*** institutional clothes for boys

Institutional Clothing for Boys

boys instiutional clotyhing
Figure 1.--Boys still at home might have long hair and wear kilts, Fauntleroy suits, sailor suits and other juvenile clothes. Once they began school, especially boarding school they would begin to dress in a more mature fashion.

Institutions caring for children have often required destinctive dress. In some case this has meant uniforms. In others instances institutiins have been less demanding dress codes. Interestingly uniforms were first adopted by charity institutions in part to identify the children receiving charity. The first English school uniforms, for example, were for the famed hospital schools which at first were for charity children. Only later did exclusive private schools adopt uniforms, with some resisance from the boys. This was part of a program to bring a modicum of dicipline to unruly students, in this case students from affluent families. Paradoxically the uniforms eventually served to identify the status of students from prestigious schools.

Types of Institutions

Boys were involved in a range of institutins, many of which had destinctive uniforms or other clothing. The most important of these institutions was school. Schools of various types has existed such antiquity, but modtly for the elite. This began to change in Germany with the Reformation. Schools in the 19th century schools became increasingly public insyitutions. Schooling was offered to all children with no required fees. Compulsorty attendabce laws in the advanced countries of Europe and North America. America was a leader in public school education. The schools played a major role in helping poor immigrant children become American. Other important institutions which played important roles in the lives of children included: charity, health, recreational, and reformatory institutions of various types.


The principal institution that cares for children are of course schools. There are a wide variety of different schools including private and public, day and boarding, coed and single gender, secular and religious, and many more. There are many national differences. Clothing at these schools also vary widely and have changed significantly over time. Some schools require uniforms while others do not, but often have dress codes. American public schools, for example, have traditionally not required uniforms, but the widely perceived need to improve discipline standards have caused many dchools to introduce uniforms.

Charity Institutions

Various charity institutions appeared in the late 19th century and continued through the mid-20th century. These included both work houses where the entire family was institutionalized and orphanages where orphans or children whose parents could not care for them were institutionlized. Many had no uniforms and simply wore their own or donated clothing. This was especially common in America. Many European institutions, however, did require uniforms. Smocks were common on the Continent, but such uniforms varied from country to country.

Health Facilities

We notice a variety of facilities in various countries focused on children health. The most obvious insitution here are hospitals. But hispitals are generally for relaively short periods and the children in most cases are largely confined to beds. Some are sick children others are more related to children growing up in less than ideal circumstances and who would benefit from fresh air and sunshine. These are not precisely charity institutions. Many are run or financed by government agencies. This is particularly true in Europe as Socialist parties in the 20th century began to have an increasing impact on givernment policies. Our information on these institutions is still limited, but we have begun to collect some information.

Recreational Facilities


Children and youths who have broken laws are cared for, or at least instituionalized. in a variety of institutions. America referred to many of these institutions as reformatories. Briain used to refer to them as borstals. What ever the name, the institutions were in theory more geared to reforming the children, mostly boys, than the adult prisons. Conditions varied greatly from harsh discipline to a caring environment. In reality, conditions and facilities varied widely. Many were simple warehouses, keeping the boys off the streets but providing little assistance to meets the often serious needs of these children. Other facilities were well-funded and did seiously attempt to assist the boys. Many of these facilities had uniforms although this is less common today.


Coutry Trends

Child care institutions varied from country to country. The basic typew of institutions (charity, health, school, and reforitories) are found in most countries. Their nature differs from country to country. There are also some institutions that are characteristic to specific countries. The appeosches, conditions, facilities, and operations at these institutions also varied from country to country. Also the chronological time-line for the development of these facilities varied over time.


Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main topics page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossary] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: November 25, 2000
Last update: 7:15 PM 4/9/2012