So you’ve spent all your money on worthy day trips to museums no one liked, ice creams that need second mortgages to afford the flake and wet suits that are destined for the back of the garage. But lo, gentle reader, there is but one more crippling expense to come this most Indian of summers – back to school uniform shopping!
Over here, our newly woke guinea pig Arthur gives you a rundown of the school fashions he’d like you to buy. If you want a serious-ish list of the high street brands that are resonating with our nation’s eleven year-olds, head over there – that plus a spot of judicious Primani shopping will make you the apple of your little darling’s eye.
If you’re after something a bit more… Well, you know. Yeah, this is that.
As kids get older, the chances of slipping some centre-aisle Aldi specials (“They’re daps, love. There’s no difference between these and Converse! They’re made in the same factory!“) becomes less and less. Kids want brands, brand, brands – your Nikes, your Adidasses, NOT your Green Flash despite that mummy blog saying the blue colourways are totally SS19. No, you need to find the cheapest brands possible – and that means the fresh hell that is Sports Direct on a Saturday afternoon. Set yourself a budget (twenty quid tops), remember the school rules (all black means all black – no white Nike swooshes or you’ll have to get busy with the Sharpie) and use your elbows for that last Size 2.
While global warning means that we’re destined for 30 degree temperatures til November, there is still zero need to buy your nipper a coat at anything under a 3000 tog. Think Michelin Man puffa jackets, XXL parkas with hoods that are darker than the Marianas Trench or kagouls with twelve detachable fleece liners able to absorb a whole PlaySpace’s worth of sweat. Think long term, get yourself a trip to TK Maxx and if your child starts to overheat? I think there’s a Big Cook, Little Cook water bottle over there near the dog’s bed with his/her name on it.
This is a toughie. Obvs, if you can get away with some supermarket specials (“Well, it’s nearly the same blue…”), then you can feel free to skip this – once you realise that 3-for-£5 waffle polo shirts are disposable (sorry environment fans), your uniform woes are gone. If however you’ve got one of ‘those’ schools that insist on own-brand solutions, you need to cut back on the takeaways now as that’s an overdraft in waiting. Solutions? Sensible suggestions include local Facebook groups or keep an eye out for local fairs and even car boots – sometimes your school (new or not) will organise a sale. Back in Beanoville, we humbly suggest a visit to your school website, a colour printer, some scissors, a stapler and a visit to Asda. Sue us.
4. PE KIT
Listen up NOW as this is an important one. As the rules of ‘black-shorts-white-tee-shirt-daps’ slowly give way to ‘Barcelona-shirt-Adidas-trackie-bottoms-boxfresh-Air-Max’ as the term deteriorates, you need to stand firm with your draconian school rules or face some serious bankruptcy. NO branded sportswear, NO branded trainers, F+F is as good as it’s going to get for your debadged offspring. Threaten then with the lost property bag if you need. No one wants that.
So, your holiday in deepest Cornwall revealed that those surf shorts your little ‘un refuses to throw out have pretty much turned into a thong – time to get some new ones. With no ‘Speedo only’ rules here to ignore, here is finally your chance to have some fun. Why not suggest some Octonauts tanga briefs? That ‘Mermaids Heart Unicorns!’ two piece from Primark? Those cutesy anchor print trunks that would’ve looked totes adorable five years ago. Whatever you do, have fun. Oh, and one pair of goggles per term max and no extra money for the machine. Good luck with that one.
Obviously, backpacks are not actually things for putting on your child’s back. Nope, they are bulging billboards for brands like Hype and, well, Hype. They are Smiggle sacks, decorated with a gazillion squishy key rings. They are black holes where packed lunches disappear and only strata of mulched party invites, uneaten boxes of raisins and school trip slips now lurk. Our advice? This term, cut out the middle man/woman and fashion your child a new backpack from a bin liner. Fashionable punk looks and something you can stick straight in the wheelie bin when the stench gets too much. You’re welcome.
And that’s it. In just 813 words, we have solved all your school uniform woes and guarantee that your son/daughter will enter their new term full of newfound confidence in their swag threads thanks to the love/taste of their parent/carer.
Maybe best read the serious one.