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Top Tips for Buying School Uniform


What you need to know if you’re buying school uniform for the first time

Here are a few things I’ve picked up when buying school uniform, especially for the first time.

  • Buy short-sleeved shirts – Even for winter, buy short-sleeved as opposed to long. Children seem to prefer no cuffs as they are more ‘free’ and there are no fiddly buttons. I prefer them as cuffs always get filthy and never come properly clean again. Short sleeved means that often you can get two day’s wear out of the same shirt
  • Velcro fastening/riptape collar shirts – No fiddly top button to negotiate. Marks and Spencer do velcro instead of a top button on shirts for children up to the age of 8
  • Two pairs of trousers or two pinafores is enough for the week – However, I’ve found that my girls need four summer dresses for the Summer term (they show up dirt more!)
  • Pinafore instead of a skirt – For girls, buy pinafores. They keep everything in place (no untucked shirts, which happens instantly with the skirts) and helps avoid canteen medallions on the shirt so you can often get two days wear out of the same shirt
  • Invest in heavier duty sturdy school shoes –  The far cheaper supermarket ones are very appealing, but they don’t last. They are however a good stopgap if your child has a sudden growth spurt and needs another pair but the timing is wrong for buying the ‘main’ pair. Startrite are a really good fit and very durable.
  • Buy velcro-fastening shoes – Much faster in the mornings and much easier for them to get changed for PE

  • When to buy school shoes – It might be tempting to get the shoes bought nice and early, but leave buying until the last minute. Childrens’ feet have a habit of growing fast in summer! New school starters will be back at school a week or two after the other children, so these in-between weeks are a great time to go as it’ll have quietened down in the shops
  • Plimsoles – You can definitely buy cheaper plimsoles. They get such light use in the first couple of years that it’s pointless buying expensive ones
  • Labels – Labelling uniform is essential. If, like me, you can’t be doing with sew on labels, invest in good iron on ones.

Please share any more top tips you have below…

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About Author

I’m Fran: wife, mother-of-three and freelance publicist. My love for communicating and writing mirrors my passion for trying to be the best mum I can be. I love good food & wine, Italian culture and football and have a keen interest in personal finance. I also blog over on Epsom & Ewell Families and Habyts, and write sporadically for a number of other sites.


  1. As a parent, the most effective cost option is to have children of the same sex so that serviceable items can be passed down the line. This also applies to bikes, skis and other sporting equipment. Twins do throw up a challenge however that’s why you should have twins first! I also like wine, good food and company.

    • Eldest daughter gets two of most items of non-uniform clothing in different colours so that they can be passed down 🙂 Her uniform has also been passed down so not quite so much to buy second time around. Definitely agree on the same sex situation – saves a lot of money 😉

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