Wednesday, January 18, 2017

School Uniform Knit Skort from Lands' End, a Review

Girls Knit Skort-Classic Navy

I recently purchased a Lands' End school uniform knit skort for my daughter.  It was a weeknight emergency trip to our local Sears store.

At the end of last school year, I washed and sorted all my daughter's school uniforms. Most items were still in good condition and still fit fine, so I hung them in the closet for use again this fall.  With the exception of some school supplies and new shoes, we didn't do any back to school shopping for clothing.  During the first week of school, we quickly realized that she had outgrown almost everything over the summer. A few polo tops still fit, but all of her school uniform skorts, shorts and pants were too tight. I guess we didn't notice because she hasn't grown in height. Instead, she filled out - gaining inches in her waist and hips.

My daughter has worn it to school a few times already and I've washed it a few times.  It has a simple pull-on elastic waist, not the hidden adjustable elastic feature that I love so much. Normally, she needs the adjustable waist, but this skirt fits just fine. The length hits just above the knee.  The knit is soft and comfortable.  It has hidden cotton shorts built-in so its is great for the playground at recess.  It is available in navy, charcoal gray and khaki. In comes in little girl sizes and big girl regular and plus sizes. There is also a version of this skort for women for $25.

Luck for us, Lands's End was having a 30% off sale in early September and we got this new skort at a great price. The regular retail price is $20. Uniform Mom research on scooters recommends you look for skorts and skirts priced between 10 to 15 US dollars. You can snag this skirts at a great price if you catch a sale at 30% off or greater. Uniform Mom recommends this classic knit scooter as a wardrobe staple of great quality at a fair price.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

South Carolina State Bill 3050 proposes uniforms for all Public School Students

South Carolina House chamber, Columbia, SC IMG 4755
By Billy Hathorn (Own work)
[CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

SC State Rep. Cezar McKnight (D) has sponsored a bill in South Carolina to require school uniforms for all public school students. House Bill 3050 includes exceptions for physical education classes and for extracurricular activities. The bill requires that the state Department of Education develop rules and regulations governing the establishment and enforcement of its dress code program to include three main objectives.

The objectives address common concerns for parents and administrators.  First is to provide a standard that includes a variety of seasonal options, as well as a color scheme that permits flexibility for the school principle to make modifications for school colors.  Secondly, it requires that the required uniform be available at an affordable price for the average family.  Third, it includes a provision to assist students eligible for free or reduced lunch to obtain five sets of school uniforms for each season.

The bill has been referred to House Committee on Education and Public Works. I'll update this post should this bill pass out of committee to the next stage of the state legislative process.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

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Friday, November 4, 2016

Basic Kids T-shirts from French Toast

I’ve purchase more than a handful of basic t-shirts from French Toast over the past few years. One summer, I bought a few of the girls short sleeve shirts in solid bright solids for my daughter to wear to summer camp. I then picked up a few of the Boys crew neck t-shirts for my nephew. And recently, I’ve bought a few plain white ones for my daughter to wear on PE day.

They are soft, have some stretch to them, and are offered at a very inexpensive price point. The girls’ shirts come in 2 styles, a crew neck and a v-neck. Both styles gather a bit at the neckline which adds a feminine detail. They are thin, so they are great for layering with sweaters and vests or under jumpers. The colored t-shirts have held up very well for us, retailing their size and color even after many trips through the wash cycle. The white ones tend to shrink a bit when you wash them in warm water, even when you dry them on low, so I recommend you size up.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Bras for Young Girls to wear under School Uniform

I recently had the opportunity to take a young girl shopping for her first bra.  I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of styles and colors offered in training bras for girls these days.  My first bra shopping experience was in a department store with a cranky sales woman.  You couldn't find girls bras in the girls department back then; you had to shop in the lingerie department with the inventory of bras designed to fit women with fully developed breasts. Back then a training bra was basically a smaller version of a women's bra, white fabric with a molded cup that started in size 30AA.

Why Girls Need Training Bras

Budding breasts are usually the first sign that a girl is entering puberty.  At first, it might feel like a lump under the nipple. It can be a bit painful and would understandably feel weird for a young girl. Budding breasts are also sensitive. Everyday fabrics may begin to irritate the nipple. Today's training bras are designed to cover the budding nipple with soft fabric and provide light compression to mask the awkward stage between a flat chest and when her the breast actually reaches the size to fit into that 30AA.

