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100 Years of School Uniforms

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

How long has your school had uniforms? Do you have images of the evolution of the uniform? If so, you will agree that looking back is a fun endeavor. If not, have no fear; Glamour magazine has a great video encapsulating the 100-year evolution.

In the video, you can see some of today's uniform trends and where they originated.

The 1930s gave us the jumper dress. This is a personal favorite of mine because I love the classic look and partially because it is a popular item we sell today.

Video of school uniforms
Glamour Magazine 100 Years of School Uniforms

The 1950s gave us plaid that permeates uniforms across the nation.

Video Pt 2.
Pt 2. Glamour Magazine 100 Years of School Uniforms

The 2000s brought less formal uniforms. In the 100+ years that our uniform partner has been in business, there has undoubtedly been a change - an increase in the number of schools requiring uniforms but more flexibility in what meets the "uniform" requirement.


The big open question is, what change will the 2020s and a pandemic bring? Some joke that pajamas are the new uniform, so schools will continue loosening uniform requirements. Others say schools will push for stricter policies to help drive cohesion and school culture. In our experience talking to private schools across the country, the most common approach we hear is a "wait and see." Schools are keeping their current policies in place and waiting for more certainty in the world around them before embarking on change. We would love to hear what your school is doing...drop us a note.


Cost of School Uniforms vs. Regular Clothes Statistics and Other Frequently Asked Questions

The cost of school uniforms vs. regular clothes can depend on various factors such as the brand, quality, and where the clothes are purchased. Here are some generalized cost estimates based on available data up to my knowledge cutoff in September 2021:

  1. School Uniforms: School uniforms can range from $20 - $50 per piece for mid-tier quality. Typically, a complete set of uniforms, including shirts, pants or skirts, and a jumper or sweater, would cost between $100 - $250 per child per year, assuming a few sets of clothes are bought to last the school year.

  2. Regular Clothes: The cost of regular clothes for children can vary widely depending on the style, brand, and purchase frequency. Parents may spend around $200 - $400 per child per year on regular clothes.

Remember, these are just average costs. The exact costs can be lower or higher based on the specifics mentioned earlier.

Other FAQs on this topic might include:

Q: How often should school uniforms be replaced? A: It's important to consider the quality of the uniforms and the rate at which the student is growing when determining how often they need to be replaced. Generally, school uniforms should be replaced every one to two years, but younger children who experience rapid growth may require more frequent replacements.

Q: Are there any cost-effective ways to buy school uniforms? A: Yes, some cost-effective strategies include buying second-hand uniforms, shopping during sales, buying from discount retailers, or participating in school-organized uniform swaps.

Q: Can the cost of regular clothes be reduced? A: Yes, regular clothes costs can be reduced by buying clothes on sale, shopping at a discount or second-hand stores, and buying versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits.

Q: What is the impact of wearing school uniforms on students? A: Research shows that wearing school uniforms can have several impacts. It can reduce peer pressure and bullying related to clothing choices, promote a sense of community, and reduce distractions, allowing students to focus more on their studies. However, some argue that it can also suppress individuality and self-expression.

Q: Why do some schools require uniforms? A: Schools might require uniforms to promote equality among students, prevent distractions, reduce violence or bullying related to clothing, or promote a more serious academic environment.


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