Tips for buying new school uniform

going to school


3.10pm Mrs H let’s the class out.

Bessie comes bounding towards me, a huge smile on her face carrying her lunch bag, her book bag, a half empty water bottle and a plastic bag with what looks like her school summer dress.

‘Oh dear. What happened?’ I ask relieving her and her sister from their bags and the days works of art. I note she is wearing an enormous school dress that isn’t ours.

‘Molly tried to help me open my fruit juice today at lunchtime and it squirted all over my dress!’ replies Bessie with peals of laughter at such hilarity.

She continues, ‘and then Mrs C (dinner lady) took me to find a clean dress and gave me an age 8 one!’ more laughter and a can you believe it mummy expression on her face.


This is not a one off. Sometimes there will be slips in the playground ending in wet trousers/tights/skirts. In reception there is the odd toilet oops requiring a complete change, so how much uniform should one stock up on and what are the tips to look out for when buying?

I’ve noticed the shops are stocking uniform ready for us to buy so what should we be keeping in mind when buying for the coming year?

Tips for buying school uniform

Make a list of everything you need. Your child’s school should give you a uniform checklist. Buy 3-4 of the key items such as  shirts so that you aren’t having to wash them every day. Buy lots of socks, for some reason I’m always hunting down pairs of school socks!

Shop early, avoid that stressful last minute rush and you most likely won’t be able to get it all in one go.

Be conservative, if you need more you can buy later. I made sure I had one change. (1 on, 1 in the wash)

Easy changing children will have to dress and undress themselves for PE and do up their own shoes, last summer I did a lot of practising with my two to get them ready but they still have come out of class with shirts inside out and shoes on the wrong feet. Choose velcro fastenings on shoes and polo shirts rather than long sleeved shirts if they are allowed.

Make life easy Make sure it’s all machine washable and look for easy or non-iron items. Some shorts and trousers have special stain repellant teflon-coating and you will also find that coloured polo shirts look cleaner for longer than white ones.

Growing room It’s amazing how much they shoot up over the course of a year I have found skirts, trousers with elasticated waists are good. Coats are worth buying with room to grow but make sure shoes are fitted properly. I wouldn’t buy these too much in advance, I bought the girls the week before school.

Label everything, I mean everything, by Christmas we were three gloves (different kinds) and two hats down but luckily as it was all named we retrieved them. You’d be amazed at the amount of uniform I saw in Lost Property, all un-named.  Use fabric pens, sew-in or iron-on labels.

school uniform

Marks and Spencer School Uniform Innovations

At the recent M&S Autumn Winter 2013 preview I spoke to the innovations team. They have spent a lot of time working on their School uniform products and I was so impressed I asked them to send me the details to pass on to you. They’ve been listening to mums and the problems that arise with uniform, then they go back to their desks and devise ways of putting the world right, take a look at what they’ve come up with.

Crease-Resistant – Crease resistant Trousers, Shorts, Skirts, Blazers, Pinafores and Summer Dresses.  Creases fall out more easily.

Stormwear+ – A finish that repels water and oil, M&S Stormwear+ lasts longer than any other stain defence technology on the high street.  Stormwear keeps you dry in rain showers and helps to repel mud and stains…  Available on Trousers, Shorts, Skirts, Blazers, Pinafores.

Sealed Hems – Thread that melts so the hems don’t fall down. All boys’ trousers have sealed hems and selected girls’ trousers too

Stain Away – A finish that helps stains wash away more easily, available on polo shirts and selected shirts/blouses

Supercrease – Supercrease –  ensures the crease is completely permanent on our classic school trouser. This is achieved by a special resin which is applied into the crease and ironed

Stay NEW – Stay NEW technology keeps clothes looking newer and brighter for longer, it also helps to reduce bobbling and colour loss

Ultimate Non Iron – Our ultimate non iron shirts are the best on the High Street. They have special taped seams and superior fabrics which allows mum to tumble dry then hang up with no need to iron!

Expandi Cuff – Special elasticated construction which means that cuffs on long sleeved shirts stretch, so that the button does not need to be undone.

Easy Close – Found up to age 8 on 2pk ultimate non iron shirts/blouses necks which close easily using Velcro

Fresh freet – Fresh Feet school socks – with Freshfeet antibacterial finish to keep feet fresh and odour free

Body sensor School tights – Body sensor tights – actively regulates your body temperature, keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer

Fresh Feet Finish Shoes – Freshfeet antibacterial finish to keep feet shoes and odour free for the lifetime of the shoe

Permanent Pleats – Permanent pleat stays neat and tidy to save time  – no need to iron them back in after washing

Scuff Resistant Shoes – Scuff resistant shoes

Ink Resistant Pockets – Special ink resist lining has been developed for use on the inside chest pockets on our classic blazers. This means that leaking pens won’t spoil your shirts!

Heat-sealed Button Security – The unique elastomeric gripping force and the heat sealing are the key to button loss prevention as the thread permanently squeezes the attaching threads.

Thermal – Keep toes toasty warm with these snug thermal socks

Engineered seams – Taped reinforced seams for a smooth neat look  on ultimate Non Iron

Adjust-a-hem (NEW for 2013) – Keep kids in their clothes for longer with our clever adjustable hem technology – simply….. 1. cut along the blind stitching, 2. remove the thread and 3. let down the extar 11/4″ of fabric and press

My Fit – Wider range of fits – plus, slim, short, long and extra long on slected styles online including skirts, trousers, pinafore, blazer, shirt and blouses

Heatgen – made from a special fibre blend that keeps you warm and comfortable.

Thinsulate™ inside quilted Blazers – With a warm thermal lining and Thinsulate™ technology,  ideal for cooler months. trapping air molecules between you and the outside, Thinsulate™ lining keeps you extra warm while remaining breathable, for great comfort and warmth.

Skin Kind – Special finish developed to help soothe sensitive skine eg eczema. Seams are as flat as possible, no sharp edged labels, latex-free elastics and any trims have been chosen to be super-soft. Also endorsed by the British Skin Foundation

Ultimate Non Iron on pure cotton – Our ultimate non iron shirts are the best on the High Street. They have special taped seams and superior fabrics which allows mum to tumble dry then hang up with no need to iron!

Starting primary school in September? Check out my post  Top tips for starting Primary school


  1. June 29, 2013 / 12:57 AM

    Thanks for this, I’m preparing myself for The Boy starting school and these are all top tips.

    • Mari
      June 29, 2013 / 9:56 AM

      It’s a very exciting time for mums and children too. There’s a link in this post from our head mistress who wrote me a great post on how to prepare children for big school, 5 top tips

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