Why the Leaver’s Hoodie Is a Rite of Passage for School Leavers

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How often does your child don a hoodie? When they want to slouch around the house? Or if they’re tired after a long day? When they head out to the shops or the cinema with their friends? Hoodies are the cosiest, comfiest and most versatile item in leisurewear and no doubt both you and your child reach for them whenever you need something homey and snuggly. And no hoodie carries as much meaning or significance than the leaver’s hoodie.

A wearable memento of the school years and a playful symbol of school spirit, the leavers hoodie is a tangible token of the people, lessons and experiences that have made who your child is today.

As students across the UK hit the books in preparation for the upcoming exams and get ready to leave the comfort of school, we take a look at the enduring appeal of the leaver’s hoodie and break down why the humble hoodie has become a rite of passage for school leavers all over the country.

The Origins of the Tradition

Although the hoodie first emerged in the world of fashion over 100 years ago, it wasn’t until the 1980s with the arrival of printing embroidery technology and the consequent boom in personalised clothing that the leaver’s hoodie became the school staple we know and love today. But although the leaver’s hoodie may be a relatively modern trend, the impulse to memorialise and honour a part of our lives by writing down our names is as old as humankind itself.

From the cave markings of our earliest ancestors to the contemporary tagging trend that finds every bridge, toilet door and bare wall tagged with the infamous “[insert name] woz here” —it seems there’s some universal desire to assert our names in order to capture a time and place that held significance for us. In many ways, the enduring popularity of the leaver’s hoodie is part of the legacy of this impulse.

As with the creatively scribbled primary school t-shirts, the leaver’s hoodie is a more stylish (not to mention legal) way of tagging your name to memorialise it. Donning a hoodie in your school colours, with the names of your classmates, the year and other personalised flourishes is a tangible way of honouring the school community and testament to our desire to keep those memories alive.

The Importance of Belonging

The school experience is all about belonging to a community. There’re few times in our lives that we experience such a strong sense of belonging, after all, in school we’re surrounded with people who the same age as us and share a similar geographical location, background and education. Whether your child plays for the school’s sports team, is part of the school orchestra or simply enjoys the daily routines of school, it’s the sense of belonging to the community that makes these experiences and school life so enjoyable. And that’s why leaving school can be so unsettling. All of a sudden students are flung out of the bubble of daily school life, away from the camaraderie of the classroom and the regularity of school days and into a big new world full of new and unknown experiences and challenges.

Far more than a meaningless garment, the leaver’s hoodie is a physical memento of the shared history of school life that subtly instils a sense of communal identity long after they leave school. University freshers’, in particular, are prone to donning their leaver’s hoodies during their first few weeks at University to feel connected to their old community.

Decorated with the names of their classmates and featuring the school colours and logo,  a leaver’s hoodie is a symbol of the school community that keeps alive that sense of belonging and helps to make the transition into the next phase of their lives a little easier to manage.

The Sentimental Appeal

Do you remember your school fetes and dances? Do you still fondly think about the friends you made at school? Do you ever reminisce about your school day larks? The memories we create at school stay with us long after we leave and undeniably shape the people that we become. Aside from the lessons we learn in mathematics, geography and history, our time at school is a period of intense personal development and discovery. For most us, it’s where we made lasting friendships, tried new experiences for the first time, experimented with different styles and ways of projecting our identity —whether that was full blown goth or quirky scene kid. And it’s the memories of these experiences that stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Leaver’s hoodies are a physical homage to those memories that your child can wear time and time again. Each time your child takes out their leaver’s hoodie they will be reminded of the people they once were, the community they once belonged to and the friends that helped to shape their past. It’s almost like a wearable school reunion that’s always just there in the wardrobe. The best part? Leaver’s hoodies aren’t tokens that you stash away or store behind glass protectors —they’re made to be worn. Soft, slouchy and full of memories, a leaver’s hoodie never loses its power to evoke powerful memories.

Leaver’s hoodies are undeniably a rite of passage for all UK school leavers, so make sure your kid gets their own. Head over to a leavers hoodies company and give your child a gift that keeps giving.


Author bio: Robert Joyce is the managing director of personalised clothing company Yazzoo, which delivers high-quality screen printing and embroidery services at economy prices.

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Sarah Anguish

Sarah Anguish is the blogger behind this award-winning family lifestyle and top 10 UK mum/parenting blog. Started in August 2011 as she returned to work following maternity leave with her second child. Boo Roo and Tigger showcases family life, home decor, travel and everything in between.

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