Gathering together my journo portfolio from ancient days, here’s a classic I wrote for the Guardian from September 2006…
The new school year means new school clothes. The trouble is there’s so much competition, what with blanket advertising by all the high street stores, and parents all trying to find complete outfits in the perfect size.
Thankfully, some have taken to the web to share tips. On the discussion threads at mumsnet.com, hollyw is looking for small-sized trousers for her little son, and orangegiraffe reveals that “Asda or Tesco have small sizes”, while foxtrot recommends the “age three school stuff” at Adams: it is “buy one, get one half price at the mo”.
Dannie wants to know: “Why are coats for girls so much thinner and nastier than coats for boys? Why is fake fur compulsory?” MrsBadger reckons: “The Boden fleece-lined jacket looks OK if you can get away with the lilac lining – if not, the boy’s version is lined in a more subtle green.” Proudmum says: “I got a dark navy one from Next in their sale. It’s padded and warm, and doesn’t look cheap!” Dannie adds: “The Benetton one is nice but a bit thin.”
But quality and size aren’t the only concerns; pupuce is one of many mums looking for “environmentally friendly” uniforms, and recommends cleanslateclothing.co.uk, while JackieNo is a fan of healthy-house.co.uk.
Over at raisingkids.co.uk, mandyf is wondering where to buy grey shorts for her five-year-old daughter (who refuses to wear skirts). Corris suggests Tesco for “those big shorts/culottes things in grey and black”; Sainsbury’s and Woolworths are worth a shot.
There are more hints on forums.timesandstar.co.uk. Tony recommends Marks & Spencer’s catalogue, because “they have a full range of sizes and if the size required is not in-store, you can order it”. Debenhams is a good bet for girls’ clothes, but not so much for the lads, says jungledrums.
No matter what trials you undergo to make sure that your loved one is fully clothed upon their return to the classroom, you can only dream of winning their eternal gratitude. As Londonchic12 puts it on mykindplace.com/forums: “I don’t want to wear school uniform … It’s so unfair.”