A gymslip is a sleeveless tunic with a pleated skirt most commonly seen as part of a girl's school uniform. The term gymslip primarily refers to athletic wear; otherwise the term pinafore dress (British English) or jumper dress (American English) is usually preferred.

The introduction of the gymslip as female athletic wear is credited to Martina Österberg, a founder of a college for training female physical education teachers in Hampstead. [cite book|title=Advanced PE for Edexcel|first=Frank|last=Galligan|publisher=Harcourt Heinemann|date=October 24 2000|pages=p20|id=ISBN 0-435-50643-9] Gymslips were also worn by female gymnasts and athletes from the 1880s to the 1920s, as they were more mobile than traditional female attire, but still modest enough to deter the possibility of them becoming sexualised during their activity. Even in this modest attire, gymslips as athletic wear were still worn strictly out of public view. [cite book|title=Uniforms Exposed|first=Jennifer|last=Craik|publisher=Berg Publishers|date=August 6 2005|pages=p153|id=ISBN 1-85973-898-2] [cite book|title=The Victorian cult of the family and the early years of female sport, published in Gender and Sport|first=Jennifer|last=Hargreaves|publisher=Routledge|date=December 1 2001|pages=p58|id=ISBN 0-415-25953-3]

When not worn as athletic wear, gymslips or pinafore dresses are generally worn over a blouse and tie and replace a skirt. Underneath a gymslip, a pair of white knee socks are more common than a pair of tights, matching regulation knickers may also be mandatory. A blazer may be worn over the top. First emerging in the 1900s, by the 1920s it had become compulsory in many private, convent and high schools, and thus became commonly worn by girls in Britain as part of their school uniform. [cite book|title=Fashion Source Book|first=Kathryn|last=McKelvey|publisher=Blackwell Publishing|date=May 1 2006|pages=p188|id=ISBN 1-4051-2693-0]

Although now largely replaced by modern-style uniforms, gymslips are still synonymous with schoolgirls, leading to the slang term "gymslip mum" to describe a teenage pregnancy in Britain. [cite book|title=Abortion in the USA and the UK|first=Colin|last=Francome|publisher=Ashgate Publishing|id=ISBN 0-7546-3015-3|date=March 1 2004|pages=p45] Well-known modern depictions of gymslips include the St. Trinians films, and less traditionally, schoolgirl uniform pornography, a use given more public recognition when in 1991 politician Clare Short condemned the fetish, saying "the Page 3 girl in a gymslip may be over 16, but the imagery is clearly intended to present schoolgirls as sexual objects". [cite book|url=|title=Dear Clare...This Is What Women Feel About Page 3|first=Clare|last=Short|date=April 1991|publisher=Radius|id=ISBN 0-09-174915-8]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • gymslip — ► NOUN Brit. dated ▪ a sleeveless belted tunic reaching from the shoulder to the knee, worn by schoolgirls doing physical education …   English terms dictionary

  • gymslip — UK [ˈdʒɪmˌslɪp] / US noun [countable] Word forms gymslip : singular gymslip plural gymslips British a type of dress without sleeves that girls used to wear as part of a school uniform …   English dictionary

  • gymslip — noun (C) BrE 1 a type of dress without sleeves that girls used to wear over a shirt as a part of their school uniform 2 gymslip mother a girl who has a baby while she is still at school …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • gymslip — noun A sleeveless tunic with a pleated skirt most commonly seen as part of a girls school uniform …   Wiktionary

  • gymslip — gym|slip [ˈdʒımˌslıp] n BrE a type of dress without sleeves that girls wore in the past over a shirt as a part of their school uniform …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • gymslip — gym|slip [ dʒım,slıp ] noun count BRITISH a type of dress without sleeves that girls used to wear as part of a school uniform …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • gymslip — n. sleeveless tunic that English girls wear over a shirt as part of the school uniform …   English contemporary dictionary

  • gymslip — noun Brit. a belted pinafore dress reaching from the shoulder to the knee, formerly worn by schoolgirls …   English new terms dictionary

  • gymslip — n. a sleeveless tunic, usu. belted, worn by schoolgirls …   Useful english dictionary

  • United Kingdom school uniform — A school uniform is a distinct set of clothes which are worn by pupils in the United Kingdom. The type of uniform which is worn is set out by individual schools and may vary depending on school years. School uniforms are required to be fair for… …   Wikipedia

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