I live in South Australia and have done all my life. I started school in 1970 and my last year of secondary School was in 1982. I remember being mostly dressed in shorts and knee socks from a very young age until I turned 16. My Mum and Dad always reminded me that I should be in no hurry to grow up and being their only child I guess they wanted my childhood to last as long as possible. I never had any say in the clothing
I wore and I just excepted what my parents brought for me to wear.
I attended a Catholic School. In primary school I wore the school uniform. Greys shirt, shorts and socks with the school colours on the turnovers. All the boys wore the same. In
colder months about 30 percent of the boys wore shorts the other boys wore long
As my school required a uniform I was happy to wear it.
In the warmer months I wore a light grey short sleeve shirt and black tie with thin green and yellow stripes. My shorts were grey with elastics back and side pockets. I
wore the school issue of socks. They were long and grey with black, yellow
and green bands at the top. When my socks became a little old my mother
would always sew elastics on to the socks so they would stay up. Black lace
up shoes was also required.
In the winter we were required to wear a school
blazer. Shorts were optional but I wore grey shorts all year round until I
turned sixteen. Most other boys wore long grey trousers. The winter shorts
were different from the summer. They were fully lined with button side tabs.
I use to like them long and combined with my long socks, which thanks to mum
always stayed up, my legs were not exposed to the cold as much. I also wore
a grey v-neck jumper with the school colours trimmings. Some boys would
complain about having to wear a uniform but I liked it and was happy to wear
it. During the last couple of years that I wore shorts during the winter at
school I was teased at times, as I was the only one in shorts that time of
year. But it did not worry me much, in fact I preferred the short and long
socks, as did my parents. I often wonder if it was peer pressure that
stopped other boys from dressing in shorts all year round as well.
Around the house after school and on weekends I would mostly wear shorts and a shirt with a collar. My parents did not buy me any t-shirts unless they
had collar. (By this I mean the shirt would only have 2-3 buttons. It did not button all the way down) When I was 10 I favoured a red, blue and yellow
horizontal stripped t-shirt that had a white collar. My Dad use to joke that I would be buried in that shirt. I did not have any jeans until I was 16 years old. sixteen. My shorts were mostly the more formal type. Other than grey I remember having navy blue and white shorts. I would often wear an old pair of grey school shorts around the house. When I wore socks around the house they were always long. Mostly shades of grey without coloured bands, but
also light and dark blue and black. In the colder months I would wear "v"-neck jumpers. Most of these where all one colour but some had coloured
Most, but not all of my shorts had elastic back and side pockets. One pair I remember well, were the ones I wore around the house. They were school shorts but not the ones I wore to school. Why I remember them is because they had a zip pocket. They were elastic all the way around with two pockets at the front. But just inside one of the front pockets was a special zip
pocket for lunch money. I liked these shorts and would wear them frequently because of the zip pocket. I boy hates to lose those little things which are special to him.
I would occasionally ask about long pants. My parents were both keen for me to wear shorts. I remember hearing comments like. Boys look more like boys in shorts. Boys look very smartly dressed in shorts and long socks. I think the main reason I was kept in shorts for so long was because I was an only child and my parents did not want me to grow
up so fast.
My parents would often say how I looked very smartly dressed in my shorts and knee socks. I was a very obedient boy and respected my parent's wishers more than most other boys did. I really did not have
a problem wearing shorts all the time and did not complain at all. I just
accepted that that was how they liked me to dress.
If I had been teased more then maybe I would have complain about having to wear shorts. But the fact is I was only teased occasionally. I was a very much into sport and excelled in
most games. I guess I was not teased much because I had the other boy's respect with my
sporting achievements. My Father would spend a lot of time with me kicking
balls and playing backyard cricket so I developed skills that were above the
average growing up.
