Soviet school uniform: why doctors scold it

Soviet school uniform: why doctors scold it

Fortunately, neither I nor my children saw the times when wearing a school uniform was mandatory for all students. My school did not belong to the elite category, so the children went there in clothes that were comfortable and stylish for that time. But my sons, although they study in a good lyceum, dress according to their taste at the behest of the administration of the institution. What about me, what about children soviet school uniform terrifies.

If a school building from the times of the USSR makes you nostalgic, please do not be offended by my words. But I know something about the disadvantages of such clothes. First, I was fed information by my grandmother, who remembers her school life well in the 50s. Then I started digging further and came across comments from doctors who did not praise the Soviet school uniform in any way.

Fatal experiment with school uniform

In the early 1950s, researchers at the Institute of General and Communal Hygiene of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences conducted a series of experiments. One of these involved 600 children of primary school age. They wore school uniforms from 1948.

As a result of the experiments, Soviet doctors came to a number of interesting and at the same time alarming conclusions. In 1957, the magazine “Health” published an article with extensive criticism of school uniforms from the point of view of hygiene and practicality. The conclusions from this article were taken into account when creating changes to the 1962 school uniform.

But what complaints did Soviet doctors have about the school uniform of the 50s?

Why were Soviet school uniforms dangerous for the children themselves?

  • One size fits all. Probably the biggest complaint was that the school uniform in most cases did not fit the child. Already busy mothers had to hem, sew in, or even alter those pants so that they would at least somehow look good on the boy. And what can we say about a girl’s dress!
  • Belt strangler. Oddly enough, the belt was especially criticized. During the study, he was called a “strangler” by the doctors themselves. Doctors also harshly criticized the practice of children wearing two belts. This was critically dangerous for the health of the growing organism.
  • Poor quality collars. Or more precisely, hard collars, to which mothers of schoolchildren were forced to constantly sew white collars, like in the army. There was no talk about the child’s comfort here.
  • Unsuitable material for child. What adherents of Soviet school uniforms now boast about shocked doctors in the 50s. Woolen clothing, as it turned out during the study, was not suitable for children, whose bodies overheated more quickly than adults. Of course, current synthetics are no better. If you have the opportunity, give preference to cotton or linen.
  • Skin irritations and allergies. When creating the 1948 school uniform, it was supposed to wear underwear underneath, completely covering all the skin under the clothes. However, in most families after the war, the only underwear they had was panties and socks. That is why woolen clothes became a constant source of irritation and rashes on the child’s skin. The situation was complicated by the fact that in many families school uniforms were washed only a couple of times a year.

When the doctors’ indignation bore fruit

In 1962, they decided to abandon strangler belts, caps, metal buckles and badges. Thanks to progress and significant comments from doctors, the quality of materials has gradually improved. And already in 1973, the school uniform was changed beyond recognition.

To be fair, I note that the school uniform of 1948 was compulsory largely only on paper. After the war, many Soviet families, especially from small towns and villages, could not afford to buy a separate school uniform for their child. Granny remembers that her friends in the village went to school in the same clothes they wore at home.

My grandmother liked to remember that some families had their uniforms made to order. And it turned out to be much cheaper than buying ready-made ones. In addition, this made it possible to perfectly fit the clothes to the student. However, in the post-war years there were problems with custom tailoring due to a shortage of fabric. Therefore, then their school uniform was valued and cherished. For my parent, memories of school clothes only bring a smile.

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