Spanish Boys' Clothes: Late 20th Century


Figure 1.--

Spain is a big diverse country. But it is generally homogenous as far as childrenís casual and school dress but with perhaps wider boundaries of style than the American peer.After the 1960s short pants became much less common as most boys wanted to wear jeans. The American influence became increasingly evident. By the 1980s most Spanish children were wearing the pan-European styles of jeans, running pants, sweatshirts, and sneakers.

Background

It is important to remember that this country in 1999 was only 25 years out of a repressive Fascistic dictatorship. By the 1990s, benign but still affecting people's behavior. Poverty until the 1980s was widespread and clothing was the last thing on most peopleís minds, certainly the poor dressed in the most simple and useful clothes available. Spain is now developed and progressive country and many clothing trends reflect fashions in America and other European countries.

Spanish Trends

It is an accepted European stereotype, but with some validity, that a Spaniard will spend his last peseta to look like a million. This tends to hold true for all classes and especially in how they dress their children. Spain despite its recent development, is one of the mpst traditional countries in Western Europe. Spanish parents still have a great say in clothing purchases, certainly for special events and for younger children. The American influence is present, but simple jeans such as Lees or Leviís are not the everyday inexpensive dress of the children.

Hair Styles

Hair styles can be about anything from a crew cut to long hair for boys with bangs. Not as common though some boys, especially lower class teens, will experiment with close shaven hair with long thin strands coming out the front or sides. The norm though is a regular cut and certainly shorter in the summer.

Ears

Every little girl is mutilated at birth in the hospital with pierced ears. It is even more common than circumcision for American boys. A very few boys will have pierced ears but it is more a marganalized thing than a style statement.

Style

Spaniards, it is, are dress conscious to erase the memories of poverty and third world status of before. But French dress with style, Spaniards with money. A T-shirt will be a fancy one with colors or Disney symbols or stupid miss-spelled English statements. etc. Even though the country has the lowest birth rate in Europe and one of the lowest in the world, every main street will have fancy stores dedicated to baby and childrenís clothing. The area where HBC's Spanish consultant lives hosts two international conventions a year dedicated to childrenís fashion. Spain is one of the largest producers of childrenís clothes in Europe.

So when a Spanish boy wears pants, they are a bit fancier than simple blue jeans. Sweat pants with the usual big name brand are common for school and play. They spend obscene amounts for trainers though do seem more willing to wear simple leather shoes at times.

School Uniform

School uniforms for the private or religious schools are typically simple. A patterned blouse and skirt for the girls, solid pants and white shirts for the boys. The most prestigious schools will insist on a blazer as well. A very few will try more fancy patterns. The most that the public schools will insist on is a sports kit of shorts and white T-shirt.

Summer and Casual Clothes

RAP

When summer comes or the children hit adolescence, all rules are off. The older boys and girls become style clones of whatever RAP criminal is current. Black is the ONLY color allowed and the shoes have to be the most crippling for the girls and most expensive and outrageous for the boys.

Beach wear

The children who live on the coasts of Spain will switch to sandals or beach sandals and simple T-shirts and shorts. The bathing costume is skimpy since they are at the beach so often. The American-style bathing costume or surfer trunks are more common in the interior. Children up to ten or twelve will wear the swim suit even off the beach as a type of summer short.

Sandals

The sandals had not been as popular on the streets ten years ago, but with the arrival of the California sandals, as the nylon web and Velcro closure ones are called, has freed up childrenís feet a great deal.

Socks

Socks become rare in Spain during the summer for young and old. Because of the intense sun, baseball hats are common but still worn bass-akwards. Stylish sun-glasses are the norm for young and old as well.

Parental Influence

Wanted to make mention of several more points in how the parents have a larger say in how the children dress. Boys will not only carry umbrellas but use them. They will also wear a type of gum boot or Wellington in rainy weather. Another habit, especially for the upper-class, is to dress the siblings in identical outfits. So you'll see at times, two or three brothers of various ages in the same pants, shirt, or coat.

Formal Wear

For First Communions and Weddings, the younger children will be dressed in any fancy style the parents insist on. Lace callers and velvet, fancy hats and satin shirts for the boys at weddings is not unusual. The First Communion suit is a one time expensive sailor suit in white or blue.

Traditional Clothes

Boys and girls will dress in traditional costume for regional shows and dances but that is the only time they might wear the traditional costumes. Depending on the area of Spain, it might be a kilt-like skirt and long stockings in the Galician area in the north-west. In the Basque country of the north-east, itís a white bloused shirt with short pants and bare feet.






Christopher Wagner

histclo@lycosmail.com

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Created: December 29, 1999
Last updated: December 29, 1999