Figure 1.--Girls in the foregound and boys in the background are shown here wearing the two styles of white school smocks.
Bolivia is one of the Latin American countries where school children wear smocks. As in Argentina and Uruguay, the children wear white smocks. I'm not sure why these three countries have selected white smocks. Nor do I know about the situation in neighboring Paraguay. The girls wear back buttoning smocks with small Peter pan collars. The boys wear front buttoning lab-type styles. I have very limited information on Bolivia and do not know how extensively the smock is worn country wide. One report suggests that they are worn in even the most remote villages. One visitor in 2000 went to a school in a high, remote village of 55 inhabitants, who may never have seen Europeans before. Their huts had no windows, there was no electricity or running water, yet all the children sang their National Anthem in immaculate white smocks. A father in Cochebamba reports, "Each morning our neighborhood becomes a flurry of children racing off to school, wearing the standard school uniform of a long white smock (called "guarda polvo" or dust protector). From pre-schoolers to high-schoolers, they tear down the hillside, their white smocks flapping in the wind like a flurry of ghosts in the morning sun." An American working on solar eclispses gave a talk to a Bolivian school. He reports "Most of these children were 12 years of age or younger. All of them had identical white gowns or smocks over their regular clothing. I had never seen this type of uniform in person before I'd gone to Bolivia, but I sort of liked the idea of this type of school uniform."