The Best Tips for Getting School Uniform Ready

It may seem a bit crazy to be talking about school uniform right now when some schools haven’t even broken up for the summer holidays yet.  The scale of preparedness will be wide at this moment in time because some of you will have already taken advantage of the sales some shops like Sainsburys, ASDA and M & S (to name a few) have had on, and some of you will just be counting the hours until the holidays begin, not even school uniform any thought whatsoever.  Wherever you are on that scale, these tips will help you achieve uniform success for starting school in the autumn.

Before Buying

If your child is starting at a new school, it’s best to get a list of the specific uniform that is required.  Some items may need to have a school logo while others may not, and it’s good to know these things in advance.  Be mindful that branded uniform that comes from a recommended supplier can take quite a long time to be delivered so definitely think about getting this ordered as soon as possible.

Taking a few measurements of your child can help you decide which size is the best (waist, chest and height).  That way if your child is not with you when you are buying items, you will still have the measurements to help get the sizes right.  Having this information stored in your phone will make buying items a lot easier as not all uniform comes in standard UK sizes. 

If your child is continuing at the same school, it’s a great idea to make a list that includes the following:

-every single clothing item that is needed (right down to vests and pants)

-how many of each item needed

-the current size and brand of each item

-whether you were happy with size and brand of each item

-how many of each item you already have

-how many of each item that you will need to purchase

Have your child try on everything will give you a clear idea of what is starting to get a bit snug, anything that has holes or tears and items where there is still room to grow.  Put a bit of fun music on, and make a fashion show of it, if your child is up for that.  Some of you might be concerned that your child will grow over the summer holidays, and then the items will no longer fit.  It’s generally advisable that it is safe to buy most items early, but if you are worried, you could hold off on buying trousers, pinafores or dresses until closer to the start of the term. These clothes will be the most noticeable if they are too small. 

There are a few things to consider when you are deciding how many of each item to buy, and this is all down to each individual child.  Is your child usually fairly tidy or really messy?  Are they forgetful, and some things may go missing? Or is your child accident prone and more likely to get holes in the knees?  Knowing this information will help you to decide the right number of each item to get for your child.

This next one may seem a bit unusual, but it can make a really big difference to how smoothly your mornings run once the school term is underway.  As your child is trying things on, ask them if each item feels comfortable and if they are happy to wear it.  There is no point in finding out in September that your child’s daily school jumper feels itchy, and they refuse to even put it on!

Once you have decided what fits and stays and what is not going to work anymore, you have a few options of what to do with the old school uniform.  If you’re packing it away to pass onto the next child in line, place it in a labelled box or bag with the sizes on the label.  This will make it so much easier to find what sizes you need in the future.  If you have items that you won’t be using again, there are a couple of different places that you can offload them.  If you want to sell them, your best bet is on Facebook Marketplace, Ebay or Facebook Groups for specific schools.  Donating them is also a good option.  Lots of schools nowadays will collect in old uniform to re-sell at preloved sales or to pass onto charities in other countries.  There is also a chance that your area will have local schemes that collect good condition uniform.

Saving Money Tips

Did you know that 63% of parents believe schools are putting too much pressure financially on households with all the specific requirements for uniform?

That is a big consideration, especially at the moment, with the prices of just about everything skyrocketing so before you go ahead and start handing out cash for that school uniform, here are a few ideas of how to save a bit of money. 

As mentioned above, most schools have started reselling good condition used uniform at pre-loved sales.  This is good for two reasons: 1) it saves you money and 2) it raises funds for the school in most cases.  Win, win! Although this won’t help you at the beginning of the year, you can keep this in mind when buying new.  Instead of buying everything new, perhaps you could buy a few items to last until a school sale, and then see if you can get the rest at a bargain price. 

The amount of uniform you decide to buy depends a lot on your family budget but also, how much washing your family does and how often they do it.  The bare minimum amount to aim for is two sets of each item that is part of the uniform in case one does get messy or is in the wash, but ideally, you would have three sets-one to wear, one to wash and one spare.

Now you’ve decided what you’re buying and how much of each piece, there are few ways to try and get the best wear out of whatever you buy.  If you can, go for dark coloured socks because they last longer than lighter ones that show the dirt quicker.  Scuff resistant shoes are a bonus as children tend to be pretty tough on these items.  Something else to be noted when it comes to shoes is to get ones that your child can fasten themselves.  Buckles and laces can be quite fiddly for most children so go with something much easier like Velcro. 

