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Starting school in style

31 May 2018

Whether you are a first time school mum or school gates veteran, it’s never too early to start stocking up on their school uniform. Kidswear editor and mum-of-three Maggie Davis offers some helpful tips.

Like most other parents I know, I can’t think of a more nerve-wracking moment than my eldest’s first day at reception. That mix of pride and anxiety. Will she like it? Will she hate it? Will she make friends? All normal stuff. With the rollercoaster of emotions, the last thing you want to be worrying about is what they are wearing. Ensuring they are well-presented in the correct (and comfortable) school uniform is crucial. In my case, I’d mistakenly dressed her top-to-toe winter uniform when they are meant to go back in summer kit. Who knew? Everyone else apparently. 


Here are my ten tips to help you buy that first school uniform:

1. Start with the basics

Talk to other parents, read the school uniform requirements in the school prospectus or on the website and write a list of exactly what you need. Even if it’s a school that wears ties, children might not be required to wear them until year one.

2. Get the right season

Most schools start in summer uniform which may be gingham dresses for girls and short-sleeved shirts for boys (often worn until October half term) so ensure you are stocked-up in season-appropriate gear.

3. Make a list of everything you'll need

Work out which items you need to buy from a specialist local school uniform shop and which you can buy from the Next uniform shop. You may have to buy a certain blazer or sweater with an emblem from a particular shop. 

4. Think PE kit

Some schools have a very precise sports kits and others don’t. Either way, ensure you have the right items. At the very least, they’ll need trainers, shorts, a t-shirt and tracksuit which you can pick up from our sportswear shops for boys and girls.

5. Don’t forget the details

Think socks, vest and underwear that fits. I always say go for cotton (for maximum comfort) and ensure it’s not too big and baggy or too tight - something as simple as an ill-fitting item of clothing can cause much anxiety for kids. Our school accessories for boys and girls have it covered.


 6. Bag the right bag

It’s funny but your child’s school bag becomes a real extension of them. It needs to be big enough to home their school books and a pencil case but also all the bits and bobs they accumulate like objects for show and tell. Check out our bags for boys and girls.

7. Don’t buy too much too soon

As tempting as it is to stock up on everything now, remember that your child will probably have a growth spurt over the summer.

8. But don’t leave it too late

Things do sell out in the two weeks before September. A good rule of thumb is to buy as much as you can just before the summer holidays. That way you get to relax all summer too.

9. Leave shoes till last

It's crucial that kids start school in shoes that fit perfectly. Ill-fitting shoes are miserable and will add to any anxiety your child has. Ensure you get them fitted in store or use our helpful print out size checker. With half-sizes and special widths, we've got everything from classic formal styles to more playground-friendly trainers in our boys and girls school shoe shops.

10. Let them have a say

School rules permitting, let them decide if they prefer skirts or trousers, a pinafore or skirt, wide or slim-fitting trousers. Let them choose the trimmings like pencil cases and bags. It’s really important your child feels like they have a say over what they are wearing.

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