The school year is upon us, and the calendar is filling up! If you're new to school uniform shopping, no worries! Lands’ End has you covered. Let’s look at some tips for first-time school uniform shoppers.
A new school year is an adventure for both kids and parents. Approach the school uniform buying process with the same enthusiasm to make it a fun project. Start by getting the current measurements for your child and putting them into your phone for easy reference. Also, get the uniform requirements for your child’s school. Make carrying this with you easy, too, by either bookmarking the site or taking a photo of the uniform details. Starting a “Back-to-School” photo file on your phone is also a great idea.
Whether you're shopping online or at a brick-or-mortar store, start as early as possible. This will give you two advantages. First, if you need to exchange an item you will have plenty of time. If you shop online, be sure that the retailer has a great return policy (like ours). Second, you will have the full advantage of the beginning of the season inventories. It’s amazing how quickly popular items can sell out.
Even if your school prefers classic uniforms like a school uniform dress or khakis with a kids' polo shirt, there's likely to be some variation allowed and different requirements for regular classes, gym uniforms, and perhaps special assemblies. In advance of sitting down to order school uniforms with your child, show them pictures of examples from their school and get a feel for what they think they will prefer to wear.
When there is a uniform as a starting point, the little touches make a big difference in personal style. Is your child allowed to wear different colors of shirts on some days or different colors of socks or shoes? Are hair ornaments acceptable? To set your child up for success, be sure to follow the rules – but give them the flexibility to flaunt their own style within those rules, too.
Once you get to the school year, make the morning routine as easy as possible for your child and yourself. Assuming that your child is old enough to dress themselves, make sure that their uniform is ready the night before. This includes everything like underwear and socks. Make sure that they have a given spot for keeping their school shoes. Knowing where your kids’ shoes are in advance (both the left the right) will make your world a better place on a busy school morning.
Placing your child’s school uniform on hangers that they can reach themselves can be handy. You can even buy hanger tags that are labeled with the days of the week to make it easier. This can be a fun way to begin to learn that “Monday” starts with “M” and Tuesday starts with “T,” if your child is still learning their letters.
If your child wears a uniform Monday through Friday, give them their freedom on the weekends. In addition to buying their school uniform before the school year starts, let them pick out a favorite outfit or two for when they have the chance to kick back. As adults we may not think of school as being “work," but you have a different perspective when you’re little. A fun kids’ hoodie or new kids’ graphic T-shirt will be extra fun to wear on Saturdays after a week of khaki and classic polos.
Make an extra effort to get to know some of the other parents and kids. Chances are there will be open houses and orientations where both parents and kids will have an opportunity to mingle. Introduce yourself and if it seems right exchange contact information or set up a play date. Especially if you can find a parent friend who has older kids at the school, they will know the ropes. They may be great resources if you have a questions such as the outside temperature requirements are for wearing uniform shorts or what days entail special clothing.
This will also help with getting a feel for what other families do for school volunteer activities, fundraisers, birthday parties, and more. If you begin to feel like your child is on the “birthday party circuit” in school, consider starting a gift drawer or gift closet. Choosing one item like a great children’s book and buying it in multiples can be an easy way to avoid going shopping every other week for their friends’ gifts. The more you can keep the school year details simple, the better.
Have fun with your first-time school uniform shopping!