What To Look For When Buying A New School Uniform

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!).

School shoes

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!

her world julieWritten 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”


  1. SarahBlair 08/03/2020 at 4:22 pm

    School uniforms are so expensive and generally you need the ones with the school logo embroidered onto it so buying them from the Warehouse is unfortunatly not an option. This year we didnt have to spend too much as we moved halfway through last year so bought uniforms for four kids then, it cost us about $1000!

  2. Alezandra 07/03/2020 at 9:23 pm

    I didn’t realise that you can purchase uniforms at the Warehouse. My son is starting school soon and it seems like the requirement is to purchase it from their supplier. Uniform prices are quite expensive so it’s something to make sure to plan when it comes to budgeting.

  3. Mands1980 04/03/2020 at 8:38 pm

    I find just about every year I need to purchase new uniform for one of the three kids, This year I also needed to get another school blazer which luckily I found a great second hand one otherwise they are $280 new. Uniform expenses all adds up my children seem to be growing so fast so therefore need uniform often. Plus there is new school shoes and sneakers every school year as they are either worn well or too small.

  4. Jen_Wiig 27/02/2020 at 1:49 pm

    Man I wish my 3 uniforms could be brought from the warehouse or the likes. But no all had to purchased at the school, I got lucky and found 3 shirts for the price of 1 new one for my high school aged on a Facebook group but that was it everything else brand new and I just brought the lot both winter and summer a couple sizes up. I didn’t have the option to use hand me downs as both primary and intermediate decided to change their uniforms so had to buy all 3 all new.
    School shoes ill happily pay more for as I have 3 active lads they need a decent solid robust comfy shoe.

  5. MuddledUpMolly 26/02/2020 at 10:22 pm

    Our son is in year 6 this year and won’t be needing a uniform until year 9 but I remember how expensive it can be and it would be great if his future high school allowed uniform purchases for basic items from places such as the warehouse.

  6. Micht 25/02/2020 at 9:50 pm

    Uniforms are definitely very expensive and if we can make a dress or PE clothing stretch for longer we do… luckily though our school has a little uniform store that sell secondhand and allows us to sell off things my daughter has outgrown. Very handy and proactive…

  7. Shorrty4life1 25/02/2020 at 11:25 am

    Great read. I always definitely think about how many items they need per week and go by that as my purchase. My kids have two t-shirts, two Jersey’s, 1 polarfleece for winter and two shorts and two pants and I believe thats enough. I buy second hand from school office for a donation as I believe the kids grow so much these days so its a lot cheaper and less stressful this way

  8. Bevik1971 19/02/2020 at 10:32 am

    My daughter is in year 3 and her school doesn’t have a uniform. It won’t be until she leaves this school after year 8 she will need a uniform. I do remember with my son who had a uniform from primary right through how expensive it was! Depending on the school though there are cheaper options now.

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