I’ve just updated this article on how school uniforms can save money. It is reflective of the unique school uniform situation many parents are facing as children go back to school–even if school isn’t 100% in person all the time.
The original concept of this blog post? How school uniforms save money and how they save parents money when buying school uniforms. It’s a topic I first tackled for Parade Magazine. This blog post expands on that and takes this notion of saving money with school uniforms even farther.
How do school uniforms save money?
One of the best ways to show how school uniforms can save parents money is to look at what I’m calling school uniforms save money statistics. That is, comparing spending on school uniforms with the spending on “regular” back to school clothing.
First, the school uniform spending statitisics. These are courtesy of a recent survey from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).
How much do parents spend on school uniforms? That survey found that the average cost of school uniforms per child, per year, was $150 or less.
School uniforms save money on back to school spending
Next, let’s look at back-to-school spending. According to the National Retail Federation, this past year, parents spent more than $235 per child on back-to-school clothing. New shoes add about $130 to the tab.
So if you ever wondered how do uniforms save money, think about these figures. Right off the bat we know that school uniforms save money by saving families about $80 per child on school clothing.
In other words, how much do school uniforms cost compared to regular clothes? Well, you’ll spend $80 less per child with a school uniform.
In conclusion, do school uniforms save money? You bet they do.
Now that we’ve determined how school uniforms save money for parents, we’ll get into the basics about school uniforms.
After that, I’ll delve into the nitty gritty of school uniform brands, how you can get school uniforms for less, some of the cheapest places to buy school uniforms online, ideas on affordable school uniforms and more.
School Uniform Basics
Even if your kid doesn’t need to wear a uniform to school, stocking up on uniform-like items when they’re on sale makes sense. Take my experience with my daughters.
Even though my daughters did not have to wear a school uniform, they did need chinos or khakis–aka school uniform pants–and polo shirts for certain school functions. This included when they were both in the band.
Even now, as college students, both of my girls have needed polo shirts and chinos for their jobs on campus. So, whenever possible, we would stock up when things are on sale, usually at Old Navy.
This is a great way to save money on school uniforms–even if you don’t need these pants and shirts to be school uniforms per se. Be sure to stock up when they are on sale.
I’ll get into Old Navy a bit more below, but let me just say that it is one of my favorite school uniform brands, if you will. It’s also where I think you’ll do well to find pieces of your child’s school uniforms for less.
Why Parents Like School Uniforms
Going back to that NAESP survey. It found that 86 percent of parents surveyed believed that having school uniforms makes shopping for back to school a more budget-friendly endeavor. And based on the numbers above, I believe it.
I’ve also heard parents say how school uniforms save time in the morning. I get that. Fewer choices means kids get dressed faster in the morning.
There are other intangible benefits to school uniforms:
- Eliminate wardrobe battles with kids (94 percent)
- Easier to get kids ready in the morning (92 percent)
- Time saving in the morning, as mentioned above (93 percent)
- Easier to shop for school clothes (90 percent)
This is good information to keep in mind. Why?
Because, the NAESP survey says that 49 percent of public schools have a school uniform policy in place. That means nearly half of all children attending a public school have to wear a uniform. Therefore, half of all parents are likely on the hunt for affordable school uniforms.
How School Uniforms Save Money
How do school uniforms save money? Let me count the ways.
First, we know that the items on a school uniform list are usually more affordable than designer jeans. The most popular public school uniform pieces are chino pants and navy blue polo shirts, and I’ll bet they are way more affordable than designer jeans.
Second, when you find a sale, you can stock up on uniforms for less. Say your child has to have a white school uniform–a white top, that is–like the children shown above.
But your school also allows other colors, like if your child’s school colors are green and white, for example. Then, when you find school uniforms for less, you can stock up on green school uniform shirts, too.
And finally, always be on the hunt for sales, especially if your child’s uniform involves a pricey piece or two. For instance, some private schools might require a navy blue school uniform jacket for certain occasions, like concerts.
A blue blazer is definitely going to set you back more than a pair of khaki shorts. So if you find one on sale, snap it up.
You can even find some school uniform basics when you shop back to school at Dick’s Sporting Goods. In fact, here are some polo shirts I found at a savings on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website.
Dick’s Sporting Goods and school uniforms
Stitch Fix Kids can help with school uniforms
I’ve been a happy Stitch Fix customer since 2015. A number of my blog posts have covered various aspects of the Stitch Fix fashion styling services.
This includes Stitch Fix for workout clothing, Stitch Fix for big and tall men and how Stitch Fix helped me find a special occasion dress for my daughter’s college graduation.
With the introduction of Stitch Fix Kids, you can easily use this personal styling service to stock up on uniform basics. Not all basics but many of them.
Below are a handful of clothing items you could conceivably receive in a kids Fix shipment. I know that I spy at least two pieces that could be uniform basics. Do you see them, too?
If you do decide to sign your child up for Stitch Fix Kids, make sure you schedule your first Fix immediately upon signing up. I’ve learned that if you wait too long after first signing up, your shipment can be delayed by weeks.
How lifetime guarantee can save money on school uniforms
In addition to Old Navy, another of the school uniform brands I think you should consider is Lands’ End. The company happened to have partnered with the NAESP for that school uniform survey.
I believe that the investment in Lands’ End school uniform basics can pay off in the long run and save you money over time. Why?
Another popular brand for school uniforms is Dickies. Like Lands’ End Dickies offers a lifetime guarantee. You can purchase Dickies brand clothing online at Walmart.
