Living / 1 August, 2023 / Christina Walter
When your children first start school it’s very tempting to shop school uniform from the kit shop linked to the school. You’ll need to do this for items with your school logo on, but after that, it’s time to get savvy. You can find cheaper alternatives for the rest of your uniform shop.
With two children in primary school, I’ve learned from experience, so I’ve put together my must-read hacks for shopping school uniform.
The school will expect you to name everything your child owns so they don’t lose it, so it’s best to invest in a bunch of quality name tags. I recommend investing in labels that you can use on clothes, lunchboxes, bags and water bottles, lots of companies offer a complete set. Lots offer no-sew stick-on labels for complete ease and iron-on labels and transfers available too.
Starter Kit, Attach a Tag
EasyStamp for Clothing, Easy2Name
When it comes to shopping for uniform, some schools hold a secondhand/preloved uniform sale, so find out when it’s on and snap up a bargain. Kids grow so quickly, and spending unnecessary money on school uniforms seems silly when you can stock up on nearly new stuff direct from your child’s school.
The official kit store sizing can be a little confusing. My daughter is six years old, but she is still wearing a size 3/4 cardigan, while the next size up (5/6) only just fits her. Ask the official store if you have any queries on the sizes as they will know how it compares to the high street. If your kit shop is local, it’s worth a trip there to take a look at the sizes before you spend.
I recommend ordering three jumpers or cardigans from the official uniform shop. Then, opt for plain and cheaper alternatives perfect for those days when they come home covered in yoghurt in the last clean cardigan and you’ve got nothing for the next day.
Shop polo tops for younger children as buttoned shirts can be time-consuming especially if your little one has not mastered the art of buttoning up themselves yet. I would purchase these from a supermarket as they are a lot cheaper and generally come in a bundle of three or five.
You will get through a lot of tops as they tend to be a one-day wear, especially in the summer months when you’re applying sun cream. I would suggest investing in at least five so you have one for each day of the week.
Personally, I would not order any of these things through the official kit shop. They’re not branded with any logos so why not save some money and go with a supermarket brand instead? For younger girls, pinafores are great as they look cute and they’re also brilliant at protecting the polo shirt underneath at the same time.
Tip: The pinafores with zips are the easiest to get on and off.
Girls’ Adjustable Waist Stain Resistant Culottes, John Lewis
The first term starts right at the end of summer, and this can present problems when trying to prepare their uniform. It’s all weather dependent, so it can be hard impossible to know whether your chil will need their summer dresses and shorts, and by the next summer they may need the bigger size.
I would suggest initially, buying only two or three summer dresses or shorts, and keep an eye on the weather forecast closer to the start of term. I’d also recommend grabbing a couple in a larger size too, again via a high street retailer or supermarket.
Tip: Summer dresses with zips are the easiest to get on and off.
I would order a couple of tees from the official shop for PE so they have the branded logo. Some schools offer hoodies too which are great for both girls and boys, as cardigans can look a bit odd when teamed with their P.E kit.
Shorts and plimsolls can be sourced from the high street at such little cost I wouldn’t order those from the official kit shop. You’ll also be able to try the shoes on and make sure they fit comfortably.
Long white or grey socks are ideal for girls during the summer months as they not only provide a smart look but also offer comfort. During the winter, girls can opt for tights to keep themselves warm. On the other hand, boys should wear plain black or grey socks as part of their uniform. Additionally, both girls and boys should have sports or low socks specifically for physical education classes.
It’s worth investing in a decent pair of school shoes and I would always recommend getting your child’s feet measured as close to the start of term as you can. Their feet can grow a lot over the summer and you don’t want them going off to school with uncomfortable shoes.
Some retailers offer an appointment service that means you turn up at an allotted time and are seen very quickly rather than having to wait in a long queue. You can also purchase measuring gauges online and measure at home.
Many schools place an emphasis on outdoor learning, so make sure your child has a pair of wellies and a waterproof jacket and trousers that can be kept at school if needed. You’ll also need to think ahead to winter and stock up on scarfs, hats and gloves for any forest school activities.