Argentinean children attending state-run schools don’t wear a uniform but a white smock similar to a lab coat. I had to wear a uniform to school (blue tunic, sky blue shirt, blue and maroon tie and sash) because I attended a private school but I secretly envied pupils who could wear anything they wanted under the white smock. The grass is always greener…

School children on a field trip

The use of the white smock was gradually introduced in the early 20th century in a few districts and then the rest followed suit. Initially, the central government considered the use of uniforms exclusively for private schools.

Teachers, authorities and school inspectors cons

idered the white smock an equalizer that promoted hygiene, decency and decorum. Through the years, this garment provided a sense of belonging and upward social mobility. Mothers took great pride in sending their children to school in spotless white smocks.

Nowadays, with the educational system somewhat devalued, the white smock sadly lost its aura. The upside is that students wearing it pay a cheaper bus fare.


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About the author

Ana Astri-O’Reilly is from Argentina, where she lived until five years ago. She currently lives in Dallas, USA with her British husband, but they move a lot. Previously a translator and English and Spanish teacher, Ana first started writing to share her experiences and adventures with friends and family. She speaks Spanish, English and a smattering of Portuguese.