French School Uniform:  Regional Differences

Figure 1.--This photo shows a group of schoolchildren in Brittany, France, in early 20th century. The boys are wearing smocks. One boy has a schoolbag, while the girls are carring the books in their aprons. All the children took off their footwear, probably because it was more confortable to go barefoot than to wear wooden shoes. Only one boy is wearing socks. Notice how the children do not seem all that happy to be having gheir photograph taken. Our experience is that children this age love to be photographed.

France is divided into 18 administrative regions, including 13 metropolitan regions and 5 overseas regions. The most destinctive regions are probably Normandy, Brittanty, and Acquatine, at least in modern times. Alsace is also destinctive, but so much because of a French provimcialism, but because of the German influence. French educational and schoolwear trends largely emenated from Paris, both school policy and fashions. This was fairly uniform throughout urban France. The rural ares and provinces were a different matter. Several French provinces had aong history of destinctive culture, language, and clothing. School only entered into this in the mid-19th century as France began to build a public school system. This gradually declined as Paris became increasingly dominant the role of the provinces gradually declined. We still see significant differences at the time of World War I, but major declines after the War. We see more differences in girls' clothing than boyswear, but there were differences in both.


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Created: 10:45 PM 4/15/2018
Last updated: 10:45 PM 4/15/2018