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How not to buy school uniform

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Buying school uniform is fraught with difficulties at the best of times. In my experience, my daughter, Helen, will tell me she wants skirts when in fact she wants dresses. Either that, or at her insistence, I’ll buy something with button fastenings when zips would be better.

school uniform, unofirm, shopping, children, school, schooling
I looked something like this after visiting the 500th store looking to buy some school uniform for y daughter.

Another classic mistake is to buy something for the age above, as Helen is quite tall for her age. For some retailers, this approach works well. For others, Helen is left looking like she should be in the rock band Talking Heads (for those of you under the age of 73, here is a YouTube video of Talking Heads that may help explain the reference).

This year, however, I have excelled myself…and not in a good way. You see, I left buying the uniform to the last minute.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I ordered all the embroided and school-specific items well in advance. When it came to the generic items, I failed miserably.

With several days to go until the start of term, I simply assumed that I’d be able to swan into any old store, especially one of the major supermarkets, and find at least a couple of shirts and skirts or possibly even trousers in the required size and colour.

Oh sure, it would have been easy, if, that is, my children were aged between 12 and 15. Every store I went to was swimming in uniform for teenagers. When it came to primary school kids, most of the uniform had sold out.

I recognise the issue here. In previous years, I have purchased all the school uniform at least a month in advance. In fact, I once recall inadvertently laughing in Mrs Adams’ face when she suggested putting off buying Helen’s school shoes until early September. This year, I was the one being laughed at.

Having been super-organised on previous occasions, I’d never really encountered any problems buying uniform. I’d lulled myself into my own sense of security. I knew I as leaving it late. Even so, I should be able to get enough to tide us over for a couple of weeks until I could do the job properly. Or that’s what I thought.

Well people, let me make clear that life isn’t quite that simple. Yes, I’ve managed to put together a rough approximation of what Helen should be wearing.

Look closely and you’ll see her shirts are not uniform compliant and a touch on the large side. She’s also had to wear trousers instead of a skirt. That said, she seemed to be quite keen on trousers and, completely involuntarily, remarked that she would be able to do cartwheels without revealing her underwear to the world. Fortuitous, considering I wrote this blog post just a few months ago.

After three years of buying school uniform, I should have stuck to my tried and tested method and bought well in advance of the start of the school year. Rest assured I won’t make the same mistake again.

Can you relate to this? Have you messed up buying your child’s school uniform? What hints and tips do you have? Please do leave a comment below.

7 thoughts on “How not to buy school uniform”

    1. Oh the cartwheel test is vital in my opinion. I feel so sorry for girls, expected to wear skirts and dresses. It stops physical play in my opinion.

  1. Haha – I can relate to this. I am usually pretty organised about things, but I am paranoid that if I buy uniform and shoes too early on in the summer they will have a massive growth spurt and none of it will fit come September – I really should have learnt by now…if you go just before school starts there will be NOTHING in the right size – gah! Really, really must go earlier in the summer next year and chance it – the chances are they won’t have a massive sudden growth spurt, they never have so far!! But I expect by next year I will have forgotten this all important detail AGAIN!!

    1. I’ll do my bets to remind you in early July and then we can maybe both avoid this scenario next year! Thanks for commenting.

  2. Not looking forward to this next year. The specifications make formal work wear look like a walk in the park. Then there’s the neat hair arrangements, all of which my daughter currently rejects. Could be fun…!
    #brilliantblogposts

    1. I am sure you will get there Dan. It’s not that bad to be honest. Just make sure you do your uniform shopping well in advance!

  3. You mentioned your daughter was quite tall for her age but a size bigger isn’t always the answer. As a school uniform retailer myself I would advise to look at the measurements of the uniform rather than the age.
    P.S thanks for the talking heads video! Just the type of tune I need on a Monday afternoon.

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