Boys' Uniforms: Chronology

English prep schools
Figure 1.--School uniforms are one of several types of uniforms worn by boys. We have limited information about historic school unifirms, but know boys in English grammar schools wore blue uniforms (16th century). Uniforms were common in British boarding schools in the 19th and 20th centuries. After World War II, uniforms became common in state schools. These boys attended a prep boarding school in the 1980s.

Uniforms date back to ancient times. We have little information about boys wearing We notice some boys wearing uniforms in historic times. Boys have been part of military forces since ancient times and thus must have worn uniforms. Many but not all of these uniforms were military unnforms. Boys also wore costumes as part of religious services. Here we have little information, but from an early point of Christian history boys seved as altar boys. We also notice boys wearing school uniforms. One early example were the blue uniforms worn by boys in English grammar schools. Only with the 19th cerntury and the invention of photography do we have more detailed information about uniforms worn by boys. We begin to see youth groups in the late-19th century. Uniforms became much more common in the 20th century, espcially school and youth group uniforms. Military service and uniforms became less common, at least in dveloped countrues. Many boys also wore sports unifoms as scholastic and other youth sports became increasingly popular. Nationalistic fervor seems to have inceased the popularity of uniforms. The totalitarian states that came to power in the early 20th century also promoted the popularity of uniforms. Except for sports unifirms, poularity declined after World War II. Youth groups now give much less atention to uniforms. They are less popular today with the boys and have thus become a less important part of the program. American schools which mostly did not have uniforms began to rethink this. First the parochial schools began to implement uniforms (1950s) and then many public school system, especially schools in urban areas (1970s). We also notice play outfits that include uniform costumes beginning in the 1900s.


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Created: 1:03 AM 11/4/2013
Last updated: 1:03 AM 11/4/2013