Smocks were worn by Spanish school children. They appear to have been primarily worn as school uniforms. Spanish school children were commonly wearing smocks by the 1930s, although I am not sure when this paractice first began. Many elementary schools do seem to have required them, but I do not know if there was a national rule. Young kindergarten age children still commonly wear smocks in Spain. It is no longer common, however, for older boys to wear them--but some still do. A Spanish contributor to HBC in 1999 reported seeing school boys about about 7 or 8 years old still wearing the smocks over their street clothes. There were regional differences in Spain. Catalan schools in particular had destinctive styles. One Spanish contributor reports that boys in a small town near Barcelona wear a front buttoning smock with a brown belt. Normally the whole of Cataluna wears the very same type at school, white with blue stripes and blue collar, pocket and cuffs. I still, however, have little information on Spain. It is no longer common for older boys to wear them--but some still do. Spanish contributor report that school smocks are still worn at many Spanish schools, especially private schools.
Smocks were worn by Spanish school children, both boys and girls. They appear to have been primarily worn as school uniforms rather than around the home. While smocks were extensively worn by school children, we have no indication that they wer extensively worn by children at home. HBC has, however, too little information to draw any conclusions.
HBC is not sure when Spanish children began wearing smocks. French boys were wearing them to school as early as the 1870s, HBC is not sure at this time just when Spanish boys began wearing them. Nor do e know hat the fashion influence was. Presumably it was the French inluence, but we can not substantiate this. We do know that Spanish school children were commonly wearing smocks by the 1930s, although I am not sure when this paractice first began. Thy may have been worn substatially before this. Many elementary schools do seem to have required them, but I do not know if there was a national rule or government regulations. Nor do we know if the changing regimes (royal, republican, and Fascist) had any impact on the wearing of smocks in Spain.
We have at this timevery limited information about styles of Spanish school smocks. This is primarily because we have virtually no information about early Spanish school smocks. We do have quite a number of images of modern school smocks. We note both front and back buttoning smocks. The older boys generally wear front buttoning smocks, mormally with collars. The younger children mor commonly wear back-buttoning smocks, often without collars. Sometimes the smocks have a open hed opening. Some appear to almost have drawstrings to kepp collasless smocks closed. We have not noted smocks worn with white colars, but beloeve they may have been worn earlier. Children no longer wear bows with their smocks, but again they have been worn earlier.
HBC at this time has only limited information on the colors of Spanish school smocks. We believe that many Spanish school uniforms were white or light colored in the inter-war period. We notice that Spanish schools wear a wide variety of colors in school smocks. We have noticed white (or very light colors), grey, brown, blue, pink, and other colors. Many are checks and stripes rather than solid colors. Some schools use the same colors for boys and girls, adopting stylistic differences rather than colors to differentiate boys and girls. Other schools use colors to diffrentiate boys and girls.
HBC does not know what age boys wore smocks in the late 19th or early 20th century. In France boys wore them into their early teens. HBC does not know if the same was true for Spain. Today young kindergarten age children still commonly wear smocks in Spain. It is no longer common, however, for older boys to wear them--but some still do. A Spanish contributor to HBC in 1999 reported seeing school boys about about 7 or 8 years old still wearing the smocks over their street clothes.
There are important regional differences in Spain. As in other European countries, these differences are gradually becoming less significant. They are still, however, important in some areas, especially Catlonia and the Basque country. These differences are reflected in many ways, including language. The use of school smocks is one of the many smaller differences. Catalan schools in particular had destinctive styles. One Spanish contributor reports that boys in a small town near Barcelona wear a front buttoning smock with a brown belt. Primary school children normally in the the whole of Catalonia wear the very same type at school, white with blue stipes and blue collar, pocket and cuffs. In many other parts of Spain, smocks are most common in private schools. In Catalonia, they are widely worn in public primary school. Some of the stylistic detailing is destinctive to Calalonia. Often the collar, pockets, and belt (usually for the boys) is a contrasting darker color than the smock itself. Unfortunately at this time HBC has little information on the school smocks wore in the rest of Spain.
HBC is unsure if there were gender differences in the school smocks worn by Spanish children durin the early 20th century or during the inter-war period. We do note that currently there are gender differences in school smocks. We are not sure when schools began to differentiate the smocks of boys and girls, but t is now very common. Some schools for very young children do not differentiate the smocks. Usually schools for older children do differentiate smocks between boys and girls. These smocks can be differentuated with either color or style. Some schools use both colors and stylistic differences to set apart boys and girls.
