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No more miniskirts? Changes happening in Japanese schoolgirl uniform fashion trends

By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

Fashion trends change quickly in Japan, and that’s especially true for teens. Japanese high school only lasts three years, meaning that any particular look has only a short window of time before being associated with the last class of students and thus losing its luster.

Even though Japanese high schoolers wear a uniform five days of the week, they still find ways of personalizing their ensembles. So how has Japanese schoolgirl fashion changed over the last few years?

1. Knee-length skirts

Contrary to what anime depicts, most schools have dress codes that prohibit scandalously short skirts. However, during the late 1990s and early 2000s it became increasingly common for schoolgirls to roll their skirts up at the waist when on their way to or from campus, or socializing with friends out in town after class.

A recent poll of 154 high school girls, though, showed a change in attitudes. 37.7 percent said they wore a knee-length skirt, compared to only 21.4 percent who said their skirts were more than five centimeters above the knee.

2. Short socks

Another trend of the late ‘90s was the “loose socks” look, in which schoolgirls would wear baggy socks that almost looked like leg warmers. Some loose socks were so loose that wearers had to apply adhesive, called “sock touch,” to their calves to keep them from falling all the way down to their ankles. The logic behind the trend was that having thick, bunched up socks made the wearer’s legs look thinner by comparison.

That’s not such a problem today, as in the same poll mentioned above only 0.6 percent of respondents said they wear loose socks. And while knee-high socks, or socks that come up to the bottom of the knee, had become quite common over the last few years, they weren’t the most popular choice either, accounting for just 15.6 percent.

Instead, the most popular sock choice was a snugly fitting short sock that comes only part-way up the calf, chosen by 44.2 percent of respondents. The rationale is similar to the previous one for loose socks: wearing shorter socks makes the wearer’s legs appear longer.

Youth trends being what they are, though, it’s probably only a matter of time until what’s popular changes all over again.

Sources: Naver Matome, Woman Insight, Wotopi

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Absolutely nothing but knee-highs at Akihabara’s new sock emporium -- New light-emitting, color-changing “hikaru skirt” illuminates your legs for the world to see -- Sailor-style school uniform outfits for men are warm, fleecy and said to reduce stress

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I wouldn't've got much studying done with her in my classroom.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I wonder what the ratio in Japan is of stories published about school girls' uniforms and their aesthetic or sexual appeal vs. the number of stories published about girls studying something interesting or doing interesting research or completing an impressive project or reaching some unusual goal.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

A recent poll of 154 high school girls, though, showed a change in attitudes. 37.7 percent said they wore a knee-length skirt

I had to laugh at this "new" trend. Little do these girls know that the last time wearing skirts longer than regulation was popular was when their grandmothers were schoolgirls — and yes, in their lifestyle guidance "seikatsu shido" (生活指導) crusades the stricter private schools in Japan clamp down on non-regulation-length skirts, whether absurdly short or too long.

In the 1970's, the rebellious types known as "sukeban" (スケバン) modified their skirts to ankle length.

Here is a Wikipedia entry on sukeban:

Here is what the style looked like:

Here is a comparative look at the "kogyaru," regulation issue, and sukeban styles:

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I know it’s goofy, but coincidentally I, a 73-year-old old Caucasian man, woke up this morning, here in the States, thinking about, of all things, Japanese schoolgirl uniform skirts. I thought about how the typical western mind would dismiss any such fleeting thoughts as prurient and meaningless. And I also thought about how the objets trouvés must be somehow archetypal to the human psyche for so much attention to be paid to them, at least in Tokyo. I reflected on how I am proud that I don’t dismiss such thoughts as inconsequential, just because they might make me look stupid, or perverted, if I admitted them. So I hereby acknowledge that I would gladly read an article about Japanese schoolgirl skirts 10 times more than an article about other school matters, such as curriculum.

4 ( +4 / -0 )


Here, have a thumbs up old man.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Knee-length skirts"

No way.

"Short socks"


-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Simply put having a uniform dress code at school not only takes the prominence on fashion off but also helps the students to concentrate on studying and not on who is putting on what fashion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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