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The Background Of Degree Clothes
- Jan 26, 2019 -

The tradition of graduating in academic dress dates back at least to the 12th century, when the first university was founded in Europe. At that time, most of the students were clergymen, or aspired to become clergymen, so they did not advocate overdressing. So they all wear uniforms with simple colors.

When the University was first built, there was no building dedicated to classes, so the classes were held in nearby churches. Their simple gowns and coats were designed to keep warm in leaky medieval churches, and their hoods allowed them to shelter themselves from the wind and rain in outdoor classes.

At the Oxford Conference in 1222, Stephen Langton suggested that all priests should wear a long shawl called cappa clausa over their robes. Soon the new universities adopted this design, which became the symbol of their degree clothes.

In 1321, the University of Coinbra required undergraduates to wear solid-coloured gowns. In the Tudor Dynasty, Oxford and Cambridge used this style as the standard for their academic dresses. Later, for comfort, coats were gradually abandoned, while gowns were retained. The colour is pure black.

By the late nineteenth century, specific colors were used to represent different academic fields, and the standard of colors had changed frequently for centuries.


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