I need school uniform help - Mothering Forums
Learning at School > I need school uniform help
Raene's Avatar Raene 01:20 PM 03-05-2010
In the fall my daughter's school will require uniforms. I'd love advice from other moms as to how many of each thing I need and where I might find used uniforms online.

Note: my daughter's a girly girl, so dresses (jumpers) are definitely going to be one of her favorite things. We live in the cold so turtlenecks will also be necessary in the winter months (they're okay as part of the uniform).

We're on a budget so whatever would be minimal that we could get away with would be great. Any advice? Thanks!

blessedwithboys's Avatar blessedwithboys 01:29 PM 03-05-2010
not sure about finding used stuff...is this the first year the school is goign to uniforms? around here there are always posts on CL. does the school have a approved vendor? if not, i have found the best prices to be walmart.com, esp with site to store free shipping.

also, i have 5 full outfits for each child. i have friends who say no one will ever know if a kid wears the exact same shirts and pants each day, but in our family we like a fresh clean outfit each day. also, having 10 polos and 10 bottoms makes a full load for the washer which is greener anyway. we are in FL though and dont have add'l items just for winter (tho this yr we prolly coulda used them!)

milk_maker's Avatar milk_maker 03:47 PM 03-05-2010
With DS I bought five short sleeved polos and five long sleeved polos. He has three pairs of pants (I bought 3 size 4s and 3 size 5s) and he wears each pair twice unless they get dirty, that's what the third pair is for, just in case. I also went a little overboard and bought him five pairs of shorts. I should have stuck with three in each size like I did with the pants. He also has his PE clothes: blue sweatpants, white tshirt, and school sweatshirt.

When DD goes to his school I plan on hanging onto all of DS's uniforms so I won't have to buy as many because girls can wear the same clothes as boys, but I also intend to buy a few of the romper dresses and shirts to go under them as well as tights, just because those plaid jumpers are so darn cute!!

eta - The online supplier for DS's school is insanely overpriced. I actually got some awesome deals at Gymboree when the uniforms went to 40% off. I got the rest of his stuff at Target, but the Gymbo stuff is MUCH better quality and has held up to the frequent use and washing when compared to the Target clothes and at 40% off they were actually cheaper than Target.

You'll also have to get shoes, plain black for us, and I advise you to get two sizes at once so you aren't scrambling to find one color shoes in the middle of the year. I assure you, it is a PITA.
elmh23's Avatar elmh23 03:13 AM 03-06-2010
We got three jumpers, one pair of pants, one pair of shorts, four polos and one sweater. One of the jumpers and one of the polos stays as the school in case of an accident. We bought several pairs of tights, knowing they'd get destroyed sooner rather than later. My favorite ones are the cotton Circo ones from Target. They're nice and thick for chilly weather. Another thing to check out is that our school requires shorts to be warn under the jumper. Ask your school about this so you can stock up on bicycle shorts when they're on sale at the end of summer. I didn't know about this policy until after the sales and had to order online which cost a lot more (though I do love the brand I ended up getting, to bad they're $16 for a pair of shorts!)

ETA: With this system, I do uniform laundry on Tuesdays after school. This is just enough days that I can wash them all at once (I like to wash them separate from everything else) but also not have to buy 5 sets of uniforms.
squimp's Avatar squimp 03:29 AM 03-06-2010
Have you checked at the school? Our private school had a uniform sales rounder where people brought in their old uniforms, and you could buy pieces for $1 each. I seriously found $35 Lands End jumpers in very good used condition for $1.
noobmom's Avatar noobmom 11:54 PM 03-06-2010
I know Land's End sells uniforms and sometimes they have pieces on sale as part of their Overstocks.
zech13_9_goforgold's Avatar zech13_9_goforgold 06:53 AM 03-08-2010
My family (sibs and I) were poor and attended a uniformed school through charity. We had one pair of shorts, one pair of long pants, one uniform (school logo) sweatshirt (that we got out of the "missionary barrel"), one uniform skirt or jumper, one long sleeve dress shirt, and one short sleeve dress shirt or polo. Laundry was done once a week.

We weren't very unique in our school. Pretty much everyone's shirts were dirty by the end of the week. Now that we're in a devoloping country, torn and dirty uniforms are very normal. I wouldn't stress too much about how clean your daughter's clothes are unless she'll be attending a posh school.

Did you notice when you toured the school how clean or dirty the children's clothing was?

I think that we bought our uniforms at JC Penny because my grandparents sent school money.
ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 01:27 PM 03-08-2010
My dc had 2 short sleeved and 2 long sleeved shirts, and 2 skirts or trousers and 1 sweater, as well as a single gym uniform (shorts, t-shirts, track pants and sweatshirt).

