Italian School Smock Popularity

Figure 1.--This is a class photo taken in a rural school, about 50 km north-west of Venice. We know that the children were born in 1945, so the photo could be taken in mid 1950s. All but one pupil wear the school smock. The boy without the smock wears however the collar. All the boys wear short trousers. We can't see the girls' clothing. Some boys wear shoes, some others wear close-toe sandals; only a boy wears open-toe sandals. We are not sure how popular smocks were in Italy. The uniformity here suggests that the school required the boys to wear smocks and even insisted on the same style, color (dark blue), and collar. But look how some of the boys have tucked their smocks into their pants. This suggests to us that they did mot like them very much.

We are not sure how popular smocks were in Italy. The extent of usage certainly suggests thzt they were popular with school officials and mothers. We are less sure how popular they were with the younger children, especially the boys. We suspect that when the school did not require smocks to be worn, that the mothers were the primary reason that the children wore smocks. Here we assume that the primary reason was that it protected clothing. Until after World wr II, Italy was a poor country and clothing took a greater share of a family's disposible income than is the case today. Getting children, especially boys to take care of their clothes, is a chllenge. Thus smocks were helpful here. They also cut down on laundry, another important concern in the days before laundry. We have no real information on what the children thought about wearing smocks.


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Created: 6:12 AM 1/20/2008
Last updated: 6:12 AM 1/20/2008