By | 17 May 2022 | 0 Comments

A century of changes in school uniforms

A hundred years ago, school were a symbol of social progress

One hundred years later, school uniforms are the subject of social debate

Chinese school uniforms are a microcosm of culture, education, history and even politics. Changes in colour and style have both followed the tide of the times and followed the uniform of inertia.

Today and beyond, the sense of identity and belonging represented by the school uniform is perhaps secondary to the taste of the uniform itself.

From the Xinhai Revolution to the 1920s: the first appearance of uniformed school uniforms

Lin Huiyin (far right) is pictured with her cousins in 1916, wearing the school uniforms of the Beijing Pehwa Girls' High School. School uniforms were a symbol of social progress at the time, especially with the advent of female school uniforms

1920.3.15 Students of Cai Yuanpei and Sturgeon at Peking University

     The Thirties: Chinese cheongsam in favour on campus

The new style of cheongsam, made by fusing and improving Manchu and Chinese costumes with each other, became popular as early as the 1920s, when it also entered the campus and became the new favourite of the girls, and it was the fashion of the time for girls in prestigious schools to use cheongsam as their school uniform.

Female students on campus in Guangzhou in 1927

School uniforms in the early years of St Paul's Co-educational High School

  The 1940s: largely a continuation of the 1930s style of dress

The 1950s: more casual, lack of specific school uniforms

At the beginning of the country, people automatically wore blue and grey cadre uniforms, Lenin suits and cotton coats. Until 1958, the trend was more relaxed, and university girls wore coloured tweed coats.


The sixties and seventies: the term "school uniform" disappeared from our country

The old straw green uniform was the dominant colour for students of this period.

   In the eighties, the real school uniform appeared to the nation

As the aesthetic tastes of the previous decade were still fresh, the school uniform was designed with a lot of 'military elements' in mind. Yellow uniforms were too rustic, camouflage uniforms were too miscellaneous, and the white air force look was not dirty, so white shirts and sky blue trousers and skirts were created to imitate the navy uniform. However, the uniforms of this time were still haphazard, with no uniform or standardised style, and each school had its own 'aesthetic'.

  The nineties and the early twenty-first century: sports uniforms reign supreme

At this time, school uniforms were generally sportswear, mainly in blue, red, green and white, with fabrics such as polyester-covered cotton and golden velvet. This played a major role in developing the team spirit of the students, strengthening the overall image of the school and enhancing the sense of collective honour.

The twenty-first century: it's a whole new era for school uniforms, so let's wait and see

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