Adjustable uniform is a wonderful invention (if only they did this for adult clothing)!  Whenever possible, buy clothing that can be adjusted at the waist and even sometimes at the hem of trousers.  If you really want bang for your buck, you could buy the top half of the uniform one size up. Rolling up cuffs is perfectly acceptable!  For children that wear tights, why not try buying a size up?  This makes them so much easier to get on and off.

One final tip that helps if your child wears a school blazer.  In this case, it’s wise to buy their coat one or two sizes too big so that it will fit over top of the blazer.  This will keep them nice and toasty on those deary, winter days. (That’s if you can get your pre-teen or teen to even wear their coat!)

And don’t stress about the stains.  There is nothing that says you need to buy brand new uniform every time your child gets something on their clothing that won’t come off in the wash.  Keeping a child pristine is almost a full-time job in itself, so give yourself permission to go for a more achievable goal, just clean is perfectly fine.

Buying Tips

This is related to what was just mentioned above, but allow yourself to only buy items that absolutely need to be replaced.  Before you head to the shops, ask other parents at your school if the sizes of the logo uniform come up big or small or just right.  This is another way to get closer to acquiring the best possible outcomes for your child’s uniform.  An additional task to do before heading off to shop is to make a note of your child’s current sizes in your phone.  This way you will have a much better idea what to get if your child isn’t with you, and also, if there are any obscure sizing options, whatever you get only needs to be the next size up.  And don’t forget about booking an appointment ahead of time if you are trying to buy school shoes.  Those shops become super-chaotic just before the term begins, so if you want a shot at actually buying these items, book in advance.

Finally, you’ve made it to the shops!  Let’s go and get some uniform! For each item that is on your to-buy list, check out the laundry instructions before you buy it.  So many things nowadays are non-tumble dry, and if that cramps your style, then you need to know this before you put your cash on the table.  Once you’ve paid for your purchases, keep your receipts in a place you’ll be able to find them in the future, especially for shoes, in case anything goes wrong.

Making Uniform Life Easier

Certain types of uniform will be better suited for some children.  For instance, if you have a very active child then buying trousers with reinforced knees will help them to last longer.  For younger children, anything that just pulls-on is much easier for little hands to get on independently, and for long sleeve shirts, go for something with an elasticated wrist instead of buttons.  Many shops are now adapting uniform to support children with sensory needs to include things like easy fastenings and softer materials, and making sure there are no scratchy labels, zips and buttons.

Want to make those pesky mismatched, unpaired socks a thing of the past? Opt to buy the same style and colour socks for your child to use the whole year round.  If you have more than one child, you could choose to buy a certain brand for each child to help with sorting later.  Want to do less ironing? Choosing non-iron uniform will achieve this for you.

This one might seem a bit odd, but it goes a long way to ensuring that your child’s items actually come home.  There is never a guarantee that this will happen, however, you can try.    Make a point of talking about special marks and features on your child’s clothes, shoes and lunch boxes so they know which one belongs to them.  Finding out where the lost property is for your child’s year group can be really useful, so when they lose something, they know exactly where to check for it themselves.  It’s also helpful for you to have a look through lost property once a term.  Unknown lost items have been seen to resurface!

Another way to improve your chances of getting items to return home is to label everything!  Everything! Hats, gloves, water bottles, shoes, tights, vests-you get the idea.  There are so many options of how you can label things on the market.  You’ll definitely be spoiled for choice.  Stickers, stamps, Sharpie pens or sticky labels are a few of the options.  If you’re using a Sharpie but have items with a dark fabric, invest in a silver pen to do this job.  Tapes that iron on can be quickly and easily stuck on using a hair straightener.  Labelling items with just the last name of the child means that items can be easily passed on to another child in your family and still find their way back to you if misplaced.  For expensive items like school blazers, put labels in lots of unusual places like inside pockets.  This can make it easier to claim things back that have accidentally (or deliberately) been take home by someone else.

One further thing to note is that if your child is wearing second-hand or hand-me-down uniform, it’s best to remove any labels with the name of the previous child.  This makes it easier for anyone that finds something to get it back to its current owner.

So, there you have it-plenty of ideas for getting school uniform not only ready for September but managing to do this successfully, too.  Happy shopping!


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