Germany’s school children in 2009.
From the 16th century, students (especially of secondary or grammar schools and similar institutions) were often subject to regulations that prescribed, for example, modest and not too stylish attire. In many cases these regulations were part of wider laws concerning the clothing of all citizens of certain social classes. A blue coat became a widespread, obligatory status symbol of students of secondary schools; it fell out of use during the latter half of the 18th century. In newer times, school uniforms in any real sense did not exist outside of convent schools and private boarding schools. At times, certain fashions became so widespread that they approached uniform status; this is true in particular for so-called student hats (Schülermützen) that became widespread from the 1880s on and remained somewhat popular until they were banned by the Nazis. Their wearing was advocated by teachers and the students themselves and occasionally made mandatory, but never on a national or state-wide level. Another instance are the sailor suits that became fashionable around the turn of the 19th century. These, too, were not usually a prescribed uniform. The Nazis banned student hats – the last remaining, if voluntary, form of unified student clothing – because they considered them an attribute of class society. They did, however, institute mandatory membership in the uniformed Hitler Youth (HJ) from 1936 on. HJ uniforms were worn in the Adolf Hitler Schools and in the Napolas; students of other schools sometimes wore them to school at their own discretion. In recent times, the introduction of school uniforms has been discussed, but usually the expression "uniform" (the word is the same in German) is avoided in favour of terms like "school clothing" ("Schulkleidung"). School clothing has been introduced in a small number of schools, for example in Hamburg-Sinstorf in 2000, and in Friesenheim and Haag (Oberbayern) in 2005. In these cases...
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