Several words in Spanish can mean "smock". HBC is not familiar enough with Spanish to really comment on which is in current use or was used historically. In addition there may be differences among countries. Here are sone Spanish words that are used. Note that all these words are from real castilian, but their respective use could differ from province to province in relation to their other local language in Catalonia "delantal" or "bata" would be widely used whereas in Valencia "baby" is more common.
Baby: Corresponds to the Englisg word "smock," a garment covering entirely body down to the knees, word linked to women's dress with protective notion, but really used for both genders. HBC is not sure about the etemology of this English word. It would seem to suggest a garment suitablr for an infant.
Bata: A HBC reader who teaches school in Barcelona (Catalonia) reports that "bata" is the most common word for a school smock in Catalonia.
Blusa: Blusa is the Spanish word for "blouse". In terms of smocks it is more likely to be used for laboratories, medicals etc.
Delantal: Corresponds to the English word "apron", a garment covering only front. The Spanish root being "delante," in front of. HBC has noted this word used in Sanish-language internet sites for school smock. HBC was not always sure in what country the site described. One Chilean site, for example, used "delantal".
Guardapolvo: Interesting word meaning dust protector, could be used to describe garment worn in a factories environment. It corresponds to the french word "cache-poussičre" exclusively used in Belgium.
Mandil: Stated in sonecdictionnaries, but HBC has no idea if of common use.
There are three kinds of schools in Spain. As in other countries there are private and state schools. There are also a kind of semi-private schools called " escuelas privadas concertadas ". These schools are similar to private schools and parents have to pay a monthly fee. The schools are not entirely private, however, because these school receive some government funding. To obtain goverment funding, these schools have to comply with certain conditions. We are not sure at this time how the type of school affects school uniform s or the adoption of school smocks and have only limited information t this time. One reader tells us that smocks are more commonly used in private than public schools.
Smocks are most common in primary schools, but some private secondary schools also use them. A Spanish reader tells us, "The students in private schools often wear uniforms under their smocks. They come to school in their uniforms and put on their smocks when they arrive in school. In some schools, especially the older children, the children do not wear smocks over their uniforms." [Soler]
Spanish schools very as to the regulations concerning smocks and school uniforms. The most common such regulation concerns school smocks. We notice that smocks were common in some countries, but often there wa no uniform smock. This was the general pattern in France. Other counties required smocks and had a uniform style. This was the general pattern in Italy. Spanish schools appear to primarily require that a smock be worn and that it be a uniform style. Unlike Italy, however, there is no single national style. Rather each indiviidual school appears to decide on the spicific rules.
We have little information on what Spanish children think about their school smocks. One Spanish mother writes us, "La popularidad de las batas en los niņos de se va perdiendo poco a poco a medida que los niņos y niņas se van haciendo mayores." That means, "The popularity of school smocks with the children declines little by little as the children get older." Another mother tells us, "I believe that the smock is a very practical garment for school. As a child I wore smocks to school from age 3 to 18 years. I believe that smocks help instill descipline in children. My daughter does not mind wearing a smock to school, but does not like the idea of a school uniform. I am sure that girls ar much more influenced by fashion than boys. My daughter wears a smock to school. She has never complained, probably because her friends, both the one going to her school and those going to other schools, also wear smocks to school. The smock is a garment designed to protect clothes. My son sees his school uniform as a normal way of dressing for school which in a way reinforces his masculinity. His father goes to work dressed in a suit and necktie. He does not much like to dress in a smock since he has begun to look on it as a little girlish He does not complain though, probably because this is the last year he has to wear a smock all the time. At age 15 the boys only have to wear smocks for classes like science or art in which their clothes might be stained." [Soler]
A HBC reader comments that it is interesting to note that in many Spanish scghools, especially in Catalonia, the teachers is also wear a smock of about same style than
pupils. This appears to be especially true in the nursery schools and classes for younger children. Apparently it's not their choice but a rule of the school.
HBC readers have provide images of actual smocks worn by Spanish school children. The images we currently have are modern smocks from Catalonia, but ww will also archive any images of vintahde socks we may receive here. These images often offer more details about the garments than are available in portrit and school images.
We will archive information here from our Spanish readers.
A Spanish mother has provided some information about school smocks. We have added this informatin to the various pages in our Spanish school smock section. Here we are posting it in Spanish as the English language pages may be difficult to read.
Soler, Esther. E-mail message, December 7, 2003.
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