English School Uniform Caps: Use

Figure 1.--The English prep school had caps as part of the uniform. They were worn whenever the boys dressed up. I;m not sure when this photograph was taken, probably about 1960. While the school was very strict about the cap, blazer, and tie, apparently the boys could chose their socks.

Virtually all British schoolboys wore peaked caps through the 1950s. Both state and private schools required them. Boys often wore them when not required. They were worn away from school as both a casual and dress cap. Boys in the early 20th century, except for the wealthy, did not have large wardrobes. Thus the school cap might be the only cap a boy might have. As the fashion of wearing caps and hats wained, school caps began to disapear in the mid-1960s. They continued to be worn at prep schools for some time. Normally the caps would only be worn to and from school or on occassions like going to church or special events. Unlike earlier years boys by the 1970s normally only wore their school caps when required. By the 1970s the school cap had become increasingly rare and by the 1980s, with only a few exceptions, only a handful of private schools still required them. Another use for the school cap was awarding school colors. This compares to earning an athletic "letter" in America. This is done in England even at schools where the cap is not normally worn.


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Created: May 29, 2004
Last updated: May 29, 2004