Before the first day of school, there is another challenge yet to conquer: shopping for the whole school year in just a couple of days. You'll find yourself chasing all the offers out there to get the best school uniform essentials for your kid. You don't need to break the bank nor to buy all the things you can find out there.
This guide will help you to find out what clothing staples to buy for your schooler. Don't miss our life-saving tips on how to shop for Back to School clothes if you want to avoid headaches.
But First...What Are School Uniforms?
A school uniform is a standard style of dressing and it's quite common in elementary school, middle school, high school or college. Each school has its own guidelines and rules which are mandatory for all the students, without exception. Kids have to wear school uniform daily at school. They even have to wear it at special school events or occasions that take place outside the classrooms and regular hours.
Uniforms are different from school to school and that means they came in all kind of styles and colors. The most common clothing staples are polo shirts, khaki pants or knee-length skirts. Here's a great roundup from Huffington Post on what it looks like to dress for school around the world.
What Do School Uniforms Stand For?
Wearing a uniform is a common way to show others that you're part of an organization. In both companies and public institutes (schools, army, medical system) uniforms are quite necessary.
School uniforms stand for equality among students and sense of community. Moreover, wearing a uniform expresses the pride of being a student at a certain institution.
Uniforms help pupils and students to be more organized and encourage discipline. Having a common style of dressing serve the primary purpose of a school as well: helping students learn while they aren't distracted by other kids' designer clothes.
School Uniforms vs a Dress Code
Having a dress code is different than adopting a uniform in schools. While a dress code gives you the liberty in choosing your own clothes according to the school's guidelines, a uniform is more restrictive. A dress code may permit pupils to wear polo T-shirts in any darker color, while a uniform lets pupils wear only dark blue T-shirts, for example.
Kids can be pretty inventive and they'll all try to bend the dress code just to wear something they like once in a while. So it's harder to enforce a dress code in schools than to adopt a uniform.
Not having a clear set of dressing rules can easily become confusing for parents. They'll wonder what they should buy for their little ones. Is this yellow polo shirt permitted or should you buy a black one instead? This kind of questions is inevitable while trying to respect a certain way of dressing.
Pros and Cons of a School Uniform
There are lots of debates about school uniforms and everyone wants to know the same thing: are uniforms bad or good for the kids?
The teachers are generally pleased with uniforms and believe it's easier for the pupils and students to focus on the learning process rather than fashion. Still, there are lots of studies that had shown that wearing uniforms doesn't have any real impact on the students' academic results or grades.
Parents want to know why uniforms make schools a better place for their kids and what's the consequence of buying tons of uniforms staples for their kids.
Providing a bullying-free environment is one of the most powerful arguments. Spending a lot less money on fashionable items due to the social pressure is also a good thing, especially for poor families.
- Sense of belonging and school pride
- Increase student’s safeness
- Help to focus on education, not fashion
- Reduce bullying
- Improve attendance and discipline
- Restricts self-expression and creativity
- Bullying is not always clothes-related
- Don't improve school results
- Financial burden
- Difficult to enforce
How Does a Uniform Look Like?
A uniform’s style will differ from school to school, but usually, there are a couple of common clothing items that are evergreen:
- Polo/Golf shirt with long or short sleeves
- Trouser pants: khaki, gray, navy blue or black
- V-Neck cardigan with buttons
- V-Neck sweater vest
- Jumper dress
- Capri short pants in the summer
- School shoes - that are worn only at school
Clothing items for boys' uniform
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Find more Polo T-shirts here.
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Find more uniform pants here.
Polo Unisex shirts with long sleeves
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Find more Polo shirts here.
Clothing items for girls' uniform
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Find more skirts here.
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What School Shoes Should You Get?
Shoes for kids need to be functional and very comfortable. Keep in mind that this pair of school shoes is going to be worn almost daily, for a few month minimum. Quality should be your priority, even if often the kids care only about the latest trends.
Try to find a middle ground with your youngster, but don't sacrifice the quality over quantity. Don't buy 3 cheap pairs of footwear just because they're on sales and they look pretty, but instead, try to find one comfortable pair.
For this kind of shoes, you will want to pick a dark and solid color - black, dark blue or dark gray are the best options. They must match with everything else so a pair of electric blue shoes may not be the best choice.
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Sometimes a school uniform can feel pretty restrictive. Still, your kid has lots of great pieces he can choose from and that's the great part. There are countless mix&match possibilities. Check out more Back to School outfits for some more variety.
Besides shopping for uniform staples, there are a lot other stuff you should consider buying. Check out this Back to School Shopping Checklist & Guide for Busy Parents if you want to make sure you have everything marked.
When to buy school uniforms
Start prospecting the market and look for good offers and discounts during August. The best time to shop for school essentials is late August or at the beginning of September.
Pro tip: Avoid any last minute shopping sessions because you can risk not finding the exact items your little one needs. Remember the Back to School shopping sessions can be pretty exhausting and taking your time can prevent you from going insane!
How to buy school uniforms
Before hitting the stores make sure you get a full list of required items from the school.
Try to do your own list with the clothing pieces your kid already has stacked up in the closet. Buy only the things the kid doesn’t have yet.
You don't have to buy one polo shirt for each day of the week. Workaround what you already have and try to have a minimalist approach at first. You can always buy an extra shirt, but returning back the other 7 you have can be tricky.
If you want to skip those never-ending queues and agitation, online shopping may be a good option for you. There are lots of parents forums and discounts sites where you can find promotions or coupons, especially at this time of year.
Your kid can't try the clothes on before so this can be a disadvantage. But you can still return whatever products you think don't fit right or replace them in another size. Make sure the website you're ordering from has a return policy and read it closely. Checking out the website’s size chart is a pretty good idea as well.
How much do uniforms for school cost
Uniforms don't have to cost a fortune. You can choose affordable alternatives for the required pieces. For example, a polo shirt and a pair of trouser pants can be purchased with less than $25.
The price for a jumper dress for girls can vary from $17 to $30.
May sound like a lot at first, but the advantage of a uniform is that you can buy a couple of basic items that your kid will wear on a daily basis. The best thing? You don’t have to invest in any other clothing item for school and you’ll save some money this way. Think that you’re making a long-term investment which is going to pay off in time.
Going Back to School isn't a very pleasant thought for many kids, at least at first. But this isn't going to last very long because soon he's going to look forward to hanging out with his classmates.
It's your job to make sure your schooler is ready to begin an amazing school year. Be ready for Back to School shopping early in August and try to find the best deals you can find. With proper planning and the right attitude, this shopping spree can be a pretty exciting.
What's Back to School clothing staples you consider buying this year?