ADVANTAGES

I was at a school in the early 1960's which had a uniform policy, but it allowed either long or short trousers, so it was up to parents when you went into long trousers. At that time it was quite normal for boys to stay in short trousers until 13, or sometimes older. I myself did not get my first pair of long trousers until after my 14th birthday. We were not self-conscious about wearing short trousers because so many other boys did. And we were not cold in the winter. My school short trousers (grey, terrylene) came down to about one or two inches above my knee. Like all the other boys in short trousers, I wore long grey socks. I think they were woollen, they certainly must have had a high wool content. They kept the legs nice and warm, but had one drawback. They were held up by garters. My mother made mine from black elastic. Garters had to be just the right amount of tightness. If a garter was too slack, the sock would fall down. If it was too tight, it acted like a tourniquet. Also in the winter most of us wore a gaberdine raincoat which would come down below our knees.

In the summer we would wear casual shorts, though not, of course, to school. I can remember having some khaki and some of a blue cotton material. Only after going into long trousers and jeans did I appreciate the freedom which summer shorts gave. They were lighter and shorter than my school short trousers which was good for the summer, but it could give a problem with underwear. Some of us wore underpants similar to modern boxer shorts, but a little longer and baggier, and they were made of a softer and slightly heavier material than boxers. They were called interlock trunks and they were always white. They were very comfortable, but while they remained safely out of sight underneath my school trousers that was not always the case when I wore summer shorts. An ill-advised hitch of the shorts, or loose underpant elastic, would usually result in a band of white appearing below the hem of my shorts. During the summer months, on the estate where I lived I was an embarrassingly easy target for gaggles of girls who would chant
"London is in England, Paris is in France,
We can see George's underpants."

On the subject of blazers, although my school's uniform policy required a blazer with the school badge on it, there was an option to buy a plain blazer. Mum then sewed a badge, available from the school outfitters, onto the blazer. Most of us did this. You could spot the son of affluent parents. He would be the one wearing the "proper" school blazer.

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