When one conjures up the idea of a British boarding school the image of young teenagers sporting traditional flannel pyjamas, woollen dressing gowns and slippers springs to mind.  The likes of Harry Potter and his chums Ron and Hermione would be seen in nothing else in their dormitory at Hogwarts.  Preparatory school dormitories certainly resembled all this a few years ago, but we've learnt that things are changing in the dorms.

Are nightwear trends changing?

Understandably there might well be a change in sleep fashion amongst the younger generations, but in fact along with drinking, smoking and 'talking after lights out', another unlikely addition has been made to the rule book at many schools. "Pyjamas with buttons" are now prohibited at quite a few schools!  It seems this rule (added to several uniform lists) has been introduced at a handful of establishments to reduce the potential administrative complication of replacing missing buttons. This curious form of nightwear dumbing down therefore encourages the use of T-shirts and track suit style pjs.... not exactly the image one might expect in the traditional school dormitory.

Are the Great British school uniforms doomed?

Is this really progress and where will it lead?  At this rate in twenty years’ time we can expect traditional school uniforms to consist of sweatshirts, track suit bottoms and trainers with Velcro fittings.  Not exactly the top hat and tails of Eton, blazer and boater of Harrow or gown and mortar board of Radley.  That said Radley has been pretty forward thinking as there are no buttons on a gown! 

A stitch in time?

Perhaps the days when a school matron would teach a pupil how to stitch back on a button are long gone, but with a well-made jacket the buttons should be pretty secure and in any case one missing button on a pyjama jacket shouldn't prove to be the end of the world and most youngsters should be able to make it through to the holidays, at which time the necessary repairs could be made.  Of course plenty of boys and girls might prefer not to have a button down jacket, but it's such a shame that the option is being removed at some schools .

All this came to mind when a regular customer requested that we should offer 'button-free tops' for her son, in order for him to conform to the school regulations.  Ultimately we mutually concluded that this might just be one rule that really is made to be broken!

Buttons Some schools now outlaw buttons in the dormitory