Wednesday, May 11, 2016

OMG, I volunteered for the school uniform policy review committee

When I started this site a few years ago, I said that I would focus on shopping and reviews of school uniform clothing. I intended to shy away from the endless debates around uniform policies and their enforcement. I still do, but ... when I found a survey regarding school uniforms in my daughter's backpack, I couldn't help but raise my hand and volunteer on the committee being formed to review polices at her school.

I mean, how could I not? I am familiar with the national retailers in the US market knowing their standard inventory items off the top of my head. I bet I spend more time browsing websites that sell school uniforms than folks that have full time jobs in the industry.

I also follow school uniform news articles from around the world. Some report on procurement issues and manufacturing woes. Others report on the drama that always ensues when a school board debates adopting an initial uniform policy. But the most entertaining news articles are on the topic of school uniform policy enforcement.

There are three themes around school uniform policy compliance and enforcement. 1) Each year, the media interview parents to document their concerns about the cost of school uniforms that comply with policy. 2) The students protest. Girls complain (rightfully so, IMHO) about being labeled "a distraction" to boys. And the boys will inevitably organize a stunt to wear kilts or skirts when they aren't allowed to wear shorts in warm weather. And 3) school administrators will occasionally hold a mass enforcement event disciplining large groups of otherwise good kids for uniform infractions that weren't enforced or weren't consistently enforced previously. This causes some parent to complain to the media and the cycle repeats.

But I digress.

So, back to my recent experience on the school uniform policy review committee. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, I found I shared the same opinions with most of the other parents in the group. All of us that volunteered for the committee strongly favored school uniforms, over not having a school uniform policy. Ours is really a student standard attire policy that allows us to shop at any retailer for standard basics like navy bottoms and white tops. The uniforms just make getting the kids out the door in the mornings SO much easier.

The policy changes that were under consideration were fairly minor tweaks. We discussed if the kids should be required to wear dress shoes on non PE days, or if we would recommend that the kids be allowed to wear sneakers every day. We discussed if all kids should be required to wear belts on pants with belt loops, or if the younger kids should be exempt. We discussed if solid navy polos and solid navy polo dresses should be allowed, verses only white polos and no polo dresses. We also discussed how hard it is to find basic solid colored shoes to comply with the policy of "mostly white, navy or black" shoes.

We then reviewed the feedback from other parents and the teachers from the survey. We found that it was fairly consistent with our thoughts. We only got one comment criticizing uniform policies as restricting of a kid's creativity. We brainstormed enforcement methods and ways the PTA can assist families and ensure all kids have access to uniform attire regardless of financial means.

We will meet one more time to finalize our recommendations to the school board. So far, it has been an interesting experience. I'll keep you posted on any further developments.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Featured Basics - French Toast School Uniform Shorts for Spring

French Toast is having a sale this Spring featuring 20% off on All Fashion Items Use the Coupon Code FASHSALE through May 22, 2016. You can also get free shipping on $99 or more!

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It is a perfect time to pick up new shorts.

Girls Shorts

This classic girls uniform short is the Bermuda Short.  They are made from stretch cotton twill, knee length with 2 front pockets and an adjustable waist.  They come in navy, khaki, black and grey in girls sizes 4 - 20, plus, juniors and women's.

If you don't need the extra length, you can try the
Mid-Thigh Short
. And the youngest girls should check out the Pull-On Girls Short for less fuss and confidence with potty training skills.

Flat Front Adjustable Waist Short

Boys Shorts

The classic boys uniform short is the Flat Front Adjustable Waist Short.  They are a knee length twill with an adjustable made from a wrinkle no more cotton blend with 2 pockets in the front and 2 in back.  They are available in navy, khaki and black in boys sizes 4-20, husky and guys sizes up to a 38 YM.

As an alternative, you can try the Pleated Adjustable Waist Short or the Belted Cargo Short.  Again, check out the Boys Pull-On Shortfor younger boys.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Lucky + Me quality undergarments for kids, a Review

Is your kid’s underwear drawer full of undergarments covered in kid’s characters and that you purchased at a discount department store? Until recently, I didn't know there were other options?

I didn't know there was anyone out there making better quality undergarments for children until I learned about Lucky + Me. Their website features cute and affordable items made from " high-end fabrics and accessories from the most ethical factories around the globe." The fabric is described as "super-soft, smooth to the touch and free of harmful chemicals."