The First Bra Shopping Experience

Yes, having budding breasts as a young girl is awkward. But it is also normal. It is important to recognize that this is a critical time in adolescent emotional development. What we say and how we act may have a big impact on helping her develop a positive self-esteem and a healthy body image. When your daughter is ready, talk to her about breast development so she'll know what to expect. And when she is ready for her first training bra, make it a fun, girls only shopping experience to get a few basics bras to support her during this transition.

Based on my experience shopping for girls bras so far, I would recommend you avoid the traditional department stores and the specialty brand stores. I have found a wide selection of brands, styles and colors in girls training bras at discount department stores such as Target, Kohl's, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls, At the mall, Justice also has the nice selection of training bras.

I would also recommend you plan the shopping trip for a weekend afternoon when you have more time and aren't in a rush. Visit the aisle with the training bras, suggest the appropriate size, and point out the differences in styles. Encourage her to try on as many styles and colors as she wants. When in the dressing room, talk to her about how it should fit. Snugly around her chest, but not too tight. The cup, or cami in this case, should be flat against the skin, without gaps. Also, show her how to remove the molded cups and let her feel the difference with and without them. Hopefully, she'll find a style or two that she likes. When she does, let her put on her shirt over it for a minute to see the difference in how she looks and feels wearing a bra.

Look at these cute bras we found at our local Kohl's Department Store.

Girls Maidenform Stripe Seamless Crop Bra
Girls Maidenform Space-Dye Seamless Sports Bra

Girls Jockey 2-pk.
Heart Convertible Crop Bras
Nike Reversible Victory Sports Bra

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Buying Bras with her School Uniform in Mind

We found several cute ones in great colors, and others with fun cut outs and youthful trim.  My young shopper was most comfortable in the racer back sports bra style.   I told her that you cant wear a racer back with all types of tops. I showed her how the racer back straps are visible with most of her t-shirts since the straps on that style bra sit closer to the neck, We end up buying a whole pile of colorful, cute and age appropriate training bras for around $30. We also bought a cami style bra with traditional straps that she found tolerable.

She was a little nervous about wearing a bra to school because she'll be one of the first girls in her class to start wearing a bra.  She wondered if others would notice it and talked about what she might say if a friend asked her about it.  Since her uniform policy requires she wear a white polo shirt or a white t-shirt to school everyday, I showed her how a beige bra is less noticeable under a white shirt than a white bra. This made her feel better. I promised to buy her some beige bras to wear under her school uniform.

The Hunt for Beige or Nude Training Bras

I recommend a nude or beige training bra for young girls to wear under her uniform.  Unfortunately, I found very few choices. Here is one pullover style and one for those ready to try a traditional back closure.

Girls Maidenform Crop Bra
Girls Maidenform Solid Seamless Crop Bra

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Since my young shopper's favorite style was the racer back sports bra, I began looking for one in nude for her to wear with her school uniform. The collar on her polo tops hide the straps of a racer back bra from view. However, we can only find them in white. The white bra under the white shirt screams, hey look at me, I'm wearing a bra. And so, the hunt was on!

I struck out everywhere I looked.  I have searched every brick and mortar retailers and online store I can think of.  I found many cami styles that are offered in beige. Some brands offered them in 2 packs with one beige/one white.  But I cannot find a girls beige sports bra from any manufacture anywhere. I posted a plea on the Uniform Mom Facebook page asking for suggestions from other Moms.

One mom reported that her daughter loved a certain style from Hanes/Bali outlet store with thin racer back straps. Her reply even included a picture of it. I went to my local Hanes/Bali/Leggs outlet store and showed them the picture. The sales women there said they had never seen that style.  It's been 3 months and I still haven't found one. If you have, please share with us and add a link to it in the comments.

The Uniform Mom's Plea to Bra Manufactures

Thank you for offering so many styles and colors of training bras for young girls. Please, please consider adding a nude/beige racer back sports bra to your collection.  And offer them in 2 packs where both items are nude. Uniform wearing young girls and their Moms will thank you!

