Italian Boys' Clothes: Short Pants

Figure 1.--The Italian youths, in a publicity photograph, are modeling the short pants that the Fascists decreed for boys iunder 16 during World War II.

HBC currently has very little information on Italian short pants, but hope an Italian visitor to HBC will provide details. HBC has received inputs from contributors in several different European countries, but has yet received any interest from Italy. I'm not sure why this is. Perhaps Italiand have more trouble with English than some other European countries. Or perhaps internet access is not common in Italy yet.


I believe that short pants first appeared in England. While small boys wore them before the turn of the century, they did not become widely worn until after the turn of the Century. I am not sure just when the style developed in Italy, but by the 1910s they were being widely worn by Italian boys. The length was knee level at first, but began to shorten in the 1930s and boys by the 1940s were wearing rather short cut shorts. During World War II (1940-43), Fascist authorities decreed short pants for boys inder 16 years of age. Italy's Federation for Male Clothing seclared that shorts were "Hyginic". More important, they required less fabric than needed for either knickers or long trousers. ["Italy at War." ]


HBC has little information on styles of short pants worn by Italian boys so far. Italian boys wore rather long short pants through the 1930s. Boys appear to have begun wearing shorther cut shorts in the 1940s anf this style was common through the 1970s. Longer cut shorts began to appear in the mid-1980s. Cuffs on short pants appeared in the 1990s.


We have very limited information on the types of short pans worn by Italian boys. We have relatively few images in the HBC archive and little written informtion. We note that Italy was one of the countries in which suspender shorts were commonly worn. We note that brief-cut continental shorts became popular after World war II, but the term was not used to descibed them. Sport shorts began to be popular in the 1970s.


No information available yet.



Italian boys commonly weore smocks to school. Boys wearing school smocks almost always wore them with short pants. I have rarely seen Italian boys wearing smocks with long pants until the 1970s.


Kneesocks were commonly worn with short pamnts through the 1930s. Short ankle aocks began to become more common in the 1940s. Some younger boys wore long stockings with shorts during the winter theough the 193os, but this was not common by the 1940s.

Youth Organizations

Italian Boy Scouts, like other European Scouts, wore short pants uniforms. Musolini's Fascists forced the Scouts to cease functioning and replacec them with their own youth movement the Bailial in the 1920s, even though the King's son was an avid Scout. The Fascist youth movement also has short pants uniforms.


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Created: February 8, 2000
Last updated: December 18, 2003