UK Girl Guide Uniforms Through the Years Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

UK Girl Guide Uniforms Through the Years

3 Conversations

UK Guiding
Rainbow Guides | Brownie Guides | Girl Guides | The Senior Sections | The Adult Sections | BGIFC (British Guides in Foreign Countries) | Lord Baden-Powell's Role in The Girl Guide Movement (UK) | Uniform Through the Years

Penelope Keith and Angela Thorne from the classic TV sitcom 'To The Manor Born' - both dressed in Guide Leader outfits.

The uniform worn by Girl Guides in the UK have seen many changes since the first girls turned up wearing a mix of Scout uniform and their normal clothing, in 1909, at the Crystal Palace rally. The uniform changes in the earily years were normally down to the fashion changes of the day, then later during the Second World War because material was hard to get hold of. Then, after the war, man-made fibres were available, so again the uniform changed, making it a little cheaper to buy. Finally, during the 1990s, the uniform was changed in order to make it more practical and fashionable for the girls to wear.


Rainbows first started in 1987 for girls aged between five and seven years of age.

  • 1987:Rainbows wear tabards in, aptly, six colours of the rainbow; red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet; a green cap is optional.
  • 2004: Rainbows can choose to wear any of the following items: polo shirt (pale blue with red sleeves and trim), jogging pants (red with pale blue trim), hooded jacket (red with pale blue trim, featuring the Rainbow motif on the back ), cycling shorts (red with pale blue trim), cap (red) and tabard. The tabards still come in all six colours mentioned above.


Brownies first started in 1914, for girls aged between seven and ten years of age.

  • 1914: When Brownies first started, they were in fact called 'Rosebuds.' They didn't have to wear a uniform but girls usually wore a dark blue uniform of a knitted jersey, dark blue skirt and a tam (small hat). They wore a promise badge that Agnes Baden-Powell had designed.
  • 1915: It was still not compulsory for Brownies to wear a uniform, but they wore either; the uniform stated above with a tie or a brown dress with white collar, bib and straw hat. In 1916, a brown belt or braid sash was added to the blue uniform.
  • 1917: The tunic dress was introduced, with patch pockets in brown, with a tie and a knitted cap, in either brown or navy. Then, in 1929, Brownies were officially able to wear brown knee-length socks. However, some groups had permitted their girls to wear them since the First World War.
  • 1934: A summer uniform was added (in brown), as well as a cloth cap to replace the knitted cap. This quickly became the most popular form of headwear. In 1938, Brownies were able to chose to wear a gold tie instead of the brown one as long as their pack all wore the same colour.
  • 1950: The uniform stayed much the same; only slight changes were made such as a brown wool beret replacing the cloth cap - also, stockings were taken off the official Brownie uniform list though they did, however, reappear in 1965. By 1964 a brown cardigan had also been added to the uniform.
  • 1967: A cotton dress was introduced with the pockets on the skirt rather than on the breast. A new Promise Badge was also introduced; it featured a Brownie man inside a trefoil and was worn on a yellow cross-over tie. A knitted brown pom-pom hat replaced the beret in 1973 and in 1977 Brownies were allowed to wear brown trousers underneath the Brownie dress.
  • 1990: This uniform was designed by fashion designer, Jeff Banks and included a choice of sweatshirts (yellow or brown), T-shirts (yellow), shorts (brown), culottes (brown) and sweatpants (brown). The Brownies also wore a brown sash, which they would sew their badges on and had the choice of wearing a baseball cap. A new Promise Badge was introduced in 1993, which was a yellow trefoil.
  • 2002: This uniform was designed by fashion designer Ally Capellino. It's a collection of mix-and-match items which includes hooded jackets, boot-cut leggings, gilet, T-shirts and skorts (shorts with a flat front like a skirt).


Guides first started in 1910, for girls aged between ten and 14 years of age.