They offered me a sample of their products to review for comparison. I can attest that the fabric of the girl’s panties I received are very soft to the touch and very well made. They pass the "Mom test" for sure. I wish they came in my size.

Ava Girls Bikini (6 pack) from Lucky + Me
Photo Copyright Rene Shonerd 2016. 
All Rights Reserved.

Ava Girls Bikinis

The Ava Girls Bikinis are sold in a 6 pack. They offer plain white, solid pastels and the prints which is a mix of prints, stripes and solids. These are made from a soft modal cotton and feature the most precious rose detail on the front waistband. And when I see lace detail on products, I instinctively think ITCHY. But not this trim. I've never felt lace trim like this. It's soft and stretchy like the cotton fabric.

Lily Girls Organic Cotton Underwear
from Lucky + Me
Photo Copyright Rene Shonerd 2016.
All Rights Reserved.

Lily Girls Organic Cotton Underwear

The Lily Girls Organic Cotton Underwear is a 3 pack of girls briefs in pink patterns inspired by the British countryside. They are super soft and trimmed in a soft lace with the cutest, tiniest bow.

Both styles fit great and more importantly, have held their shape after several trips through the laundry cycle. The organic cotton can shrink. The site warns to expect 7-10% shrinkage, and it seems about right from what I noticed. I didn't notice any shrinkage with the modal cotton.

The quality of the items I've seen from Lucky + Me is hands down, far better than anything you'll find in your local discount store. So moving beyond quality, the next most important thing is to find a pattern and fit that suit your little girl and makes her happy. My daughter would have loved all the patterns shown here when she was younger, but some patterns are too girlie and dainty for her current 'big girl" tastes. So, I encourage you to take a look at all of the colors and patterns available so you can find a package that suites your little girl's personality. I think the pastels are perfect for the youngest girls during putty training and the princess stage. I would select the Days of the Week set for girls just learning to read. And for older girls that have moved on to the sporty stage, I would recommend the bright colors and patterns.

Lucky + me also has different fits available. Shown here were the brief and bikini, but they also have girls bottoms in the hipsters and boy shorts styles. There is an equally cute coordinating cami top available to match each style of bottoms. Girls items are offered in sizes 2T through girls 9/10.

But hey, what about the Boys? Yes, Lucky + Me also makes products for boys too. They have a 5-pack of boy’s boxers on solid colors, 3-packs of box briefs in stripes or solids, and classic tee shirts in white.

Overall, I'm a big fan of Lucky + Me products. I think you, and your little ones, will be pleased too.

In celebration of Earth Day 2016,
Lucky + Me is offering
20% of on the organics sets
(Lily and Grayson)
with promotion code EARTHDAY20

Uniform Mom received complementary sample of items described in this review. No additional compensation was received for the review and opinions shared here are my own.

Celebrate Earth Day 2016 with EcoLunchbox #ad

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April 22nd is Earth Day. Join in the annual celebration by ordering some eco-friendly lunch gear.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

School Uniform Wardrobe Review for a 3rd Grade Girl

What's in our School Wardrobe?

It's been a while since I looked in my daughter's closet, took inventory of what's in her school wardrobe and shared a full school wardrobe review. My last full review was 3 years ago when I shared our Kindergarten School Uniform Wardrobe. This year, I really didn't do much back to school shopping. She hadn't grown much, so many items from last school year were still in good shape and still fit. But we have added a few new items that I picked up on sale.

Since the year started, we've transitioned all of her shirts rotating out all of her girls size medium shirts (7-8) to girls size large (10-12). The list below shows the types of wardrobe items in the school wardrobe including which brand. I think it is a good example of how diverse her wardrobe is by brand. A handful of these items were received complementary for evaluation in a review, however, most were purchased from the family budget. Disclosures are included in the full review posts, when relevant.

Girls School Uniform Wardrobe Inventory

  • 3 short sleeve polos (Dockers, Classroom, French Toast Waist Tuck)
  • 3 long sleeve polos (Lands' End Peter Pan, Cherokee, Children's Place Ruffle-Placket)
  • 3 pair of Cherokee Flat Front Uniform Pants (While we've tried other brands that I liked, my daughter prefers these bootcut basics from Target.)
  • 6 scooters (Cherokee Pleated Scooter, Cherokee Uniform Scooter, Lands' End Ponte Button Front, Schoolbelles Side Pleat Skort, Lands' End Solid A line Skirt and a Dockers Scooter)

    Before you ask - Yes, its a fair question. Why do we have 6 scooters? If you're building a school wardrobe for the first time, I would only recommend purchasing one or two. We've acquired these over time. My daughter seems to get the most value from scooters as some of these skirts have been in the rotation for 3 years already.

