I was brought up with a make-do and mend mentality which I want to instil in my kids. As well as constantly reminding them to pick their feet up, roll their sleeves up at mealtimes and not skid on their knees, there are lots of clever tricks you can do to help make their uniform last longer.
The first step in stain care is to buy a school uniform that’s stain-resistant, such as those coated with Teflon. You’ll often find Teflon-coated trousers help strengthen against knee skids too. If you do need to remove stains, check out Persil’s handy guide for removing everything from grass to blood, using washing powders and things you’ll probably have in the cupboard.
I always buy one size up so the kids grow into their uniform. You can turn trousers up and let them out as necessary over the year, which is also a fun way of keeping tabs on how much they’ve grown. And when trousers get too short altogether, if there’s still room in the waist, don’t get rid of them as you can cut the leg and make them into shorts for summer.
If you have a particularly active tot or an older kid into playing sports at lunchtime, it might be worth buying two pairs of shoes – one for the classroom and one for the playground. This might seem wasteful, but if you buy your uniform essentials from Tu it needn’t cost much extra and will keep the main pair looking smart for longer.
So you’ve bought some new uniform as you can’t repair or renew what you have, now you’ll want to make it last as long as possible. Do this by washing at 30˚C, unless the clothes are particularly soiled, and avoid tumble drying. Keep white shirts looking dazzlingly white by always drying outdoors.
To avoid the annoyance – and cost – of a lost uniform, you can buy personalised, sew-in name tapes online very cheaply. Choose iron-on ones if you’re not a seamstress or just write their name on the clothes tag in a permanent marker – thin tip pens are best for writing on small tags.
Change clothes and habits
Get your kids into the habit of changing their clothes once they get home from school and hanging them up ready for the next day – or at least putting them in their rooms. This saves extra wear and tear and stains caused from playing and eating once home.
After many a hole in the front of school shoes, I always choose ones with a rubber toe for extra durability. If you can, opt for leather shoes and if they’re not coated, apply a protector before the first wear.
You might not be able to stop your child pulling their jumper over their knees when sitting, but as you’ll see, there are plenty of things you can do for a long-lasting uniform.