School Uniforms: Where I Find the Best Deals

back to school uniform 225x300 School Uniforms: Where I Find the Best Deals

First Day of 1st Grade

With back-to-school season in full swing, I thought I’d spend a few words talking about uniform shopping.

I know not everyone has kids in uniform dress code schools, but if you do – you are probably like me and scrambling to figure out which pants still fit – and which ones are suddenly 4 inches too short. (How do they always grow so much in the summer?)

Our “uniform”, which is really more of a dress code, is navy or khaki bottoms with white, light blue, pink or maroon tops. For my boys, that means short-sleeve polo shirts for warmer weather and long-sleep polos or turtlenecks for fall and winter.

Here are the places that I like to go for the best deals on school uniforms (keep in mind that right now, I’m only outfitting boys in uniforms, so I don’t really know about the best sites for skirts and jumpers).

#1. Hand-me-downs

We have been very fortunate to have good friends (thanks, Jennifer & Amy!) to generously pass down their too small uniform attire to us. Not only was my rising 2nd grader able to get good use out of these pants, tops and sweatshirts, but now my soon-to-be kindergartner will as well.

While DS1 is pretty hard on his clothes, DS2 will only need two or three new items to get him through the fall and winter season. Yay!

Don’t be afraid to mention to your friends that you will gladly accept their hand-me-downs. Odds are you having something in your “been decluttered but still haven’t donated it yet” pile that they  might want, too. A hand-me-down swap is the perfect solution!

#2. Lands End

The month before my oldest started school, my friend Sherri gave me a wise piece of advice, “Buy your boys their uniforms at Lands End,” she told me. “They cost a bit more, but they will last forever and have a 100% guarantee.”

I have taken her advice to heart, buying at least a few key pieces each year at Lands End, when they have one of their frequent sales, plus free shipping. Like right now, you can get free shipping on orders over $50 when you use the code FREESHIPJULY and the pin 2406.

Since my boys are especially hard on their pants (DS1 has ripped a hole in the knee of almost pair of pants he owns!), I usually get their boys’ open bottom climber pants, with double reinforced knees. Not at all “cheap”, but we have definitely gotten our money’s worth!

#3. Walmart & Target

I have had great luck at the clearance sections of Target. They often have uniform-acceptable pants and polo shirts, marked down to less than $5 per item. These aren’t necessarily built-to-last, but we can usually get a season out of them. If I only paid $3 or $4, I’m not heart-broken that we can’t hand it down.

Even without sales, Walmart has great prices on uniform basics. Right now, for example, you can get a  4-pack of boys’ short-sleeve polo shirts in a variety of colors for just $20 ($5 per shirt).

Screen shot 2011 07 28 at 8.28.13 PM 208x300 School Uniforms: Where I Find the Best DealsThey also have this adorable George – Girls’ Knit Polo Dress (to the knee) School Uniforms: Where I Find the Best Deals for just $12.99. And all of their uniform clothing ships for FREE to your home right now!

I’ll also throw out there that while at Costco today, I noticed they had a table of uniform basics, ranging from $7.99 to $9.99, including polo short-sleeve shirts for boys and girls, as well as skirts (definitely well above the knee, though) and boys’ shorts.

#4. Garage Sales

Garage sales can be hit or miss, but if I focus on certain neighborhoods, I know I have a much higher likelihood of finding a family with uniform attire. I’ve also done well at mega-consignment sales. There are almost always stacks of second-hand polo shirts in white – which would explain why my son wore white nearly every day this spring!

Also, our school’s PTO sponsors an annual “uniform shuk”. Parents donate their kids’ too small clothes at the end of the year and then during back-to-school week, the PTO lays out all the attire by size and gender. You sort through, find the tops and bottoms that work for your kiddo and pay the suggested donation of $2 per item.

I have a stack of Lands End mock turtle necks and a number of pairs of Dockers from last year’s sale. If you school doesn’t do something like this, you might want to see about organizing one – even on a smaller scale within your synagogue community. It’s a nice little fundraiser and a great way to pick up practically free clothing.

** If you do end up ordering clothing online, don’t forget to use a cash-back site. My favorites are ShopAtHome.com and Ebates.com. Why not get cash-back on purchases you were planning to make anyway? **

What are your suggestions for getting the best deals on uniform attire?

Oh, and if anyone has a bargain site for tzitzit or those kippot with the clips inside, I’m all ears!

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. Our dress code is light blue half or long sleeve 3 button polo shirts and navy or black pants. Hand me downs are my first choice but JC Penney has good sales. As for tzitzit the cheapest I have found is eichlers.com at $6.95 each.

  2. Tziporah says:

    I have gone to sears since my son is VERY hard on his pants. You can return any child’s clothing/shoes for the same size. I just hope the extra money is worth and he wears out at least one thing. ;) And love had me downs!

  3. FYI- I bought from lands end this week (not uniforms, but still), and got $10 off $50 and free shipping. The code was from retailmenot(something like parents11) always make sure to check coupon codes before you buy!
    And while you’re on the topic of tzizit, and recommendations for washing them?

  4. Consignment shops are my best source for the best quality uniform pants. Thrift shops are great too. My best finds came from a thrift shop near a rougher area. The public schools there all have uniforms, so there is a nice ample supply of non-monogrammed shirts. We go through too many pants and white shirts get stained too easy.

  5. we plan to offer a uniform swap this year so anyone with outgrown uniforms can bring/exchange. Maybe this would work at other schools too?

  6. sara lea says:

    I always get my son french toast double knee pants from their website. After going through every other brand of pants, replacing them often, these last the whole year! They are $17 but french toast has sales often and I always go through ebates to get a little more. If anyone is looking for girls longsleeve polos, I love JC penney for them. I get the izod brand and we’ve been really happy with them. Don’t get old navy 3/4 sleeve girls polo. I bought them 2 years in a row and regretted every penny!

  7. sara lea says:

    Good deal for uniforms! look at this jcpenney coupon post!
    http://www.dailycheapskate.com/

  8. Rivka H. says:

    My boys are like yours Mara – DS1 gets holes in every pair of pants, and DS2 must be much gentler. I have been getting navy pants at Sears, because of the Kidvantage program. It’s a little frustrating though because the nearest store is 15 miles away, and I’ve found that different stores have different policies on whether you need a receipt and on other issues.

    For white polos, we get them at JCPenney outlet. DD takes good care of hers but for the boys I get the cheapest possible because they are in shreds and totally stained in a very short time.

    We have a uniform gemach where we get (free) skirts and jumpers and colored polos (which need a monogram). I did have to buy my kindergartner a couple of skirts though because they don’t have so many of the small sizes.

  9. Children’s place is also having a sale now, and while their uniform clothing is not cheap, sometimes their skirts are knee length at least (haven’t checked out this season yet) . Don’t know about bOys uniform pants, but I generally like the quality and price of TCP, especially when you can get on sale or percent off.

  10. My son is going into highschool in Sept and now has to wear a uniform, unfortunetly, there is only ONE place you can buy them because they must have the school emblem embrodered onto the shirts.

    You can sometimes luck out and find someone selling the school uniforms because they are really well made and wear well – but I was not able to find anythign for sale in his size.

    So for 3 pair of grey pants, 2 pair of navy walking shorts and 4 golf shirts, it cost us $318 – we still need to go back in the fall for long sleeved tops and a hoodie and hope he hasn’t outgrown his pants by then :P

  11. I usually do Lands End for uniforms too. If you have a Sears store, they often have in-store sales also! Plus, no shipping costs for returns or to have things shipped to the store — anytime!

  12. tameia adams says:

    i think target as good deals 20 dollars for 2 uniformms

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