Primary School Uniform - Where to invest and where to save

It feels like we've only just started the school holidays but my mind has already been thinking of buying the kids' new school uniform. In fact I've already bought the majority of it (although I can guarantee I'll be buying a few things at the last minute too - that's just me). I've been buying school uniform for over 7 years now and with three children to buy for, I thought I'd share my experiences of where to save and where to spend money.

Winter Coats - SPEND

I always, always invest in a decent winter coat for the kids towards the end of September. This coat will see them throughout the winter and it must be super warm, keep them dry, have a hood and pockets. We walk to school (and it's a 25 minute walk) so it's vital that a good coat will keep them warm and dry. I usually buy their coats from Joules, Next or Marks and Spencers but I am very tempted to splash out on a Barbour coat from the outlet near us for them all this year.

Heidi's Winter Coat from Next

Spring Coats - SAVE

Spring coats don't need to be as warm and as long as they are shower proof and have a hood, that's fine with me. I spend about 1/3 on the kids' Spring coat as their summer coat and will happily pick up a spring coat from the supermarket.

School Shoes - SPEND

Again, because we walk to school, shoes are something that I definitely think you should invest in. Heidi has worn Start-rite shoes for the past couple of years and they really do last well. They are comfortable, waterproof and last for at least 6 months. Heidi has worn these Fleur shoes during the last 2 months of term and there's hardly a mark on them!

PE Kits - SAVE

There's no point in splashing out on designer trainers or sportswear when your children are in Primary School in my opinion - plenty of time for that in their teenage years! 

Trousers - SPEND

I buy the boys' school trousers from M&S or Sainsburys. I love that they don't need to be ironed and have been reinforced to withstand lots of rough and tumble. In all my years of buying from M&S / Sainsburys, I've never once had to replace trousers due to them becoming shabby. I also like that they have an adjustable waistband. 

Skirts - SAVE

Now I don't know what it is but for some reason, I can get away with buying Heidi cheaper skirts. I am not brand-loyal and will just pick a school skirt up anywhere that I see an offer!

Socks & Tights - SAVE

I buy all of the kids' socks, tights and underwear from good old Primark. A top tip is to buy different colours and PLAIN so they're easy to match. Harry has plain grey socks, Jack plain black and Heidi black tights/white socks. They are so cheap that you don't mind replacing every season if you have to. 

T-Shirts and Shirts - SPEND

Cheaper T-shirts tend to fade and thin fairly quickly in my opinion and buying something of higher quality means that you'll actually get more washes per wear. I like to buy from M&S or Sainsburys.

Summer Dresses - SAVE

A summer dress is a summer dress to me. The quality doesn't really matter as they don't get to wear them that often! I just tend to buy them whenever I see them for £2/£3 in the sale somewhere. 

School & Lunch Bags - SPEND

I wash our lunch bags at least once a week so I need them to be of good quality and aren't going to fall apart after 2 minutes. Harry is very particular and likes a bag with a shoulder strap so he can carry across his body if he cycles to school. The same goes for school bags - the kids have quite a bit of stuff to carry to school so I want a bag that is going to be comfortable and stylish for them so don't mind spending a little extra.

Hats & Gloves - SAVE

Gloves and kids are so annoying. There isn't a week goes by in the winter when one of my children will lose one! Because of this, I stock up and buy multiple of the same plain pairs from Primark at the beginning of the season. If anyone has any tips on how to stop kids losing their gloves, I'm all ears!

If you're looking for more advice on what uniform to buy this year, I highly recommend reading this post by Family Makes as various brands are put through their paces.

A huge thanks to Start-Rite for gifting Heidi her school shoes this year. I only ever promote brands that I have thoroughly tried and tested and I'm confident I can recommend. Start-Rite are definitely one of these brands and are a brand I have bought from and been very happy with in the past. Start-Rite are running an offer throughout the school holidays where you can receive 30% off a pair of trainers or plimsols when bought with a pair of school shoes. They also provide lots of advice and measuring tools on their website here and FREE next day delivery until 10 September. 

Let me know where you spend and where you save when shopping for school uniform.



  1. Oh I love those shoes. Sophia is starting school this year and Jacob will be off to nursery school (he needs to wear a uniform) and Chloe is in year 10! I have almost all the uniform in I just need shoes and coats and stationery for Chloe. I totally agree with spending more on shoes and coats and always buy from next or M&S so they last a year. We got most of the uniform in the m&s back in June and it was very reasonable xx

  2. I agree with spending on quality shoes and coats, but I watch for coats in advance in the sales. Girls uniforms from Sainsbury's for best quality of budget uniform, including t shirts but usually buy an extra packet or two through the year to refresh as they do go off white, but can just as easily get wrecked with a stain! Often do 20% off sales too. Morrisons for black tights, least bobbling and hold shape well for price.

    1. I don't have a Morrisons near me so I've never tried their clothes but heard so many good things!

  3. Great tips - we bought for the first time last year so have definitely worked out a few things which do/don't work. And bargain gloves are on my list as they vanish almost daily!

    1. haha yep! They should open special glove shops in schools I think!

  4. I could have used this post last year when it was Livvy's first year at Primark School, I had no idea what to spend and save on. I agree with all of these although I get the majority of her uniform from George at Asda. Her pinafores are like brand new and she'll be wearing them again next year, her Clarks shoes also lasted a whole year but I've invested in a new pair and kept last years ones for weekends. It's such an expensive time of year!

    1. It really is expensive and I think it will only get worse as they get older too x

  5. Great tips! We always have a nightmare with shoes as James has long narrow feet so we always struggle. We've ordered our logo stuff from the shop plus we have the ones we bought last year that he only grew into in June


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