  • 1908: There was no Guide uniform in 1908 because there were officially no Girl Guides. However, some girls had organised themselves into self-led groups and had adapted the Scout uniform for themselves. They wore a long khaki or Lincoln green skirt, a khaki blouse, and a khaki brimmed hat.
  • 1909: When Guides first started, Baden-Powell said that the colour of the uniform should be chosen by the Guide Company. By 1911, the colour blue had been introduced. Guides wore a dark blue blouse with pockets on the breast, a long dark blue skirt, a felt wide-brimmed hat and a blue tie.
  • 1917: A shorter skirt, which finished just below the knee, was introduced. The shirt changed; it was made longer, had pockets just about the hem and on the breast and was worn with a belt. A yellow tie was also worn, replacing the blue one.
  • 1930: This year saw the introduction of the uniform dress, which became very popular. Girls could, however still wear the skirt and blouse as an alternative. In the 1940s the skirt became a little shorter, due to material for clothes being scarce during the Second World War.
  • 1946: This year saw the first big change in the Guide uniform, which now consisted of a bright blue shirt, a navy skirt, brown shoes and stockings and a beret with a trefoil badge (replacing the cap).
  • 1964: A navy air hostess-style hat replaced the beret, an opened-necked blouse with pockets was introduced and in 1967 a new cross-over tie was brought in. During the sixties, the skirts got shorter as this was the era of the miniskirt and they were now available in man-made fabrics such as rayon, terylene or polyester.
  • 1981: Longer skirts were introduced (mid-knee-length) along with the blouse, now made from terylene/cotton. A neckerchief replaced the cross-over tie.
  • 1990: The uniform got a makeover from designer Jeff Banks, consisting of mix-and-match items from the following list: sweatshirt, jumper, polo shirt, t-shirt, jogging bottoms, skirt and trousers all in bright 'Guide' blue and navy. Badges were worn on a navy sash.
  • 2000: Another makeover, this time by Ally Capellino. The uniform now includes T-shirt, gilet (fleece vest), rugby shirt and sweatshirt in mid-blue and dark blue, with red detail. Badges are now worn on the gilet.

Senior Section

The Senior Section is for young women aged between 14 and 25 years of age.

  • 1916: Cadets wore either their school uniform, or Guide uniform. To distinguish them from Guides, they had a white hat-band, hat badge, and triangular tie.
  • 1920: Rangers had the same uniform as Guides, wih red Promise Badge and a red hat badge. Sea Rangers had navy blue jerseys and skirts, with navy blue hats with 'Sea Ranger' bands, black ties, and white lanyards.
  • 1939: Rangers had a dress of 'Headquarters' blue, a navy blue hat with red badge, and either a striped or plain tie.
  • 1942: Land Rangers wore a grey jersey, navy blue tie, navy blue skirt, and a navy blue beret with red hat badge.
  • 1954: Battle dress blouses were worn by Rangers. Sea Rangers wore WRNS ratings-style hats. Air Rangers came into being, and wore almost the same as Land Rangers, but with a pale blue shirt and hat badge. Cadets wore the Guiders' blouse and navy beret, but had a white tie and white Investiture Badge.
  • 1955: A new cap was introduced for Land and Air Rangers.
  • 1959: A new suit was introduced for Rangers, which replaced the battle dress blouse.
  • 1967: Land, Sea, Air and Cadet Rangers came together to become Ranger Guides, and the uniform became an aquamarine blouse, navy skirt, and navy blue cap. A navy pinafore dress became available as an alternative in 1975.
  • 1973: Young Leaders were also able to wear the Ranger uniform even if they weren't part of a Ranger unit.
  • 1990: Again a revamp to the uniform by designer Jeff Banks. Items included hooded sweatshirt, shirt with pocket on the breast, sweatshirt, and polo shirt all in aquamarine.
  • 2002: Ally Capellino designed the current uniform which includes polo shirt, cotton shirt, fleece jacket (gray) and rugby shirt, baseball cap (navy), again in aquamarine.

Guiders (Leaders)

Guiders are aged between 18 and 65 years of age.

  • 1911: Navy blue ankle length skirt, navy blouse, plumed hat, long gloves, jacket with stand-up collar.
  • 1940: After the war, Guiders wore a navy skirt with a battle-dress top.
  • 1950: A navy blue suit, with box jacket and straight skirt (which could be worn with any blouse and hat in town, so that Guiders could change into Guide uniform in the evening after working in an office). A pale blue-and-white checked blouse was later introduced, with soft, buttoned-down collar worn with cross-over tabs at the neck.
  • 1975: A navy V-necked pinafore dress with matching jacket was introduced, along with an A-line skirt.
  • 1990: Jeff Banks overhauled the Guiders uniform too. It was made up of polo shirt (in navy or white), sweatshirt (navy) knitted jumper (light blue), knitted cardigan (light blue) cardigan (navy with white sleeves) and striped shirt (long and short-sleeved). Casual wear (to be worn at camps and unit meeting) was available, including a grey blouse, and rugby shirt, and 'surprise yourself' jersey tops.
  • 2002: The rugby shirt was made part of the uniform and again Ally Capellino was responsible for the makeover which consists of; long and short-sleeved blouse, gilet, polo shirt, sweatshirt, skirt, shorts, rugby shirt, trousers, zipped fleece top and waterproof jacket. There is also a line of casual wear, which consists of; 'surprise yourself' sweatshirt, waterproof jacket, Girlguiding UK rugby shirts, (light blue and cherry), long and short-sleeved 'surprise yourself' T-shirt, baseball cap, gilet, T-shirt and navy fleece.

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Edited Entry


Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Categorised In:

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more