I did not go unnoticed. Other boys would occasionally tease me a bit. They said I was crazy for wearing shorts on cold days. Sometimes they would
comment on my knees. I remember being told that I could be recognised from quite a distance away because my knees would stand out. In high school, apart from one day, I was
the only boy who would wear shorts in the winter months.
One day one of the other boys came to school in winter shorts. The other boys gave him a lot of unwanted attention. When they asked why he was wearing shorts, he said that
"Kirk wears shorts and no-one picks on him." I remember distinctly their
response. "They suit Kirk but you look stupid" Now whether they were just
use to seeing me in shorts or whether shorts did suit me better I don't
know. I do know that the boy never wore shorts in the winter again.
I remember going to the tailors to be measured for my last suit with short
pants. At the time I thought I was quite special to have a suit specially
made. I remember the tailor asking how old I was and being surprised to
find out that I was 14. I guess he was surprised that I was having a short
pantsuit made for me at 14 years old. Or maybe I looked younger than I was, who knows!
My suit shorts needed a belt and I am pretty sure they had one back pocket. The style of my suits? This I am too sure of. But it looked very much like what
the boy is wearing on the on the Short pant suits national style page on the HBC site. (The English boy in the red cap.) Material? Now this is were I might
not be able to help as I took very little attention to what my shorts were made of. The best I can do is to tell you what they looked like. I know they
were not corduroy or flannel. The look very much like those worn by New Zealand boys. Which would make them terylene. My winter school short had a grey
lining and were most comfortable and warm to wear. My summer school shorts did not have a lining.
Other than to church I remember wearing my suits to weddings.
My last couple of suit with shorts were grey and I wore long plain grey
socks with black shoes with the suit. I also would wear a tie and light
colour shirt. When I was 8-9 I remember a light blue suit with dark blue
trimming with long socks that matched the suit.
I will never forget the time one of friends stayed with me. I was about 12 at the time. He had stayed with us most of the week and the plan was for him to go to church with us
and then he would go back to his home with his parents from there. My Mother
just could not let him go to church in the clothes he had brought with him
and insisted that he puts on one of my suits. My Mum told him that she thought that the clothes he had for church were not appropriate and said that he should borrow some of mind since we were about the same size. He said that was all right. I remember being surprised that my friend did not try to get out of wearing it. So, instead of laying out
one set of clothes for me she put out two sets. When it came time to change
my friend put on the suit with short pants without complaint. As I did not
want him to feel uncomfortable I did not say anything about it. I do
remember my Mum telling him that it fitted him very nicely.
As I said, he got dresses without saying much but when he got to church his older brother laughed and teased him. They had never teased me before and from that time on I was very
self-conscience about wearing my short pant suit at church. I still was not
made fun of, I guess they were use to seeing me dressed that way.
His brother laughed a lot at the first site of him. Then carried on about his knees
looking funny and his shorts being to long. Also about his tie as he did not
normally wear one to church. He also said he had being spending too much
time with me and was beginning to look like me. My friend told him to shut
up a number of times. I also remember my friend's father smiling at him and
saying that he looked very smart in a suit.
Before he went home that day, I was worried about our friendship and told
him I was sorry that my Mum made him wear the suit. He still did not seem to
be to upset and said he really did not mind wearing it. He brought back the
suit the following week and I can't remember discussing the suit again.
I was expecting to be teased the following week when I showed up for church
in my suit as usual. But nothing was said. I guess they were use to seeing
my dressed in my shorts each week and thought nothing of it. From then on
though, I felt a little uneasy about my suit but I never complained about
My Scout and Cub uniforms were very similar. The uniform consisted of shirt
with a scarf, shorts with long socks. I wore a cap at cubs and wide brim
hat for scouts. From memory all the boys in both Scouts and Cubs wore
As I mention, I often wonder if it is peer pressure that stopped other boys from dressing in shorts as well. Given that my friend did not complain about having to wear the short pant suit and the boy at my school choose to wear shorts one day of his own choice and never did again because of the things that were said by the other boys.
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