Showing posts with label Product Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Product Review. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lands' End School Uniform Perfect Fit Pants and Interlock Polo, a Review

I'm working with Lands' End as a Brand Ambassador during the 2014 Back to School season. They gifted me school uniforms for me to evaluate so I could share my opinion of the items with you. All opinions are my own.


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(c) Rene Shonerd. All Rights Reserved.
Today we'll take a look at two classic wardrobe staples: the Girls' Perfect Fit Pants from the Iron Knee collection and the Girls' Feminine Fit Interlock Polo Shirt from Lands' End.



I love the updated fit of the School Uniform Girls' Perfect Fit Plain Front Blend Chino Pants. They aren't a skinny pant, but the cut of the leg is just a bit narrower than a straight cut style. I think this will be a popular choice for fashion forward young ladies that wear uniforms to school. My daughter is used to wearing boot cut pants because she really doesn't like the feel of skinny jeans or pants.  After putting them on, she pulled at the pant leg once noticing the difference in the style, but not being able to vocalize the difference at how they fit her closer in the leg.  I then paid close attention to see if she continued to tug at them, but she quickly got used to them not giving it another thought.



As a Mom, I also love the features and quality of these pants.  Because she is just growing into a new size, we had to take advantage of the adjustable waist and make it smaller.  This is her first pair of reinforced knee pants.  Back in preschool, she quickly blew out the knees on all her jeans and I had to resort to using iron on patches.  So, I know she's going to put these Iron Knee Pants to the test this year.  But the best part is the hem. 



Lands' End does the hemming for you! Yeah, it seems so old school for a retailer to hem your pants, but it makes so much sense.  I've never understood why women's pants are made all the same length while men's are sized both by waist and inseam.  With these quickly growing kids, it seems the standard pant sizes are either too long or too short.  With a custom inseam sized just to fit, it makes things simple.  Because beyond a simple button repair, I'm no good at sewing and I don't even have a sewing machine or have access to one. This is so awesome for me because most standard pants in my daughter's new size are a good four or five or more inches too long for her.



When you place your online order, you enter your child's inseam.  Now here's what's really important to know, there is no need to size up.  They make the adjustment for us to allow some wiggle room for the fabric to shrink under recommended laundering instructions and to allow some growing room. I measured my daughter's inseam at 20 inches and, as advised, entered her actual measurements when ordering.  The pants that arrived measure almost 22 inches.  And as promised they will give her room to grow, but they don't look noticeably long and are totally wearable at this length.
Girls' Perfect Fit Plain Front Blend Chino Pants - Khaki
Girls' Perfect Fit
Plain Front Blend Chino Pants

Features

  • Improved fit for comfort and flexibility
  • Little Girl & Big Girl sizes: New! reinforce patched Iron Knees for longer lasting wear
  • Wrinkle-resistant 60% cotton/40% polyester blend
  • Front & rear pockets
  • Little Girl & Big Girl sizes: adjustable inner waistband to fine-tune her fit
  • Little Girl sizes: easy-on elastic back & snap button close
  • Big Girl sizes: no-gap contoured waistband & FREE hemming available!
  • Women’s sizes: Contoured waistband prevents gaping at back
These pants are available in classic navy, khaki and black.  They are available in sizes to fit everyone: Toddler 2T - 4T,  Little Girls 4-7 (regular and slim), Big Girls 7 - 16 (regular, slim and plus), Junior and Adult (regular and tall). The regular retail price is $40.00.





(c) Rene Shonerd. All Rights Reserved.
The pants pair well with the School Uniform Girls' Short Sleeve Feminine Fit Interlock Polo Shirt. Personally, I prefer the feel of the interlock polos to mesh polos.  And this polo is SO super soft, made from 100% cotton.  It is by far the nicest kids' polo I've seen.  If your child is fussy about the texture or feel of fabrics, you should definitely check this one out.



I always advocate that you look for brands and items with the word "resistant" in its product claims.  This polo is said to resist stains, resists shrinkage and resists piling. No boxy fit either; the fit is distinctly all girl and shaped to be flattering to a young girls figure. It is machine washable for easy care. The other feature worth noting for uniform kids is that this polo hits the top of the hip, allowing the right amount of fabric to properly tuck in your uniform polo. 




Girls' Short Sleeve Feminine Fit Interlock Polo Shirt - White, L
Girls' Short Sleeve Feminine Fit

Features

  • She-shaped, plush 100% cotton
  • Enhanced fabric keeps colors true
  • Resists stains and shrinkage
  • Top-of-hip length with side vents
  • