French Boys Clothes: 1960s

I was in Elementary school until eleven. The elementary school did not requite a uniform as such, but we had to wear smocks. We boys thought it was a good thing because it didn't matter it ink blots got on it or we got it dirty. We wore the smocks in elementary school, in the classroom, and at playtime. We never wore berets.

We has a special white cassock for First Communion

Next I went to a Jesuit Catholic boys college (private secondary ) school. My mother is a very traditionalist Catholic. It was the early 1960s. There was no uniform at my college or the other principal catholics schools. My college had a rather relaxed dress code. We did not have to wear suits or jackets and ties. Someboys did, others did not. It was up to our parents wehther we wore grey long or short trousers. When I started at my college the clothes worn by us new boys were quite varied. About half of us wore shorts the other half longs. We boys sometimes discussed it, but it was not a problem. Some boys like me had both short and long trousers, although the long trousers were mostly worn in the winter. Others boys wore shorts all the time, but always with knee socks during the winter. It was a bit different as we got older. Some of the boys still in shorts at 14 were teased a little by the other boys were mostly wearing long pants by then. But in the 1960s it was normal to wear short trousers.

My college was in Bordeaux in the south of France. By June the weather could be quite warm. We would wear ankle socks then. During winter we wore knee socks. Some of us also wore sandals in the summer, but they were not very popular with us boys. I thought sandals were only for summer holidays (or for the monks), and not for school.

The choir was quite important at Catholic schools. The choristers wore blue shorts and white knee socks when they sang in font of a public. (See Les Petits Chanteurs la Croix de Bois).

When not in school I wore short pants until I was 13 years old in 1965. Mother was never to insistent on shorts. In fact she brought my long pants before I really insisted on them. Before I reached 13, my mother pretty much decided on her own what I would wear. At 13 I began expressing my opinion about what I wanted. When I wanted long trousers, it was not a problem. I remember a paradoxal discussion between my little brother (born in 1956 and me in 1951) and my mother. He wanted short trousers and my mother did not want to buy them for him. I think that he was 13 or 14. He won in the end! Some other boys I knew wore shorts when they were 14, but most of us were wearing long pants at 15.

Actually I got my first pair of long pants when I was 10 years old. But they were only for the winter when it was really cold. Mother decided when it was time to begin wering my longs went it got cold. She also decided when it was time to begin wearing shorts again.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: June 10, 1998
Last updated: September 7, 1998