School Uniform: The Low Down
If you’ve just had a child accepted to begin primary school this coming September a whole new world of clothing is ahead of you. Goodbye Molo and Katvig and hello grey and gingham. Navigating schoolwear over the last year has been a learning curve helped by the suggestions from readers on our Facebook page last summer.
Where to buy?
You’ll see Back to School promotions everywhere you turn at the moment and with school term not yet over you would be forgiven for thinking that it is too early to kit them out. Not so: come late summer the shelves will be half empty and you will struggle to make up their uniform especially if your school colours are not as easy to find. Get the staples of their uniform now and add to it later.
Recommended by our readers: Sainsburys, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Asda, Zara, Matalan and Next but no one source outright. It seems people shop around looking for the right cut and fit in each garment. I prefer to buy our uniform mostly second hand and a bit of eBay stalking has worked out well for us.
Clothes that last:
You don’t want to be replacing uniform before it has been outgrown (or until it has served all of your children) so making sure what you buy is of good quality is worth the effort.
Marks & Spencer and Asda get the thumbs up for trousers that last while Next is recommended for their adjustable waists (great if you have a skinny child).
If, like me, the idea of your child’s uniform being grown or made in unethical surroundings troubles you then look out for Fairtrade alternatives. The Fairtrade Foundation is running a Step Back to School in Fairtrade Cotton campaign. Watch the video and take a look at the stockists to find fairtrade school uniform this summer.
Marks & Spencer and Tesco are High Street sources for Fairtrade while we love Cotton Roots who will even embroider school logos on the clothing.
Make sure they can get in and out of the kit you buy (and the uniform they wear on PE day – summer dresses are tricky). Plimsolls with a velcro closure are easier for little hands than the elastic ones.
Playground games will pretty much do for the shoes you buy. Our reader Jennifer recommends weekly applications of five coats of scuffcoat while Abby says buy from John Lewis who will replace anything which doesn’t last three months (quality rather than size-wise). Loud and clear our readers said that Liquorice Laces are fantastic for school shoes. I’ve found Startrite Shoes have worked well for Milla this year which we buy from our local shoe shop, Parklife Kids.
Label everything: shoes, clothes, lunchboxes, bags, everything! We have had things go missing and found other children’s clothes in our wash basket. Milla even went out to play with no skirt on as it had gone AWOL after PE.
I order ours through eBay (and only use their surname so they’ll last all three of my children). Other options include: fabric markers on the labels, Easy Tags (as recommended by Kirstie Allsopp) or Stuck on You who have some funky options.
On the first day of term: take lots of photos, not least because it is the neatest they will ever look!
This list is by no means exhaustive – what are your top uniform tips?