Tips for buying school uniform online

Most of us can remember what it was like being dragged round the school uniform shops by our parents to get new uniform before school started. Trying on blazers, jumpers, trousers and what felt like one hundred different pairs of shoes was definitely not what we wanted to be doing in the middle of summer. And now? We’re doing that with our kids, shuttling them round the shops for that perfect polo shirt.

While the trip to the shops to buy new school uniform is a rite of passage, this year it’s going to be a little different. Visiting the shops may not be as easy and you also may decide you’d like to spend less time hauling the family round a retail park and more time enjoying your summer.

The solution is to buy your school uniform online. If this makes you nervous, it’s understandable; there are fewer opportunities to try clothes on, more potential for the order to be delayed and no option to try out the clothes and actually feel or see them before you’ve parted with your money.

If you’re considering buying uniform online this year, follow these tips to help make sure you buy the items that are right for your child in a way that works for you.

Find a reputable supplier

First of all, make sure to find and use a reputable supplier. Not every high street retailer of school uniform will have an online option, so do your research. Check online reviews for different suppliers to learn who is well rated, visit their website to see how easy it is to use, and check if they have a customer service team that’s easy to get hold of.

A good, reputable retailer will also offer postage at a sensible price and have a clear, fuss-free returns policy – ask if you’re not sure.

Check the school’s guidelines

If you were going shopping for school uniform on the high street, you’d make sure to check your school’s guidelines first; online buying is no exception.

Double check the school’s requirements for where you can buy uniform, including whether there are different retailers for the plain items and those with the school’s crest or logo on, and what are considered essential or optional items. Have a look at the specific colour that a school wants for its uniform garments too – there’s a big difference between claret, red and burgundy, even though they may look very similar in the photos on the website.

After checking the guidelines, make a clear list of what your child (or children) need. Include on that list how many items you would like them to have – for example, three polo shirts and two pairs of trousers. Having a clear list with all the details you need will save you time and decision-making when you are shopping online.

Get your child’s measurements

Having your child’s measurements on hand is essential when buying online. You won’t be able to go ‘by eye’ as you might do if they were trying the item on; you’ll have to check their measurements against the size charts on the website. We recommend having the following measurements for your child:

  • Height
  • Chest
  • Waist
  • Hips
  • Inner leg
  • Skirt length (if needed)
  • Collar (if needed)

Each retailer should have a size chart on their website, ideally for each item of school uniform. Some items, like trousers, may also have options for slim, standard or generous fit. Check your child’s measurements against the chart for each item they need and purchase the size which matches their measurements most closely – don’t go by age, as this won’t guarantee a good fit. If you’re really unsure, buy one of each size with a view to returning the one that feels less comfortable for your child.

Buying school uniform online can feel a little difficult if you’re used to visiting high street retailers or picking up school uniforms with your weekly shop. But in times like these, and if you want to save your kids the painful memories of trying on yet another pair of trousers, it’s a useful way to get prepared for the new school term without causing yourself extra stress.