Have you commenced the annual job for anyone with school age children, the school uniform shop?!
Do you have little ones starting school this September for the first time? Are you wondering where to even start with their uniform?
Fear not! Mumbler has done a lot of the background work for you, creating a list of options for where you can buy your uniform, as well as handy tips from Mumblers on topics such as quantities to buy and how best to label your clothes.
What to buy?
Your School will have specific guidance about the uniform that is acceptable for students, so make sure you know what options you have (this is often sent out in the new starters pack, or may be available on the school website). Some schools offer quite a variety of colour choices making shopping much easier, if your school if quite specific about what to wear then it may be that only certain shops stock that option, so definitely worth checking before heading out to the shops!
Most schools allow the bulk of the uniform to be purchased without the logos (ie generic from supermarkets etc) this is much cheaper than buying the official uniform with logos from the school (once again check what’s acceptable). Some people buy just one ”official” top with logo from the school to wear for school photos trips etc, so you have that option if you wish.
For the bottom half:
Trousers / Skirts / Culottes / Shorts
For the top half:
Polo shirt / Shirt / Jumper / Cardigan
Pinafores / Gingham dresses / playsuits (yes, these are a thing!)
For the Feet:
School socks / Tights/ School shoes
Ok, so not technically uniform, but definitely required!
Top / shorts / socks / trainers or pumps
How much to buy?
This ultimately comes down to how often you want to be doing the laundry and how good your child is at bringing home what they took to school (see labelling section below!)
Advice from the Mumbler Experts:
I went with 9 t shirts, 4 trousers and 3 jumpers per child. It just made the washing not feel like a relentless task to be kept on top of especially as I work the end of the week.
My tip is to buy a top for every day of the week and then one as spare to go in their bag (as they get so dirty in reception) to save you don’t loads of washing/ ironing.
5 polo shirts (coloured rather than white if that’s an option), 4 trousers, 4 shorts, 3 jumpers.
I must admit I like to have 5 of everything so I don’t need to worry about washing and getting it dry in the week.
Where to buy from?
Of course you can mix and match from different shops, but here’s the most popular school uniform suppliers:
For “proper” shirts you can’t beat M&S non-iron.
My little boy started in Reception last year and I used asda for 90% of his uniform, all very good quality and quite cheap.
I use asda because the summer uniforms have a bit of polyester in, so they come out of tumble dryer and no need to iron! #lazy
I like Sainsbury’s uniform, I find they wash well and tumble dry well, and keep colour well too. School shoes I have bought expensive ones and cheap ones and my little girl seems to trash them and we end buying new ones every term.
Tried boys school trousers from every shop over the years and I found Tesco to be fab.
Matalan jumpers wash and wear really well and don’t shrink at all.
Definitely prefer the quality of these over the supermarket, and don’t mind paying a little bit more for it.
Just wanted to share that Aldi are doing school uniform. School skirts great quality, polo tops, blouses, tights and socks. Really good price.
Have bought a few bits from Aldi this year but they don’t seem as good quality.
My son has Lidl t shirts and they are still white after nearly a year.
John Lewis and Debenhams
Again, check the schools policy. It might be that they specify black shoes only or a certain style of school if not accepted.
Startrite have some bargain shoes if you’re lucky enough with the sizes, but I’ve also had Asda shoes that lasted a whole school year.
Clark’s all the way. It’s a must to get growing feet measured and fitted properly. Have tried Start Rite twice and found the fit wasn’t right for my son and my daughters shoes only lasted 6 weeks.. Clark’s shoes last a school year and their customer service is way better too if you have any issue.
See now I would 100% recommend Marks and Spencer especially for shoes over Clarks and Startrite. Sons lasted the whole year of reception and still look fine.i havent ever cleaned them and the rubberised toes meant no scuffs. They outlasted all his friends in startrite and clarks!
M&S shoes are amazing!
I got some from Asda which was scuff resistant and they was great
I used to buy the expensive ones for my lg and they were always scuffed within weeks. The last pair I bought her were from Sainsburys £15 scuff resistant and leather. Best ones we’ve had they’ve stayed in brilliant condition.
Other Purchasing options
Direct from the school: The official school uniform with logos is usually available via an order form through the school.
Uniform shop: Stevensons (67 Ber Street)
Second Hand uniform: It’s worth asking at the school if they stock this, or the PTA/Friends may do a sale.
This is a MUST DO task!
From a teacher’s point of view, it is SO much easier when we can see a name label as it means we can make sure it gets back to its owner…it also saves the parents having to trawl through the lost property mountain.
There’s plenty of options: labels (stick on / iron on / sew on), stamps or writing on with pens. Pick one and get busy!
Stikins – mine have lasted a year of washing, and still on, had hard work getting them off to pass the school clothes to my friends little one
Sticky labels are great and save sewing/ironing them in – we use ones from easy2name as our PTA get a % back.
Sharpie easy and quick to do uniforms and it does not wash off
Stamptastic – can find them on Facebook I think for a name stamp and ink pad. Bought one when James started nursery. Can literally stamp anything (even the inside of his socks!) and it doesn’t come out no matter how many times you wash. We also got name stickers from tinyme which are great for drink bottle/lunchbox/bags etc but we got them when they had an offer on and you only paid the postage. They are also really good. You get a lot in the set and they don’t scratch or come off in the dishwasher or wear out at all.
Stikins. Fab and so easy /no ironing etc.
Got our name labels from TinyMe (they were doing an offer online for free labels and I only had to pay p&p.
I enjoy sewing so happily use the sew in labels, I have different coloured text for each child as there isn’t much size difference but a quick glance at the colour helps me sort without hunting out the size label. I use the ones you can order via John Lewis and the writing has stayed as good as new.
So, I may be a bit late to the party on this one, but thought I’d share in case anyone else didn’t know about these playsuits. Sooooooooo much more practical than school dresses and no need to wear cycling shirts under them anymore. My daughter loves them (and it appears I’ve wasted money on her school dresses as I suspect she’ll just be wearing these now!)
The birds of Dereham sizes are so small and shrink! So always size up. Buy blue polos instead of white if your school allows as these are easier to keep looking bright and clean.
Always trousers on PE days because they can’t wear tights for PE so have to take them off, so trousers are easier.
Buy large – we’ll be going into year 2 with the school jumpers from Reception
Don’t forget summer dresses in case still heatwave in September.
Try click and collect from ASDA or Sainsburys- both have been a great service rather than trawling round all the branches.
Keeping those white polo shirts/socks white!
I bleach my boys whites. Hot water in my mop bucket and a good slug of household bleach.
The white polo shirts don’t last!! I get my son to take his off when he gets in and it goes into a bucket of nappy san with any other whites. Then goes in the wash when I’ve got a load together. The only thing it can’t contend with it’s tomato based pasta sauce!
I use Ariel bio liquid and a scoop of vanish gold for whites on a normal wash and they come out good as new. My mother in law gave me that tip!
Family of mine love Poundland’s pep&co, it washes up really well and cheap enough to buy in bulk so plenty of help with messy situations.
Wow – that’s a lot to take in!
Hopefully you feel well informed by the marvellous Mumbler Community and fully prepared to emabark on the mission of school uniform shopping.
Don’t forget to take the compulsory ‘back to school’ photo by the front door on the first day back! (We’d love to see them in the Norwich Mumbler Chat group!).