By Tara C.
(photo from: Public School Review)
Next month, my daughter starts Kindergarten at a new school that requires her to wear a uniform. This will be the first experience I've ever had with school uniforms and I can't say that I've given it much thought until recently. I was only vaguely aware that stores like Gap, Old Navy, and Lands End even carry uniforms. I saw one statistic that said that 23% of public and private schools in the U.S. have a uniform policy. This surprises me; I don't think that many schools require uniforms where I live.
I have to say, I'm really liking the idea so far. Some argue that uniforms stifle individuality and creativity. I do believe that style can be a means of self-expression. I probably wouldn't be writing for a style blog if I didn't feel that way. However, I'm not convinced that school is the best place for expressing creativity through fashion. Overall, I think the pros outway the cons. But that's probably because I'm a Stodgy Old Mom. Fourteen-year-old me probably would have felt differently. I distinctly remember begging my parents for a pair of $80 Guess jeans. This was a ridiculously expensive request at the time, but I remember feeling like I NEEDED the right clothes to fit in. Uniforms help reduce the external signs of varying socio-economic status.There is also some evidence that school uniforms can help reduce violence, theft, and peer pressure.
On a more superficial level, I actually kind of like the way most school uniforms look. My daughter's school requires her to wear a polo shirt with the school's insignia along with navy blue pants, skirts or shorts. She doesn't have to wear a tie like those kids pictured above. I like the simplicity. Personally, I think children look beautiful in simple, unadorned clothes. And has anyone else noticed that at a lot of stores, once girl sizes go above 5T they start to look a lot more mature? I'm talking about sequins and sparkles and trendy styles that look like shrunken versions of adult clothes. I like for my little girl to look like a little girl, not a really small teenager.
I have heard varying things about the number of uniforms each child should have. For shirts, I've heard people say between two and five. Two seems low to me, so I bought four shirts. I'm not sure that will be enough; my kid is pretty messy.
For the bottoms, I have gone the skort route for practicality. We live in Texas and we really won't need long pants or outerwear until around November. I bought this skort in navy on sale at Lands End. (FYI, they have a code on their site offering 30% off through July 24.)
(photo from: Lands End)
I like that it's knit, so it will be comfortable and won't wrinkle. I saw a review on another site in which the reviewer mentioned ironing the pleats of her daughter's skirt. Um, I don't think I'll be doing that.
I also ordered this skort from Old Navy:
It doesn't have an adjustable waist, so we'll have to see if it fits once it arrives. Also, it might wrinkle.
Assuming that I buy fewer non-uniform outfits, I think I will end up saving money on my daughter's school clothes this year. And if our school starts a uniform exchange, it could really stretch our budget.
Do you have an opinion on school uniforms? If you are a veteran of buying school uniforms, do you have any tips for parents who are new to this?