might have red or a white striped piping. Some times piping woukd be used to reflect status at the school rather than worn by all the boys. Thus junior boys might have plain blazxers, but the senior boys have blazers with piping.


Some schools had Harris tweed jackets instead of blazers. Unlike the blazers, the tweed jackets were worn without the school logo. This option was particularly popular in Scotland as the jackets could be worn with kilts for dress occasions. Many Scottish schools had both blazers for everyday wear with short and long pants and tweed jackets to be worn with kilts for the formal occasions.

Figure 2.--The Scottish boy in the 1980s wears his flannel blazer which has the school crest.


The school crest is worn on the left chest pocket. Often it is the initials of the school, but some schools have elaborate crests.

Current Usage

Blazers are still widely worn at British schools. Styles and practices, however, have changed somewhat. Colors are no longer as diverse. Some styles such as stripes and blazers with contrasting borders are less common, primarily a matter of cost. A much wider spectrum of the English population now chooses private education and schools have attempted to simplify the uniform. The clothing list required of boys until the 1960s could be quite daunting for a small boy--and very expensive. Multi-colored blazers and those with edging work are more expensive and thus have gradually disappeared. Even so there are still a wide variety of brightly colored blazers worn by British school children. Often the girls schools now have the most brightly colored blazers. Presumably the girls take a little better care of their blazers than do the boys.

The blazer is worn less today than in earlier years. Some schools do now mot even have blazers. Most do but they are mostly worn while coming and gong to school and for school functions. While at school, British boys mostly wear their jumpers (sweaters) or just a shirt during the school day. They rarely put on their blazers.

Christopher Wagner

Related Blazer Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Main school uniform blazer page] [Main blazer page]
[Australian blazers] [English blazers] [New Zealand blazers] [Scottish blazers]

Created: November 25, 1998
Last updated: May 20, 2001