The Way We were in the Isle – Part 161

Colin Ella. Picture: Liz Mockler E0856LM

Colin Ella. Picture: Liz Mockler E0856LM

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It is rare to see any young lad wearing short pants today and tots turn up at the day centres and playgroups with well wrapped legs, making them look like little old men.

In my school days it was precisely the opposite. The vast majority of pupils wore short trousers. In fact I left school at the age of fourteen in short pants to don longs for the first time a few days later as I started my first job.

At school we were very much at home in our ‘shorties’. Our legs relished the fresh air in all seasons although frequent applications of Vaseline soothed the winter chapping.

The short pants were cheaper than longs and needed fewer patches for repair. Braces and buttons kept us decent – no zips or belts. The shorts were handy for sports giving us freedom of movement.

They made us hardier too. Yes indeed bare legs were so much part of the thirties and forties but over the years as kids have had more of a grown-up atmosphere forced on them and they have been largely deprived of that beneficial erstwhile childhood the demise of short pants has been part of that change.

Any teenager in short pants today would feel an oddball.