While schoolboy uniforms date as far back as the 16th century, the ‘20s is often credited with the earliest form of the modern Western schoolgirl ensemble as education became more accessible to women. Young girls paired a “middy”—a loose white blouse with a tapered front and square back that bears resemblance to a sailor—with an over-the-knee pleated skirt.
Leading into the ‘30s and ‘40s, there was even greater experimentation with girl’s uniforms, even taking inspiration from menswear and boy’s uniforms. Adolescent schoolgirls typically layered tailored blazers with insignias embroidered on the breast pocket. As a response to the war in the latter decade, hemlines rapidly rose and plaid pinafores became more prevalent in the schoolgirl attire.
When Christian Dior introduced the New Look in 1947, which consisted of nipped waistlines and long flared skirts, the aesthetic translated into modern schoolgirl uniforms. The late ‘40s and ‘50s created the quintessential “schoolgirl” uniform that we know and recognize today. Plaid kilts, tartan skirts, and Peter Pan-collared blouses skyrocketed in popularity throughout the decade.
Kogyaru girls are seen with shortened skirts and loose, chunky socks.