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Buying School Uniforms Made Easy

Buying school uniforms is one of the more unpleasant tasks parents face when it gets close to back to school […]

Buying school uniforms is one of the more unpleasant tasks parents face when it gets close to back to school time. Inevitably everyone goes shopping for the same thing at the same time, and your kids won’t be hugely keen on making it easier either. It can be harder if you have multiple kids in multiple schools, each with their own strictly laid out dress codes.

Fortunately there are a few simple tricks that will make the whole chore just that little bit more straightforward.

For starters:

Only Get The Essentials From The Official School Store
Many schools have an “official” uniform retailer, which they use either because they have a deal arranged with them or because they have very strict standards as to what students wear. Some items, such as blazers with the appropriate logo on, will be available exclusively through this retailer. However if you can get the same item elsewhere it’s worth shopping around.

It’s also worth checking to see if the school has an exchange program for old uniforms. Swap with the parents of kids who have grown out of their old uniforms or left the school. As you know, kids grow fast, so many of these uniforms won’t get much wear before they’re already too small.

For other items, check out thrift stores or cheaper department stores. It’s also worth having a look around at the online retailers, as frankly it can be easier than dragging sulky children around a clothes shop.

Just be very clear on what your school’s criteria is and make sure any clothes you buy meet it.

Buy Large
Like we said, your kids are going to grow, and grow, and grow. Make sure that whatever clothes you buy fit – you don’t want your children to be dragging sleeves along the floor behind them, but if you can find clothes that give them a little room to expand, then grab that opportunity with both hands.

Buy Early
“Early” here means “Not the end of the summer holidays”. You don’t want to be trying to navigate all those shops while a couple of thousand other flustered parents are doing the same thing. Get in there a couple of months early, but be sure to account for extra room for growth!

Pay Attention to What Your Kids Use
What kids think will look good in the shop and what they’ll actually wear are two different things. Maybe your kid will only ever wear short sleeve shirts, or never touches hair accessories. Don’t buy anything unless it’s the sort of thing you know your child is actually going to wear of their own accord, or you can end up paying for a lot of pristine-condition-never-worn thrift store donations.

For the same reason, be conservative when guessing how many of each item will actually get used. There are plenty of school uniform suppliers in Sussex and across the country and they don’t all shut down as soon as the beginning of term starts. If you begin to run low on anything it’s always possible to go back and buy some more.

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Sam Wright is a freelance writer who covers home and family issues.

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