Friday, September 30, 2016

French Toast to Ship Internationally

French Toast - America's Most Popular School Uniforms for Less!

Heads up to our readers outside the US -
French Toast now offers international shipping.

Regular readers of this blog will recognize the brand French Toast as a US based children's school uniform and fashion retailer. You can order direct online and find their clothing in many US retail stores. International purchases are managed through Borderfree. They are sent to the Borderfree shipping hub in the United States and then Borderfree ships the order to its international destination.

You can read more about their company background the types of items they carry in their school uniform collection in our French Toast retail roundup post. Uniform Mom is an affilaite partner with French Toast, so you can also check out some of their products that have been reviewed or featured:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Retail Round Up: Under Armour

As more and more public schools adopt a uniform dress code, retailers are smart to design products that meet widely used uniform standards. Children's clothing retailers must compete in this market or be left out of game in the battle for a piece of the family back to school budget. I was surprised, but not shocked to learn that Under Armour has entered the school uniform market this fall.

Shop Under Armour School Uniforms – It's A Whole New Class.While no longer true with most modern school uniform brands, school uniform fabrics have historically had reputation of being hot and itchy. For this reason, today's athleisure loving generation of uniform kids who are already fans of the UA brand will be anxious to try the new school uniform items. Under Amour isn't a typical clothing retailer. It was founded in 1996 by Kevin Plank, a student at the University of Maryland.  He was a football player that hated changing his sweat soaked t-shirt that he wore under his uniform. He set out to find something better.  As the story goes, he designed the first Under Armoue HeatGear(r) T-shirt with moisture-wicking performance fibers, to keep cool and dry in the hottest conditions. Students wearing hot and itchy school uniforms (true or not) long for clothes to keep them cool and dry. Enter Under Armour as the new player in the school uniform market. 

The boys line includes a simple 4 item line up of shorts, chinos, short sleeve polos and long sleeve polos.  The girls line up includes the same items plus a skort.  Keeping it simple, they offer the same colors in both the boys and the girls collections. The tops are offered in white, navy, red and light blue.  The bottoms come in khaki and navy. Sizes include preschool, boys, husky, girls and plus. They also offer shoes, backpacks and lunch boxes for both boys and girls. Check out the full collection of School Uniforms from Under Armour.

Under Armour Boys' UA Uniform Long Sleeve Polo
    Under Armour Boys' UA Uniform Long Sleeve Polo
  • Super-durable, lightweight fabric keeps you cool 
  • Moisture Transport System wicks sweat & dries fast
  • Stain-resistant construction that won't shrink or fade
  • Small UA brand logo at the bottom hem so you can tuck it in for dress code
  • Cuffed sleeves & drop-tail hem. 
  • Polyester. Imported

Under Armour Boys' UA Uniform Chino Pants
    Under Armour Boys' UA Uniform Chino Pants
  • Soft, stretchy, breathable fabric delivers all-day, total comfort
  • Moisture Transport System wicks sweat & dries fast
  • Adjustable waistband with hidden hook & eye closure for a perfect fit
  • Flat-front pockets with hidden zipper & back-button pockets
  • Stain-resistant construction keeps them lasting longer
  • Straight leg27" inseam (size 12)
  • Cotton/Polyester/Spandex. 
  • Imported

Under Armour Girls' UA Uniform Skort

    Under Armour Girls' UA Uniform Skort
  • Soft, stretchy, breathable fabric delivers all-day, total comfort
  • Moisture Transport System wicks sweat & dries fast
  • Flat front waistband that's adjustable with side zipper
  • Stain-resistant construction keeps them lasting longer
  • Flat pleats around the whole skirt
  • Hem hits the top of the knee
  • Light loose bike short underneath skirt 
  • Cotton/Polyester/Spandex
  • Imported

Parents will not be excited to learn that their retail prices are the most expensive in the Uniform Mom price lists when compared to regular retail prices of competing brands. Because they are a new entrant in the market, we will have wait  to see if the items will be included in sales, discount promotions or available through their outlet stores.

While I haven't yet had the chance, I look forward to checking them out in person.  If you (or your child) has tried out any of the items from the Under Armour School Uniform collection, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.