Soviet Girl's School Uniform (1980s)

Figure 1.--This is the standard girls' Soviet boys' school uniform worn during the 1980s. Click on the image for a back view.

The Soviet Union had a standard uniform for school children. Uniforms were also worn in Tsarist Russia. Children in rural primary schools often did not wear uniforms, especially in the early Soviet years. After World War II they became much more standard as Soviet citizes could aford school uniforms. The uniform here was the standard uniform worn by Soviet school girls during the 1980s. This particular dress came from the Ukraine. The same uniform was worn throughout the Soviet Union.

Soviet School System

The Soviet Union divided school children in three basic school groups. Younger schoolboys (1 - 3 class/year) were referred to as oktyabryata. Schoolboys (4 - 8 class/year) were admitted into the Young Pioneers with a solemn ceremony in the 4th year class. Thus a red neckerchief was added to the uniform. The middle school group was 4-8 class year. The senior schoolboys were the 8 - 10 year/class). Selected students from this group were accepted into the All-Union Lenin Communistic Union of Youth (VLKSM).

Soviet School Uniform

e still have only limited information on Soviet school uniforms. We note school children wearing school uniforms in the earliest years of the Soviet Union. These uniforms seem especially prevalent in the cities. Children in the country side because of the widespread poverty may not have worn the inifotm as commonly. Presumably as conditiins improved after World War II (1939-45), wearing the perscribed school uniform became common place throughout the country.

Soviet Young Pioneers

The Soviet Young Pioneers was a mass youth organization of the Communist Party. No other youth movement was permitted. Uniforms were not commonly worn until after World War II. After the War a standard uniform was commonly worn. Here we are not entirely sure what the difference was between the Pioneer uniform and the school uniform. Pioneers wore a red neckerchief with their school uniform and their appears to be a Pioneer badge on the school shirt. There was also a Pioneer badge worn on the jacket.


Soviet school uniforms changed over time. Our information on earlier periods is limited. This was the style worn in the 1980s. After the Soviet Union was disolved at the end of 1991, uniforms were dropped at state schools. Some private schools adopted uniforms. One source writes, "The compulsory school uniforms for all grades were abandoned in 1991-1992 in the Soviet Union/ Russia, however schoolchildren of all ages (including high-school) still wear the old uniforms, but only during certain days, like First Day of School in September, some other holidays, and the Graduation Day in May, as a school tradition rather than as an obligation anymore."


The Ukranian dealer selling this uniform describes it as a "parade" uniform for special occassions. We are not sure what the difference was between the regular and parade uniform. Perhaps the fancy white pinafote a collar/cuffs were not worn every day. Hopefully our Russian/Ukranian readers can explain this.


In days of existence of Soviet Union schoolgirls carried the identical school form. The form has been divided by age criterion. Younger schoolgirls (1 - 3 class) referred to oktyabryata. Average schoolgirls (4 - 8 class) solemnly were accepted in pioneers and carried pioneer ties. The senior schoolgirls (8 - 10 class) entered numbers VLKSM. This abbreviation means the All-Union Lenin Communistic Union of Youth. In komsomols and pioneer were accepted best of the best.


This appears to have been a vintage uniform worn in the early to mid-1980s. We think it was essentially the same as the uniform worn in the 1970s. As the Soviet Union began unraveling in the late 1980s, schools became less strict about wearing the required uniforms.

Details and Elements

This uniform here is composed of a blue dress, white pinafore, red Pioneer scarfe, and Pioneer badge with Lenin’s portrait. These componens were obligatory at the time. The dress was a blended 50 percent wool fabric. The scarfe was silk. Sizes of uniform: length of the dress – 40.5 inch; dimensions dress from right to left shoulder – 17 inches; length of the arms – 23 inches. I'm not sure what size child that would have been. I don't think that there was a required cap, but girls often wore large white hair bows. The girl probably would have worn it with white kneesocks. I believe this same uniform was worn by both primary and secondary children.


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Created: 4:00 PM 3/5/2006
Last updated: 4:00 PM 3/5/2006