Buying a new school uniform often marks a special moment in your child’s life, usually when they are starting school, or moving up to a higher grade.
Whilst the kids always seem to be counting down the seconds until they walk in the door after school and can change out of their uniform, wearing a school uniform does have its advantages. Everyone is wearing the same thing so there’s a sense of belonging and pride for their school. Plus you don’t need to think about what’s appropriate to wear and everyone is on an even footing.
Make the most of your investment in a new uniform with our buying tips.
Tips for buying a new school uniform
Your child’s school uniform is one of the biggest investment for the start of the school year, so check out our tips before you purchase.
Use what you already have
Do a stocktake of what uniform pieces you already have, either from the previous school year or from an older sibling. Give them a good look over to see if any are past their best or if there are minor repairs that can be made.
Be sure to check for the school’s latest uniform policy in case there are any items that are no longer used, or if a new uniform is required due to moving up to senior school, for instance.
Next, get your child to try on the items you have. This will confirm what you can use and also guide you as to what sizes they need for new items.
Consider what you really need
Think about which items will get the most wear. Day-to-day items like tops, shorts, skirts, socks etc will be worn a lot more than a jumper or the blazer that only gets an outing once in a blue moon. The daily items are the ones you will need more of.
Usually, there’s no need to get every item on the uniform list. Things like a scarf or beanie are nice to have but not necessary, especially if you know your kid won’t wear them anyway. You can also defer buying the winter uniform until you get closer to term two.
Think about the laundry!
Usually school shorts or skirts can manage a couple of days before needing to be washed. Tops, PE uniform, and socks on the other hand need to be washed after each wear – especially if your child has hit the slightly stinky teenage years!
Some parents manage with just two sets of uniform – one to wear and one to wash. However that really doesn’t leave you with a lot of leeway if your child spills their breakfast first thing in the morning on their only clean top! You also need to factor in how often you can/want to do laundry and, more importantly, how often you can get the washing dry. If you wash each and every day, then you will likely only need two or three sets. If you prefer to do a large wash on the weekend then you will need five or six sets (the sixth one is for that weekend when you really don’t have time!).
Often school uniform policies are very particular about the shoes that kids should wear so check the requirements carefully. Don’t be tempted to buy a size larger than your child needs in order to allow some room to grow into them. It’s important for your child’s comfort and development that they have correctly fitting shoes.
More tips on buying school uniforms
Some uniform items, especially those with a school crest or logo, you will likely have to buy from the school or their suggested supplier. However, if you can shop around for other items, here’s what to look for.
- Take your child with you when buying the uniform to check the fit – don’t try and guess the size unless you are buying additional items and know the size required
- Allow some room for growth in clothing items
- Look for items like shorts and skirts with adjustable waists to get longer wear out of them
- If you have the option, choose items that are made from durable fabrics
- Look for items that are crease-resistant, stain-resistant, and that they can move in easily
- Check and follow the washing instructions so you can get the most possible wash and wear out of the item
- Label everything!
Written by Julie Scanlon
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”