Refers to the style of school uniforms worn by students, though the most common reference is to the girl's uniforms.
According to the Daily Yomiuri, the Navy-inspired uniforms were introduced after the first World War, and really caught on after 1923. The original uniforms were originally intended for the British school girls, and were based on the suits worn by members of the British Royal Navy. While students in the United States and Britain wore these as well, they fell out of favour in the 1920's. Today, Japan is the only country in which girls still wear this style of apparel.