School Uniforms: Times Past


SGHS 1968

Finally all sorted after our move it is again time to go through papers and get rid of stuff that I . need to keep. Time to cull. During this process I came across my school standards and requirements. This was given to every girl in first form – the equivalent now of year 7. I wondered if these rules still apply. I went to a public school (the equivalent of a government run school.) The standards were high.

  1. A very high standard of conduct, scholarship and dress is expected of every student in this school.
  2.  we might look at these in a future times past.
  3.  and this one
  4. Full correct uniform must be worn at all times. This includes regulation hat. N.B Sock tops must be turned down.

5, 6 and 7 refer to the uniform.

8. A clean well groomed appearance is required at all times.

The following are regarded as unsuitable for school students and should NOT be worn:-

a) Long and fancy hair styles (The latter are absolutely forbidden.)

b) Long finger nails

c) Make up of any kind  (with added description of what is considered make-up)

d) hair combs and hair ribbons or bands of any colour other than white, black, gray or royal blue.

e) jewellery of any kind other than watch or school badge.

Another full page was attached describing the uniform, where the stitching should be, what kind of shoes could be worn – Oxford regulation type,  hats and gloves, stocking changed in winter to grey lisle or non-run seamless stretch nylon to short grey socks in summer. Blazers and jumpers completed the picture.


As you can see from the school photo I am one of the non conformists – I must have left my blazer home that day as did three others. I can remember being roasted for not having it. I can also remember the prefects doing uniform checks – we would kneel in front of them and they would check that the length of the skirt touched the ground in that position.

I also remember being proud of my uniform and on the one day I caught the train to my flute lesson I would see the girls from the private schools with their uniforms hoisted up by their belts acting in  a manner our school standards forbade. This rule stated When travelling to and from school, girls are expected to conduct themselves according to the traditions of this school. They should move quietly, be courteous to everybody and respect public property.

For this months times past I thought we would look at school uniforms or lack of them. Do you see a value in wearing a uniform. For those in countries that don’t have uniforms would your prefer to have one. Tell us your memories of what you did with your uniform to make it a little more attractive. Any memories at all.

Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and  your generation. An explanation of the generations and the purpose of the prompts along with conditions for joining in can be seen at the Times Past Page. Join in either in the comments or by creating your own post and linking. Looking forward to your memories.

We are travelling so if I am slow in responding I will get there but depending on what internet access we can get it may not be until near the end of the month.

Baby Boomer USA  City

School Uniforms: Times Past

Baby Boomer UK City

First Day of School And Wave Goodbye To Dad



About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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24 Responses to School Uniforms: Times Past

  1. Bernice says:

    In the US, in my opinion, the dress code is far too lax. Shorts are now allowed and sometimes are far too short. I would like to see standards in how children dress for school. Uniforms seem nice since you don’t need to be concerned about what to wear!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think the purpose of uniforms was to do exactly that – make people uniform with all wearers being equal. I think I would have hated having to decide what to wear each day and I imagine the competition would be fierce. We don”t have (when I went to school) the culture that has made many American school set films.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. pattimoed says:

    Hi, Irene. Your post and photo made me smile. I went to a parochial school in the USA, which had very similar standards for dress and behavior. The rule was uniforms had to be below the knee. Girls with suspiciously short skirts had to kneel down on the floor and if the hem didn’t brush the ground, the nun would rip out the hem. Still, I think uniforms are good–in that they level-set by eliminating competition about clothing, styles, what’s cool, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As always, Irene, I loved reading your school uniform experiences, what a fantastic trip down memory lane, one I share very similarly with you except for the notes you share here. Wonderful keepsake of another time and era. And guess what? I also played the flute… 🙂 I had a quick scan to find you in your photo, thanks for the no-blazer clue. I just love your ‘little you’ pics. And your spirit! As I read, all I could think of for writing my post is non-conformity. But also like you, I was very proud of my uniform. I see girls walking around now in trousers as part of their uniform, which would have been an absolute no-no in our day. Great prompt, thank you Irene. Will get to it by the end of the month for sure. Meanwhile, happy safe travelling, my friend 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charli Mills says:

    Uniforms are for private schools in the US although some public school districts have talked about adopting them too for exactly the reason you cite: equality. We have much controversy over dress codes in the US. Girls are held to a stricter standard and erroneously taught that what they wear “distracts boys.” Boys should be taught that if they are distracted they don’t have the right to act out on their impulses and blame it on what the girls wore. Uniforms could resolve that issue. But I also remember enjoying school clothes shopping every year. Interesting prompt!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Charli for joining in. I didn’t know any schools in the States had uniforms until I read Patti’s comment and wondered why some did and others didn’t. You’ve answered that question. I agree regarding your comment on standards for girls creating a the wrong image for young people. It is high time we got away from it being what girls wear that is the blame for bad reactions rather than the male being responsible for his own actions.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: School Uniforms: Times Past – one letter UP ~ diary 2.0

  6. oneletterup says:

    So many rules you had! Love the photo. Such an interesting topic, as I don’t see uniforms much at all in the schools. Even dress codes are relaxed. It continues to be a topic of discussion and debate.
    I went way down memory lane for this month’s topic…


  7. I dislike the requirement of kids wearing uniforms to school, though I understand the philosophy of equalizing everyone and eliminating distractions. But I don’t like the militaristic appearance of uniforms. In the last decade or so, many public schools in the US have adopted uniform policies. This was first instituted to mitigate the influence of gangs, so it’s been a good idea.

    These uniforms are usually blue or gray pants or skirts and white polo or button down shirts, and appropriate options are available at inexpensive stores. Nearly all schools impose dress codes that describe what’s acceptable to wear, but administrators are finding it harder and harder to enforce standards. Kids are pretty clever about disregarding rules. They leave the house wearing a huge sweatshirt hiding forbidden clothes, then get to school and expose their rebellious sartorial splendor.

    I spotted you in the photo right away and thought how much more comfortable you looked in your sweater, without that clunky blazer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had not thought of uniforms being militaristic but you are right. I think whether there are uniforms or not people will find some way of grouping together and distinguishing themselves as a group whether uniforms are worn or not. This can be clothes or even hair styles, jewellery and even tattoos. You are also right that kids will find a way to not conform despite any code. I have seen uniforms worn in very jaunty and revealing manners.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: First Day of School And Wave Goodbye To Dad | A View From My Summerhouse

  9. Pingback: Shoes: Times Past | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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