School smocks continued to be commonly worn in Italy through the 1960s. The dark blue smocks with wide white collars and floppy bows appears to have been particularly common. We also see light-colored smocks. Children began wearing smocks with long pants in the 1960s, but short pants were more common. Long pants were often worn seasonally. This varied somewhat seasonally. One Italian reader tells us that smocks were still theoretically required. We are not sure if there was an actual law or national Ministry of Education directives. Hopefully one of our Italian readers will know. Schools did not, however, send a child home if he or she showed up without a smock. So we see schools where only a few children were wearing smocks. Or even schools where non of the children were wearing smocks. There continued to be very poor areas, especially in southern Italy. We do not see smocks at the San Nicola village school in the early 1960s. This had largely disappeared by the end of the decade with European economic growth generated by the German Economic Miracle and European integration. Smocks were still common, but gradually declining. Some schools and teachers may have encouraged the boys to wear smocks in various ways. Here we do not have much informtion. Perhaps our Italian readers will recall their own school experiences. Most teachers and school administrators just left it up the parents. We thus see schools with some boys wearing smocks and other just their regular clothes. Here we see a typical primary school, this one at Noha in southern Italy (figure 1). Notice that the smocks are not required, but the boys wearing them all wear the same color and sttyle. Smocks with white collars were popular in Italy. Most of the boys wearing smocks have small bows with their white collars. We suspect that the boys were not to happy about the bows. Notice that only one of the boys is wearing his bow properly.
An Italian reader tells us, "As far I know, there were never laws or general rules about the dress code in the Italian state schools. Each school director with the teachers council can give rule for his school. Often the choices were the smocks.
In my school, close to Milan, in the 1960s, the rules were different for boys and girls. Girls: Grades 1 to 5: white smocks with pink bows. Grades 6 to 8: black smocks without bows. Boys: Grades 1 to 3: black smocks with blue bows.
Grades 4 to 5: short black smocks (as a jacket) without bows. Grades 6 to 8: regular clothes. Usually the pupils wore the smocks, but some (especially the boys) occassionaly came to school without the bows. In the same school nowadays in the 2010s the pupils of lower grades wear light blue smocks without bows. We boys had to wear bows only in the three lower grades. That was not the case in many other school, as can be see in many period photographs. I think that at age of 10 or 11 I would have not been at ease wearing a bow like thge little children and girls. Many younger of the younger boys took off their bows after the lessons ended and we headed home."
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