What to look out for when buying a school uniform

The time for buying school uniform is here again! So what should you look out for when buying school uniform to make sure you get the most for your money?

(Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Now schools are going back in September, parents across the country are making a scramble for the shops to pick up school uniforms and supplies for the next academic year. 

So what should you look out for when buying a new school uniform and how can you get the best school uniform deals for 2021? With the September date for going back to school fast approaching and uniforms being dug out in all their hole-y, ripped and pen-marked states from the previous year, it’s likely that many families will be needing to refresh the school wardrobe for September.

It’s not only size and colour that matters. To get the most for your money, you should think about the material it’s made from, guarantees from suppliers and whether you can get it in a multi-pack for cheaper. After all, as many parents know, kids grow out of school uniform in what feels like minutes! 

This is what to look out for when buying a school uniform

The best deals are often in supermarkets and online

School uniform is a competitive market! In 2020 alone, Aldi has reduced the price of their school uniform bundle by 50p and in the process, undercut rival supermarket Lidl for the cheapest school uniform this year. 

So be sure to shop around for the best prices on school uniform and don’t settle for paying more than you have to. 


If you need to buy things like shirts and trousers, why not buy more than one set and save money? Multi-packs are often cheaper than buying two items individually and it means you’ve always got a spare when one’s in the wash. 

Shops like Sainsbury’s, Tescos in-store and Morrisons all offer great multi-pack deals on school uniforms. 

Smart fabric technology

children running around in the playground - what to look out for when buying a school uniform

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The school day is perfect for creating a multitude of stains on school uniform, especially if your child loves running around in the playground! But thankfully, fabrics are getting smarter all the time and making all our lives a little easier with improved stain repellent technology. 

Brands like Tesco’s F&F collection, for example, use stain repellent technology which helps keep colours looking newer for longer and works clothes a little bit harder for you. There’s a repellent finish on all polo shirts, as well as most shirts, trousers and skirts in their collection. 

Good quality

Aside from resisting a multitude of stains, school uniforms need to be able to withstand a fair amount of wear and tear. So be sure to look at the construction of school uniforms closely. 

With trousers and jumpers for instance, check to see if the knees and elbows have reinforced material as many school uniforms today often do and you’ll want to go for the one that has the best chance of lasting through the year. 

Look out for other qualities, like how well the materials are stitched and if there are any loose threads. Perhaps the pockets or hems look like they’re going to come apart easily. 

If you’re shopping online for school uniforms, it will be harder to check this but websites will say if their uniforms have reinforced areas for extra protection. 

Get the right fit

school uniforms hanging up - hat to look out for when buying a school uniform

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Every child is different and as school uniform is something they’ll be wearing five days a week, it’s important that it fits them well. 

As much as you might want to buy big so they’ll grow into it, maybe opt for trousers with an adjustable waistband for example, as you’ll be able to loosen them as they grow. 

Many school uniform ranges also offer more diverse ranges of school uniform and supplies. Tu by Sainsbury's for instance offers longer length school uniform and wide-fitting school shoes, perfect for kids who’ve already had a growth spurt! 

Don't buy more than you need

As tempting as it is to stock up for the year ahead while the deals are on, kids are growing all the time. What might fit them in September could be a no-go in April of the following year. 

Supermarkets and shops sell school uniform all year round with great offers on days like Black Friday and winter sales, so there’s no need to buy everything in advance.

Only buy what you have to from the school store

children in blazers raising their hands - what to look out for when buying a school uniform

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Some schools will require jumpers, blazers or shirts emblazoned with the school logo, which you have to buy directly from the school or an associated retailer. But don’t feel like you have to buy the full lot from them. 

To save money, only buy necessary items from the school store with the logo and head online or to your local shops for all the other general items like sports kits and school shoes. 

Don't forget the extras

And the final thing  to look out for when buying a school uniform...

As much as we’d all like it if school uniform was the only thing you had to buy at the start of the school year, more often than not they’re also joined by new pencil cases, water bottles and lunch boxes. You

These bits might bring your total up a fair amount, so don’t forget that you can get help with school costs from your local council. 

Many items, including tablets and devices, can also be purchased online from places like Amazon for less than in stores.

With the new academic year right around the corner and older children now off to another school, some schools also have a second-hand school uniform and supplies shop where you can buy good quality kit from those who have left the school.

Grace Walsh
Features Writer

Grace Walsh is a health and wellbeing writer, working across the subjects of family, relationships, and LGBT topics, as well as sleep and mental health. A digital journalist with over six years  experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace is currently Health Editor for womanandhome.com and has also worked with Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more. After graduating from the University of Warwick, she started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness.