*** Italian school uniform : chronology cronologia italiana del uniform della scuola 20th century

Italian School Uniform: Chronology--20th Century

Italian school smocks 20th century
Figure 1.-- Here we have a class portrait from an unidentified Italian school, presumbly a primary school. The children look to be about 10-11 years old. This would make them some of he older children at the school. They are 23 children which suggests about 160 children at the school, unless there are more than one class for each form/grade age group. The differences in the smocks here suggest that whilke the Government required snocks that it was up the individual schools as to details like color, length, design, collars, bows, and other details. Many schools like the school here decided on gender differences for the boys and girls.

We note Italian school trends similar to other European countries in the arly 20th century. The major difference from the rest of Western Europe was that Italy was a relatively poor country, especially southern Europe. Schools seem very basic, especially in the south of the country. This of course affected the ability of children to pursue their educations and how they dressed for school. A major change occured a few years after Mussolini and his Fascists seized control of Italy. We see Italian children wearing school smocks (1930s). The reason for this was the same reason smocks were adopted in France, to reduce differences between children in the public schools. This applied to primary schools, although some secondary schoools required girls to wear smocks. Children from poor families would not feel embarassed by better dressed children from more affluent families. We see most children wearing smocks in the 1930s and for several decades. These were variously colored smocks and wide white collars, sometimes with bows. Dark blue smocks seem the most common. Most boys wore short pants with smocks. Education as other aspects of Italian life were disrupted by Worls War II. The post-War recovery fueld by American assistance and European integrration transformed the Italian education system, especially in the south. Not only do we see increasingly well-equipped scgools, but school attendance reached levels common in northrn Europe. Smocks continued to be widely worn into the 1970s, but were no longer required by the Government. It was left up to individual schools, some of which continued to incourage their students to wear smocks.

The 1900s

The 1910s

We notice an image at a small rural school near the French border. It was at Cerlogne. Several of the girls wear smocks that seem to have been made by their mothers. The boys wear sailor suits and other suits. Boys wear both knee pants and long pants. The photograph was taken in 1918, probably while World War I was still in progress.

The 1920s

We see boys mostly wearing suit jackets to school, although this may have varied seasonally. At one school in 1922 we see most boys wearing suit jackets, the old type which buttoned at the collar. We see only a few boys with the newer style that had lapels. Most boys wore long pants, but we see some boys wearing short pants as well. Here we believe social class factors were significant. We see boys wearing boy kneesocks and long stockings. Benito Musollini and his Fascists began their take ober with March on Rome (1924).

The 1930s

We note many boys along with girls wearing smocks in school during the 1930s. We are not sure precisely when smocks were introduced. They do not appear to be so universal in the early-1930s. Our Italian school archive is not as common as several other ;large countries. Many of the school portraits we have obtained rom the 1930s show the children wearing required school smocks, both boys and girls. We can not say yet that the smocks were universal. We see some schools where not all the children wore smocks. They were, however, cerainly were very widely worn. There was not, however, one standard style or color. Also we note white collars abd smock colors varoed. One class photograph was taken about 1935. All the boys wear similar looking smocks, probably light blue, with white collars and white bows. All of the boys wear white collars, but there are some differences in the collars. As all the boys wear the same smocks they are clearly required. A portrait at another school in 1937 also shows all the childtren wearing smocks. One boy notably has tucked his smock into gis waistrband, wearing it like a shirt. This was, however, not very common. There muist have been some kind of nationl requirement for so many boys to be wearing smocks. But we are not sure just what the requirment and rgultions were. Italy in the 1930s was under the control of Benito Musolini's Fascists. There were differences from school to school, but most Italian children seem to have worn school smocks. There semes to have been no requirement as to what the boys wore with their smocks, although most boys wore short pants.

The 1940s

For some reason we have not yet found much information on the 1940s. The first half of the decade of course was dominated by World war II and then the very difficult post-War years while Italy recovered from the desestation of the War.

The 1950s

We notice many primary school boys wearing black or perhaps navy blue smockis in the 1950s. Often they wore them with wide white collars, many mothers added floppy bows--we believe red bows. This convention is so wide spread that we think nation-wide government regulations were involved, but we do not have details on the regulations at this time. Unless it was required we do not think that there would have been such notavle conformity. Most boys seem to wear short pants with their school smocks. Here I think this was just the fashion rather than beuing required by the school, but there may have been some variation from school to school.

The 1960s

Many Italian primary children in the 1960s wore dark school smocks. The boys mostly wore short pants. The girls wore dresses. The smocks commonly were worn with shite collars and small floppy bows. This varied somewhat from school to school. Most children came to school with xshoes, but there were still some children in poorer areas who came barefoot. Often there were some children who did not wear smocks. We are not sure just whu that was. The schools seemed to have tolerated some diversity. Bot all schools required smocks, but it was very common. Apperently it was a matter of individual school policy. We are not sure what role the Minidtyry of Education played. A few boys wore long pnts, but sjhort pants were more common. We do not see a lot pf children wearing knee socks, ast least when the weather was warm. Here there was sime seasonality.

The 1970s

The 1980s

Italian children were still wearing smocks in the 1980s. The school here is a good example (figure 1). The most common color was still blue. We note some children wearing white smocks. Some schools required them, but many schools did not. We believe that they were more common in rural areas than in the cities. Many public schools in the city did not require them. Schools that did rquire smocks still common used smocks with white collars and bows. Unlike earlier years, many boys wore long pants with their smocks.

The 1990s


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Created: 2:54 PM 6/29/2015
Last updated: 2:54 PM 6/29/2015