Thursday, 20 January 2011

Eton School Uniform

At the start of a new school year the cost of the school uniform is a worry for many families. In the elite public schools uniforms represent an ostentatious display of wealth – money no object. There is still an insidious competition of blazers, scarves, hats, buttons, coats - all the insignia of power and privilege.

Eton is of the course at the pinnacle of this obscene rivalry and one-upmanship. The cost of the basic uniform runs to about £1,000, there are also those little extras like cricket whites and 'formal change' as its known, then there are the boat fees (£295). Eton has its own bespoke tailor, Tom Brown, that has supplied clothing for over two hundred years.

Eton Uniform



2 tail suits

£170 each


7 white school shirts

£12 each


7 white school collars

£6.50 each


6 front and back collars studs

£1.50 each


1 blue blazer

£95.00 each


2 pairs smart trousers

£45.00 each


1 pullover

£45.00 each


2 smart shirts, collar attached

£22.50 each


2 white (rugby) football shirts, long-sleeved with collar

£23.50 each


2 navy (rugby) football shirts, long-sleeved with collar

£23.50 each


2 navy football shorts

£8.00 each


1 Eton College track suit

£60.00 each


2 white polo-style shirts

£18.00 each




Uniforms were introduced into Rugby School by Thomas Arnold in the 1830s in order to inculcate discipline and obedience and to tame the dissolute sons of the gentry and landed aristocracy. Uniforms became symbolic trappings of fealty and dominance that projected the image of the institution. At the end of the nineteenth century each house had its own particular colours and badges, each sport could award blazers and caps.

Most schools in Europe don't have school uniforms, it is regarded as a rejection of militarism and conformity. In England schools spend inordinate amounts of time enforcing petty rules about uniforms. It's another example of how the public school ethos has infected the state system, schools seem to believe that sweaty blazers, a heraldic crest and school tie is a sign of a 'good school'.

Eton and the exclusive public schools with their cripplingly expensive uniforms is a way of enforcing the social hierarchy and keeping the riff-raff out. For everyone else there is of course Tesco with the complete school uniform at £3.75. Just don't turn up to Eton with it.


  1. There are four tailors in Eton in fact: Tom Brown, Welsh & Jeffries, Billings & Edwards and New & Lingwood.

    The thing is that you don't know about the Eton Admissions system, so you're quite happy to say Eton is evil, except you don't know that about ~25% off the top of my head get some form of financial assistance, with the fees and extras &c.

  2. whoever made this site is either one of three things. a person who was bullied at eton which considering that hardly exists means your a cunt and you would be bullied anywhere. or your jealous of very reasonable tailoring considering every one of your stats is bullshit. no one has ever owned close to seven shirts - you dont give our laundry service enough credit. as in none of that list is correct - what the fuck does 2 white polo-style shirts mean? richard knight a little knowledge is a dangerous thing - you clearly have no idea what your talking about. your rant about uniforms is so ludicrously incorrect it is offensive, i promise you the eton uniform has been worn long before the 1830's? the final thing you must be is a freak to talk about something you know nothing about - our uniform was originally to mourn not to initiate militarism. i guess you never got a blazer or a cap?

  3. Richard Knights, I do so hate it when Eton comes under specific attack, as is the case here. As the (indelicately named) 'your probably and idiot' underlines, the Eton uniform has been worn long before the 1830s. It was - in fact - adopted by Etonians after the death of the college's founder; King Henry XI. So since the late 1470s, Etonians have been wearing mourning dress (not militant battle gear) in memory of a man who offered a free education to the brightest boys from the country. Since then, his message of generosity has been passed down through every generation of the school, and - as 'Harry Matthews' highlights - more than 30% (in actual fact) of the school is on some sort of a bursary. You also fail to highlight that all of the school uniform is optional, apart from the tailsuits. You are obliged to buy two sets of tails, but these can be 2nd, 3rd or 4th hand, and can cost very little. Indeed, those on academic scholarships receive all of their uniform for free. So while your bigoted, inaccurate attack on public schools and Eton was presumably aimed to rile the troops and gather an army to protest through the streets of Eton and other public schools, it appears you have failed. Granted, you clearly did some research, but you have either chosen to completely ignore it, or have forgotten what you learnt, or you are not publishing it because the inconvenient truth is that anybody can get into Eton (fully clothed) whether they have money spare to pay the fees OR NOT as long as they have the intellectual wherewithal to pass the entry tests. I hesitate in saying you would not get in to any of the public schools you reference above, judging by the poor quality of your writing, and the totally deceitful information you propose as 'the truth' in your table above. I spend my whole time apologising to people that I go to Eton, because I realise people are against the institution. The majority of Etonians are in the same position of feeling bad for something they actually entirely deserve. However, when confronted with indignant ignorance such as yours, any public schoolboy will drop all charm and apologetic maturity to fight for just recognition. We are not all bigoted posh toffs, and the class war between "Eton" and the "riffraff" is as outdated a concept as that of slavery. Sorry to have so totally destroyed all of your arguments. If you think any are left standing, please feel free to alert me by replying, and I will be sure to highlight the numerous issues with that as well. I'm sick of having to justify my education to people who are happy to maintain a bliss ignorance that suits the stereotype.

  4. This site gives me nostalgia about my childhood days when I used to be very excited when I had to get ready to school. Buying new uniform for new class also used to be pretty exciting. Thank you for sharing the information.

    Robert Green

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