School Uniform Shopping Guide: The Basics

1. Gap Twill Bootcut Pants (buy 2 or 3 pairs) These aren't the cheapest option, but they are the best-fitting uniform pants around. Regular price is $29; order them now with your Gap Card for $17. Rachel only had two pairs of these, and they looked as nice at the end of the year as they did at the beginning.

2. Gap Uniform Long Sweater (buy 1 or 2) Regular price is $29; order them now with your Gap Card for $17. These long sweaters look nicer and hold their color better than these ones. Be sure to label all of your sweaters- it's not fun looking through huge boxes of clothes at your school's Lost and Found.

3. White Old Navy Girls Uniform Pique Polo (buy 3 or 4) We've tried shirts from most of the box stores, and these are our favorites. They are the least expensive too! On sale now for only $5. I used to buy these cute shirts with a Peter Pan collar from Gymboree (also on sale right now), but the collars fold up and I had to use the hair straightener to get them back down every morning. They were also slightly shorter than the Old Navy shirts.

4. Navy Old Navy Girls Uniform Pique Polo (buy 1 or 2) It's nice to have a couple of navy shirts so you can hurry and wash an outfit in one load, when needed. On sale now for only $5.

5. Gap Uniform Skort (buy 1) I used to buy the knit skirts from Gymboree, but the color fades a little and they shrink until they are slightly too high above the knees. We are excited to try these skorts from Gap this year. Regular price $22; order now with your Gap Card for $15. (Or lighter Stone color for only $8.)

6. Gap Uniform Jumper (buy 1) Don't be fooled by the lower price on the jumpers at Old Navy or The Children's Place. This jumper from Gap is far superior. It is made of their thicker, stain repellant material, and the silky lining can't be beat. Regular price is $26; order now with your Gap Card for $17.

7. Gap Scalloped Socks (buy one 6-pack) These are our favorite socks and helped solve some OCD issues that Rachel was having a few years ago. If you want some nice, plain white knee high socks, we also like these from Gymboree. Regular price on the Gap socks is $15; order now with your Gap Card for $10.

8. Old Navy Girls Uniform Sweater Vest (buy 1) We are excited to add this new sweater vest to our uniform wardrobe this year. On sale now for $15.

9. Gap Uniform Bermuda Shorts (buy 1 or 2) Love these shorts, and the kids can keep wearing them when school's out in the summertime. Regular price is $19; order now with your Gap Card for $12.


Quality is more important than quantity! I don't have any experience with uniform clothes from Land's End or L.L. Bean because they were out of my price range. I assume their uniforms are even better quality than these from Gap and Old Navy, but these have become our favorites and they have been great to get us through the school year. (And I also love getting free shipping with my Gap Silver Card!)

Buy school uniforms right now, when they are on sale. You might find a few random items on clearance in the stores later on, but online prices at Gap and Old Navy will go up and stay up all year long.

Standardize your uniforms for simpler dressing. If you buy a variety of shirts from Old Navy, Gap, Gymboree, and The Children's Place, with some as polos and some as button up knit shirts, etc.) your daughter is going to form a favorite and want to wear that one every day. Keep them all the same so there are less options for dressing in the morning. Otherwise, you give up the ease of uniform dressing. (And if you have two girls wearing the same sizes like I do, you can eliminate a few fights!) This is the first year we haven't purchased any of the Old Navy Puff Sleeve Uniform Tops. Save the variety and personalization for the accessories!

We don't buy long sleeve uniform shirts anymore. They didn't get used because my girls would rather wear a sweater that they can take off as it warms up. During the cold winter months, Rachel likes wearing a regular long-sleeved white shirt underneath her navy uniform shirts.

Navy blue pants fade in the knees and don't look good after a few months. Navy is great for dresses, skirts, or even shorts, but stick to khaki for pants.

I do laundry almost every day (and my kids grow fast) so I try to get away with fewer school clothes. But there will be a Thursday morning in December when I am behind on laundry and Rachel is running back and forth between the laundry room and her bedroom looking for a pair of pants that I will wish I had another pair. . .

(I bought each of my girls 2 pairs of pants, 1 pair of shorts, 1 skort, 5 shirts, 1 sweater, and 6 pairs of socks. . . for a total of $115 each. I also bought 1 sweater vest and 1 jumper for them to share for $32. Grand total for both Rachel and Lucy: $262.)

Stay tuned for the second installment, School Uniform Shopping Guide: The Extras.


MaRea Hess said...

I long for the day, that my kid attends a school where they wear uniforms!!!! Such a great review:). I think all public schools should move toward school uniforms.

@udj said...

I have no need for uniforms right now, maybe someday, but I found this to be a very informative post. I would love to hire you to shop for my family and me.

Rebecca said...

Do you think I could get away with dressing Sydney in uniform attire at her non-uniform school? This seems so much simpler. You are an expert! I got a slower start with the whole kids clothing shopping since I had the benefit of all your hand-me-downs from the girls for so many years. I am now realizing that not having good quality clothes is a big pain and not worth it.

And Emily, seriously, I want to hire you too! I think you could really be a professional shopper and hire out your skills!

Ryanne said...

I wish public schools would go to uniforms too. It would solve so many problems. Even though I don't have to shop for uniforms I loved your post and what a great price it was for your girls clothes!

LM said...

I need this guide for boys :)