I have some freinds who yearn to wear a 制服[seifuku] of Japanese school. All of them say the design is really cool. Well some schoolgirls would consider the seifuku when they choose high-school they want to go. Intelligence doesn’t seem to matter, but what they’re concerned is a 制服 in particular. And I have a friend who really wants to wear a 学ラン[gakuran] or Japanese traditional school uniform for boys(I will explain later). He ordered it from Japan, but too bad it was too tight for him, so he kindly sent it over from UK…and now I use it when I cosplay.
As you may know, there are basically two kinds of seifuku; one is a セーラー服[sailorfuku, or sailor suit], and the other is a blazer[ブレザー]. Blazers are everwhere, but as far as I am aware, Japan could be the only one country which has designated it as a school uniform for girls. Speaking of セーラー服, you might think of the OP theme song of Lucky Star, もってけ！セーラーふく. But an ojisan like me could think of セーラー服を脱がさないで[Don’t strip off my sailor suit] by おニャン子クラブ（something like AKB48） or セーラー服と機関銃[A sailor suit and a machine gun] by 薬師丸ひろ子(the idol in 80’s). 古い！！アンタいくつだよ！
No longer you see such a longer skirt now, but in the olden days, the length of a skirt used to be amazingly long. It had to cover your knee, and even reach to your shanks. Yes, the school rule was very strict at that time. But if the skirt covers her ankles, it would be counted as a ロンスカ[ronsuka] or long skirt, and those girls in such a ロンスカ used to be counted as a スケ番[sukeban]. スケ[suke] is an old saying to mean a woman, and 番[ban] means actually 番長[banchou] or a leader of a group of juvenile delinquents in school. At that time, a TV drama named スケ番刑事[sukebandeka] in which the three kawaii sukebans fought against evil was quite popular. The word スケ番 used to be in the mainstream at that time though I don’t hear this anymore. Besides, a bike gang which consists of girls only is called レディース[redhisu]. Well I think a perfect example is Gottoza-sama in Lucky Star. She quite embodies such a member of レディース.
But things changed in the mid of 90’s. As the charismatic diva named Namie Amuro[安室奈美恵] became popular, most of the schoolgirls used to copy her. Her hairstyle, make-up, and clothes or anything(those girls who copied her were all called アムラー[amuror]). So they started to dye hair, and make the skirt much shorter. Yes, this time a word ミニスカ[minisuka] or short skirt became so popular that the teachers couldn’t almost stop them. Also, at that time the valuable item for them was a ルーズソックス[loose socks], and this makes your legs look thinner. I can’t think of any anime in which characters are wearing this…maybe GTO? Anyway, the existance of 女子高生[joshikousei] or schoolgirls was really strong.
As of 2000, the number of the schoolgirls wearing loose socks were decreasing, and instead of that, dark blue high socks started to become popular. 紺ハイ[konhai, an abbreviation of 紺ハイソックス] can make your legs look longer. Maybe you can see anime girls wearing this such as Suzumiya Haruhi. Not only dark blue, but black or white ones can be also seen. In that case, we say 黒ハイ[kurohai] or 白ハイ[shirohai] respectively. But the most popular one is 紺ハイ.
over knee socks
If you see a lot of anime schoolgirls, you might think it’s weird that I don’t mention オーバーニーソックス[over knee socks]. Unfortunately, in the real world we can’t possibly see real schoolgirls wearing this. As far as I can tell, there’s no school which has accepted it as a part of the uniform. But of course there ARE a lot of schoolgirls wearing this when they are off. So let’s pray for such a day coming! Can I see a lot of 絶対領域 on the train every morning? I can’t stop my ハァハァ(*´д｀*).
Okay, then I shall mention boys’ seifuku. As I have said, there’s only two kinds of seifuku; 学ラン[gakuran] and ブレザー[blazer]. Usually, when the boys wear a gakuran at school, the girls should wear a sailor suit. So I think Suzumiya Haruhi’s high-school is really weird because each gender uniform does not correspond. Even Kyon says something like this in the novel. At any rate, I used to wear a gakuran at my middle school, and a blazer at high-school. Comparing to a blazer, a gakuran is very easy to wear since you don’t need a tie. Like a sukeban did so, such delinquent schoolboys also used to make a gakuran either shorter or longer. Of course we don’t see this anymore now, but the shorter one is called 短ラン[tanran] and the longer one is called ボンタン[bontan]. A tanran is really short, does not even cover your waist whereas bontan can cover your knees. Either way, you can see this collaboration in 今日から俺は！[Kyou kara ore wa!] Old, old, old!
As summer comes, students may change it into 夏服[natsufuku, summer uniform]. A change of clothes starts around the mid of June, this depends. Whichever they wear a gakuran or a blazer, they just take off a jacket. A white sleeveless shirt and a colored T-shirt are a basic style. For some reason, here is a moe for girls…since some girls might see his see-through nipples…女の子って結構エロいよね（笑）
All in all, you will never wear a 制服 once you finish school, so that is why it’s kind of nostalgic, sad…and hot! As long as you are a student, you might not notice this. But after you lost it, you would see how important, and how wonderful it was. Yes! I have a 制服萌え！