Let’s face it, there is no where else in the world that has uniforms quite like the Japanese ones. Even the Taiwanese and Korean uniforms are based off them! Most schools in Japan make it mandatory to wear a uniform, whether it be a public or private school. The word for uniform in Japanese is seifuku (制服).
There are two main types of uniforms for boys and girls. The first uniform is the more traditional one. Girls would wear a sailor outfit while boys don a military style. These uniforms are based off the Meiji era formal military dress. It was once fashionable to wear the uniform out of school as well, but that is going out of style and most teenagers prefer dressing in casual wear.
The boys’ uniform is named gakuran (学ラン) or tsume-eri (詰め襟). It is usually black, but some schools also use navy or dark blue. The second button on the top of the uniform is given by the male owner to a female he wishes to express love to. It is said that the placement of the second button is closest to the heart. This practice was made popular by the scene of a book by Daijun Takeda. Sometimes the uniform is worn with a black cap, but this is not so fashionable nowadays.
The girls’ uniform is named sera-fuku (セーラー服). It is modeled after a uniform worn in the British Royal Navy. The uniform is worn with knee high socks of either white or navy color. Common colors are navy blue, white, grey, light green and black. The sailor uniform has evolved to become a very popular fetish item, and the uniform can often be seen in manga or animes (most prominently, Sailor Moon).
The second uniform some schools use is a more western-inspired one. These uniforms consist of a white shirt, tie, blazer with school crest, and tailored trousers (often not of the same color as the blazer) for boys and a white blouse, tie, blazer with school crest, and tartan culottes or skirt for girls.