Between the school uniforms, regular clothes, dh's business shirts, towels etc., I can usually make up a full load of laundry on any day. It means the uniforms are laundered a lot though, and they wear much more quickly - frayed cuffs and worn knees etc.. So I would recommend getting at least 3 tops and bottoms, and preferably 4 each. If they had been at the school longer (it was only about 6 terms), I would have purchased more. Otherwise they have to be replaced before the end of the school year anyway. Although, if you have children with big growth spurts, that's actually okay too.
calpurnia's Avatar calpurnia 01:53 PM 03-08-2010
I wore a uniform for secondary school. I had one skirt, 3 blouses, one jumper. I think that was pretty standard. But I hear Americans have a thing about cleanliness
meemee's Avatar meemee 03:56 PM 03-08-2010
are you going to buy them soon?

when is your dd's growth spurt?

i have to buy closer to when school starts. even if i buy in may or june dd outgrows it by sept.

for us since we dont do laundry so often, 5 works well. we do dresses and leggings. i like the dresses because they can become tops and we get far more longer use out of them.

in fact she even wears her clothes the day after if they are not too dirty after i air them a bit. for me i just feel comfortable having enough uniforms for my peace of mind. or else i will always have to keep track of it.

since my dd gets her clothes really dirty most of the time - ewww her socks specially - i dont buy her any whites or light colours ever as school uniform.

in winter i just add layers. however not too much because she gets really hot easily. so a sweatshirt along with a jacket.
mar123's Avatar mar123 03:57 PM 03-08-2010
My three kids have worn uniforms for school since they have been going--many years, LOL. Anyway, I abide by the rule of three. We have three of everything- shirts, skirts, etc, and we wash clothes on Wednesday and Sunday nights. At times, b/c of uniform swap, I have ended up with more than three of something, but that is not the usual for us.
Evan&Anna's_Mom's Avatar Evan&Anna's_Mom 04:46 PM 03-08-2010
We do uniforms for school and here are a few things I've (finally) learned after about 5 years of this:

1. I am OK doing laundry once on the weekends and once mid-week. Therefore, I tend to buy three uniforms as a minimum, though 4 gives me an extra cushion. Our school does a separate "dress" uniform each Friday and I only get one of those.

2. Buy minimal pieces until school starts -- just the very basic set for the first week or two. After that you will know what the kids are really wearing and what they aren't. For example, our school has a dress and alternative skort/top option. Virtually no one wears the skort/top so buying one would be really silly. Same with boys shorts/pants -- the boys never wear pants (its San Diego, what can I say) and I almost never buy a pair for DS.

3. Don't buy too far ahead if you are buying full price. Nothing is more annoying that buying uniforms that never get worn because they grow through 2 sizes in a month. On the other hand, if you come up with used in the next couple of sizes, snap those up because its not so bad if you didn't pay very much. In the future if you school does a uniform swap/sale, definitely look forward at that point. And if you school doesn't organize something like that at the end of the year, it might be worth the effort if you volunteered to.

5. Do stock up on the little stuff that will drive you nuts. For example, my children can only wear white socks. So if one gets lost in the laundry and I only have a few pairs I can find myself doing laundry for a pair of socks, or panicing in the morning over socks. Ditto hair bows and such if they are regulated.

6. Definitely stock up on bike shorts -- they get dirty and misplaced fast too.

7. Make friends with someone who's child is a size or two ahead of yours and/or someone in the next grade. Let them know you are open to hand-me-down uniforms. With luck they will call you first when they are ready to pass stuff down.
ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 06:02 PM 03-08-2010
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
We do uniforms for school and here are a few things I've (finally) learned after about 5 years of this:

2. Buy minimal pieces until school starts -- just the very basic set for the first week or two. After that you will know what the kids are really wearing and what they aren't. For example, our school has a dress and alternative skort/top option. Virtually no one wears the skort/top so buying one would be really silly. Same with boys shorts/pants -- the boys never wear pants (its San Diego, what can I say) and I almost never buy a pair for DS.
All of your points are really great advice, but especially this one. On the issue of shorts vs. pants - despite living in a brutally broiling climate, at dc's school, no boys over the age of 12 would wear shorts to school, except for gym. Shorts are for little kids. It's a great example of how local style/attitude will influence what's worn - even if there is a uniform.

The other debate was with knit sweater vs. fleece for cool weather. Although you could wear either, kids tended to pick one or the other - it was some kind of clothing code.
Raene's Avatar Raene 09:21 PM 03-08-2010
This advice is all extremely helpful; thanks so much!

We definitely are okay with wearing the same thing more than once, but DD is known to get stained up quickly Maybe not safe to have one of something, but two should be okay.

I think I'll go for 2 jumpers, 2 sweaters, 2 pants, 2 turtlenecks, and a skirt, and take it from there. Thanks!!