    The Docker's one has been hanging in the closet with tags on it for since Kindergarten waiting for her to grow into it. It has an elastic waist, but it is not adjustable. The skirt may be too short once her waist grows into it. Lesson learned; adjustable waistbands are key.
  • 5 sweaters (Lands' End Performance Zip Front Cardigan, Children's Place Uniform Cardigan, Primary Cardi, H&M, Gap)

    Again, you don't need 5 sweaters. My daughter now has a favorite which she now carries with her in her backpack daily. The rest hang in the closet and might be worn on the weekend. But it did take trying different brands and styles to find her favorite.
  • 2 pair of Boot Cut Yoga Pants (Children's Place Bootcut Foldover Active Pants and Lands' End Yoga Pants)
  • 4 short sleeve t-shirts (Children's Place t shirt, Primary Polo, French Toast v-neck T, French Toast crew.)
  • 2 long sleeve t-shirts (Circo, Children's Place)
  • 2 pair of shorts (Gap, Lands' End)

    Both of these were leftover from last year's wardrobe and will need replaced for Spring because she has finally outgrown them.
  • 4 active skorts (Children's Place)

    Again, you surely wouldn't need 4 of these in a first year wardrobe. In fact, you might not need any. My daughter likes to wear the Children's Place active skort for PE days during warmer months. We have 4 of them because I kept buying them on clearance forgetting that I had already put one away in the next size up. Yep, that happened 3 times. Oops.
  • Sneakers for PE (Striderite)
  • Mary Jane style shoes (Striderite)
  • Accessories : bike shorts for under the skirt (French Toast), cuff socks (Gold Toe), knee socks (Code Socks and French Toast) and tights (Circo and French Toast).

What's missing?

Jumpers or dresses. Simply because my daughter is not a fan. She has a strong aversion to jumpers, always has. Maybe it's hereditary since I'm not a fan either. I used to be able to get her to put on a cotton polo dress, but not since first grade. She simply prefers to wear separates. If your daughter likes dresses and jumpers, you'll need fewer separates.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Get valuable kids clothing coupon codes in Uniform Mom Weekly Report Card Newsletter

Hey subscribers, have you been receiving the Uniform Mom Weekly Report Card newsletter in your inbox? 

It's been a few weeks since we changed up the delivery format, and I heard that some of you are not receiving it because it is getting caught up in your spam filters.  To ensure you receive the latest updates on children's clothing sales and promotions, take a minute to add to your address book or your safe sender list.

Not a subscriber?  Check out this week's newsletter to see what you're missing.  In this week's newsletter, you'll find links to retailers having great sales on children's dress clothes, just in time for Easter and other Spring dress-up functions.

If you like it, subscribe using the simple form below:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Stride Rite Cooper Lace Sneaker, a review

While a girls basic white sneakers are fairly easy to find, finding a supportive athletic shoe in plain white is much harder to find. So when I'm shopping for white sneakers for my daughter to wear to school with her school uniform, I head to our local StrideRite store and straight to the boys shoe aisle. She's on her 3rd pair of StrideRite Cooper Lace Sneakers.  She's worn them each year since first grade. Each time she outgrows them, we pick up a new pair.

These sneakers are great for school because they hold up to wear and tear on the playground.  They are available in solid white or black making them a great choice for uniform kids.  They have a leather upper and mesh lining.  Big kids, and younger kids that take pride in the ability to tie their own shoes, will like the lace up style.  For the preschool set, and those that prefer not to fuss with laces, will appreciate the Cooper Hook and Loop version of this shoe. They come in sizes ranging from Preschool sizes 8 - 12 and Kid sizes 12.5 through 6 and come in three widths of medium, wide and extra wide.

The care instructions advise you to brush off dry dirt and to clean with a damp cloth with a little mild detergent.  I have cleaned my daughter's sneakers in this same manner several times.  Once they got very dusty from a visit to a playground, so I removed the laces and hand washed them with soap and water.  Overall, these are very low maintenance shoes that just continue to hold up well and look good.

They are excellent quality.  They are worth the regular retail for $42.00.  If you can catch them on sale, even better!

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