Thursday, March 7, 2013

Building a Boys School Uniform Wardrobe

The following is a guest post by Amber Brown Vivis.  Amber is a working Mom of two boys ages 7 and 3.  She lives southwestern Pennsylvania, just outside Pittsburgh.
boy in uniform polo Microsoft Clip Art MP900442301
Even though my son is in 2nd grade, this is my first year as a “uniform mom”. Last year our school board approved a new dress code that would go in to effect starting in the 2012-2013 school year. Students are now required to wear black, blue or brown/tan bottoms that fit around the waist and should not drag on the floor; kindergarten through 6th graders are permitted to wear jeans/denim. There also cannot be any more than 4 pockets – so no cargo pants. Shirts must have a collar and can be a solid color, plaid or striped, and could have a small emblem or logo on the upper front corner – sweaters are also permitted over the collared shirts. This was a big change from his usual “comfy” pants and t-shirts!

The best thing about this dress code policy as the mother of a boy, is that khaki pants and polo shirts are easy to find, so we could still shop in most of the stores we always had, like Crazy 8, Old Navy, Target, and Children’s Place. We started out the school year with 2 pairs of shorts (since some days in September are still warm), 10 short sleeved polo shirts and 5 pairs of pants. This way if I didn’t do laundry during the week, he still had enough clothes to wear. We’ve added some button down shirts, 6 long sleeved polo shirts and a few more pairs of pants. He also has a few sweater vests for when the weather is extremely cold; it was a compromise because he just didn’t like the bulk of a sweater over the collared shirts. Unfortunately, we’re getting to the point of the school year that his pants are getting too short and he’s blown out the knees. I had to buy a few more pairs of pants over the last few weeks because I’ve lost 2 or 3 to giant holes in the knees and a few other pairs are getting too short.
The biggest challenge that I face in buying pants that fit in to the district’s dress code policy, is finding pants that fit my son properly. He is tall and thin, so there are many that just do not fit him in the waist. Many of the pants do have the adjustable waist band, but dress pants that are too big in the waist also tend to be too big in the crotch and look terrible. I’ve had the best luck at Nordstrom – it seems that almost all of their pants are cut slimmer. However, unless I can find them on a great sale there, I can’t justify spending Nordstrom prices on pants that my 7 year old is either going to outgrow or blow the knees out within 6 months. If anyone knows of pants that are reasonably priced and cut slim, I’d love to know about them!
I didn’t know what to expect when we were notified of the changes at the end of the last school year. Would he fight me in the mornings because he wanted to wear his favorite t-shirt? Would I be able to find clothes that didn’t break the bank – especially because I now would have to buy 2 separate wardrobes? All in all, I think it may be easier. There’s never a question about what to wear and his clothes tend to stay nicer since they’re strictly “school clothes”. I’ve also heard from the teachers that the kids really like it and seem to take pride in dressing nicely.

(Photo used with permission from Microsoft.)


  1. During my retail review of Children's Place, I found that they carry boys school uniform pants in a Slim style in black, navy and khaki. Check them out

  2. And Walmart offers a boys slim pant too. The 2 pack bundle is $20. Can beat it: