All about Japanese girls’ school uniforms! (Part 2)

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Have you ever found yourself lost when trying to draw Japanese school uniforms? You’ve seen them a lot in anime, but when it comes to actually designing and drawing them yourself… you’re not sure where to start?

If you’ve ever felt like that, this lesson is for you!

In this lesson, we’re going to be building on what we learnt last time about uniform types, and looking at seasonal uniform styles, as well as other parts of the uniform like neckties and socks. We’ll have you drawing school uniforms like a pro in no time!

Make sure you check out the first part of this series here before you read on.


“Sailor” style – winter/summer versions

Above are the summer and winter versions of the sailor style school uniform. Because Japan’s seasons are so varied, with a very hot and humid summer and a cold winter, different uniforms for the different seasons are a necessity!

The long-sleeved winter version top will usually be all in one piece, so it needs a zip down the side or back for the student to put it on.


Blazer style – winter/summer versions

The blazer style uniform has a more simple solution to summer and winder styles. In the summer, students take off their blazer and wear just a short or long sleeved shirt. The shirt is often made of light fabric to give the students as much relief as possible from the sweltering summer humidity.

Some schools will have their students wear a vest over the summer shirt, and the winter version will often also include an optional knit vest under the jacket.


Buttons on Japanese school blazers

Right, now we’re getting into the finer details! Did you know there are actually various patterns for the buttons of Japanese uniform blazers? There are options for the number of buttons, and the number of rows of buttons. The buttons marked in red here are not functional, and are just sewn on for show. The top right single row three button type is perhaps the most common.

The direction blazers and shirts button up can change depending on whether its menswear or womenswear too. Boys will usually button up left over right, and girls right over left!


Types of neckties and ribbons

Ties for blazers

Above are a selection of ties used for blazer style uniforms.

We see both necktie and bow types for blazers. Recently most schools have adopted pre-tied neckties to stop students tying their ties or ribbons in a lazy or messy way. These pre-tied items can be either clipped to the collar with a metal fastening, or attached with elastic string and a clip at the back.


Ties for Sailor style uniforms

Sailor type uniform ties are actually very different to blazer ones, so be careful not to mix up the two styles! The top four designs are self-tied, using a large triangular scarf, and the bottom two are premade versions that are attached to a string that can be tied or clipped at the back.


Types of socks for Japanese school girls

キャラクターの個性をソックスで表現できます

You might think there’s not much to be said about the simple school sock – but in fact socks are often one of the only parts of the uniform where a student is given freedom, so we see many different lengths and styles, even in the same school. Certain types of socks will go in and out of fashion, and there are even popular fashionable brands of school socks.

In the early 2000’s, we saw a huge trend for loose socks among Japanese girls, but in recent years, they have fallen out of fashion, and the four simple styles above are the most common.

Rarely seen in real Japanese schools, the knee-high sock is still hugely popular in anime. They can be used to make characters appear both sexy and cute, depending on how they are used, so they are a very popular style in the anime world.

These folded-over socks used to appear fashionable and youthful, but have fallen out of style. We only really see them now in schools out in the country, and students wearing their socks like this will be seen as old-fashioned.


That brings us to the end of this two-part introduction to Japanese girls’ school uniforms! I hope you’ve learnt some useful facts that will help you with your own work.

While you watch your favourite anime, take a look at the kind of uniforms used, and try to think what category they fall in! This will help you build on the knowledge from this lesson.

And of course, get drawing yourself! Try out all different parts and combinations, to create your own stylish school uniform characters!

Don’t forget to enrol in our online courses at Anime Art Academy for even more information on school uniforms, including detailed tutorials on how to draw each part of the uniform! You can even get professional advice and pointers on your own work. We hope to see you there!

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