School uniforms save money when you don’t have to buy new again
How does a lifetime warranty help you reduce spending on school uniforms and make it so school uniforms save money? Well, over time, you have to buy fewer items of clothing, thus spending less.
Yet another brand that can help save you money on school uniforms–Target’s Cat & Jack line unique. I like that the clothing is designed to be gender neutral.
Plus, it comes with a one-year guarantee. Here’s a link directly to Target’s school uniform page.
Brands and Stores that Help You Save Money on School Uniforms
If you’re looking to buy school uniforms new, here are some popular stores and brands that offer affordable school uniform options. I prefer to stick with the brands that provide those aforementioned lifetime warranties or at least some kind of guarantee. Because if a company stands behind the school uniforms its sell, then that saves you money in the long run.
Kids can be hard on clothes. You should get your money’s worth when buying school uniforms. Below you’ll find 11 school uniform retailers and brands.
1. School uniforms at Amazon
There is an area on Amazon.com called the school uniform shop. There you can find links to popular brands that offer school uniforms online.
This includes school uniform brands Dockers, Nautica and Izod.
2. Classroom School Uniforms
I wasn’t aware of the Classroom School Uniforms brand until I stumbled on their store on Amazon. Classroom School Uniforms seems to have many items that I haven’t seen from other brands or stores, such as a navy jacket and juniors uniforms.
So if you’ve been thinking about where to buy school uniforms for juniors, the Classroom School Uniforms store on Amazon may be your answer.
3. Dickies School Uniforms
As I mentioned earlier, Dickies has a lifetime warranty. You can find Dickies brand school uniform basics online and in person at Walmart.
Dickies come in regular, slim and husky school uniforms. Walmart seems to stock mostly Dickies bottoms.
4. French Toast School Uniforms
French Toast is a clothing brand, sold at many retailers, that specializes in school uniform basics. The company seems to be your best bet for clothing not in gray, white or blue.
For example, while perusing French Toast school uniforms on Amazon.com, I found French Toast green school uniform shirts that were also available in red, burgundy and gold.
5. Gap School Uniform Basics
My girls were always particular about their pants having a little bit of stretch in them. I know that Gap sells these kinds of pants because that’s where we would buy them.
You can browse the Gap website for school uniforms for girls (tops, dresses pants and more) and boys’ school uniforms. They have a great selection.
6. JCPenney School Uniforms
JCPenney’s uniform store has clothing for young boys and girls, juniors and teens. Sizes are for slim, tall, plus, and husky school uniforms, and everything in between.
They have school uniforms for sale online. However, with JCPenney, you can pick up your purchase in a store near you if you don’t want to pay for shipping.
7. Lands End School Uniforms
Within that store there is a school uniform section for boys, girls and, get this, adaptive clothing. Rather than buttons and zippers, the Lands’ End adaptive clothing has magnets for easy dressing. Bravo, Lands’ End!
Finally, if you’re wondering where to buy good quality school uniforms, I would think that Lands’ End is the answer. My daughters always had Lands’ End bathing suits, and, boy did they last. Without fail they always outgrew them before the bathing suits wore out.
8. Lee Uniforms
If you’re wondering where to buy school uniforms for juniors, the Lee Uniforms section on Amazon.com is for you. Lee Uniforms are specifically for juniors needing school uniforms. It also sells uniforms for adults needing them for a job.
9. Old Navy School Uniforms
When I searched Oldnavy.com, I found more than 1,800 items that fell under the category of school uniform. I found individual pieces prices at $4, $5, and $10. In my book that definitely qualifies as affordable school uniforms!
10. Target School Uniforms
Target recently debuted a new line of children’s clothing called Cat & Jack. This line includes school uniforms.
Here’s a link directly to Target’s school uniform page.. You can choose from four categories:
- girls uniforms
- boys uniforms
- adaptive uniforms
- toddler uniforms
You can even search by school color, P.E. essentials and other basics.
11. Walmart School Uniforms
I found uniform pieces at Walmart (actually Walmart.com) for as little as $4 per piece. That’s a price worth checking out and definitely a way school uniforms save money on your back-to-school spending.
Also, on the Walmart.com website, you can get super granular with your school uniform needs. You can choose from the following categories:
- big girls
- big boys
- little girls
- little boys
- toddler girls
- toddler boys
- girls plus
- boys husky
- juniors uniforms
Finally, Walmat is one of the stores where you can shop online and pick up in store. This is often available the same day.
Other ways to save money on school uniforms
If you have multiple children in the same school district, you can hand-down uniforms. This is an obvious way that school uniforms save money–you’re not buying new.
Whereas with “regular” clothing, child 2 may not have the same taste as child 1, with school uniform basics, “taste” isn’t part of the equation. So like it or not, the cheaper, hand-me-down is the choice.
Your school district or parent-teacher group might even organize a uniform swap. If one doesn’t exist, maybe you should get one going to save the most money on school uniforms?
Also, with state sales tax holidays happening each summer, school uniforms are nearly always included on the list of tax-exempt clothing. This is a great way to save money if you live in a state that normally taxes clothing.
Finally, if you’re going to be buying school uniforms online, always start your online shopping at Rakuten.com or through the Ibotta shopping app; both provide opportunities to get cash back on your shopping.
Since I started using Rakuten years ago, I’ve earned more than $2,200 on things I was going to buy anyway!