English School Uniform: School Cap Styles and Decoration

Figure 1.--The English school cap was usually a solid color matching the blazer, but hats also came in colored wedges, circles, and other combinations.

A great variety of colors, including circles and school crests decorated these caps which flooded British streets with boys going and coming to school. Here is some basic information on some of the most common cap styles. Our information is still limited, but we have begun to collect some basic information.

Solid Color

Some caps were solid colors. A few were grey, especially if the school uniform was a grey suit. More often the caps were a bright color to match the blazer. Some schools had blazers for normal school wear and grey suits for best. They would, however, only have one cap--usually the same color as the blazer. Worn with the grey suit, the cap and tie would be the only colored elemernts.

Front Crest

Caps often had the school crest or logo at the front. The crest was always centered at the front, never placed anywhere else on the cap. At this time we are unable to assess this topic in detail because of the still fairly limited number of images in our archive. Many of tecexamples we have notec had a creast rather than a logo. The boy's cap here is a good example of a school which had the crest on the front. We believe that this was especially common with private schools.We see many caps with the shield and logo. We are not positive, however, just how common this was. We also note caps without the logo. We suspect in many cases these were state schools. We also are not sure how this varied over time. Hoefully our British readrs can provide some insights on this topic.


A popular style was pie-like edges. Ghese caps were usually two colors, alternating with each pie slice.


Some caps had alternating colored circles, usually white and one of the school colors or in some cases two school colors. The circles involved were of different width and spacing. Probably the most famous school cap with cirles was the one worn by William Brown (aka "Just William") and his friends the Outlaws. The circle caps became less common in the 1950s. I'm not sure why this was. It was part of a general pattern of lest ostentaious designs and colors for school uniform.


A few schools had crosses on ther top of their hats. This was a less common style, but was worn at some schools through the 1960s.


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Created: November 22, 2003
Last updated: May 25, 2004