School Uniform:  France

French boys did not commonly wear school uniforms, however, through much of the first half of the 20th century, elementary school boys wore school smocksover there clothes, giving the appearance of a school uniform.  Nothing like the elaborate school uniforms common in England developed in France.  While state schools did not have a school uniform, uniforms were generally worn in Catholic schools and at some private schools.  Unfortunately I have managed to collect very little information on French school uniforms.  I am hoping that a French visitor to this web site will eventually provide some interesting information.

Available information on French school uniforms includes:
State schools:    French elementary boys through the 1950s wore smocks to school, almost always black smocks.  I'm not sure to what extent the local schools or even local.national schools required this, but the practice appears to have been much to pervasive to have been left up to indivisual parents to decide.  The smock was generally worn with short pants and often a beret.
Catholic schools:  I have little information on uniforms instituted at catholic elementary schools.  Several private Catholic <"sock.html">

Figure 1.--Private French secondary schools often had uniforms consisting of sweaters, short pants, and white kneesocks.. 
secondary schools during the1950s-70s had uniforms of sweaters, short pants, and white knee socks.  The shorts and white knee socks became less common in the 1980s.
Private schools:  I have no infornation on private schools.  Many private schools were Catloic schools.  The extent of secular private education in France is unavailable.

Additional Information

Related Links: Careful this will exit you from the Boys' Historical Clothing web site, but both sites are highly recommended

Apertures Press International Project: Pictures at schools in different countries and a book on British schools
Apertures Press New Zealand book: New book on New Zealand schools in progress
School Uniform Web Site Informative review of British school uniforms with some excellent photographs

Christopher Wagner
Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Late 19th century] [1930s] [1940s] [1950s] [1960s] [1970s] [1980s]

Last updated: April 11, 1998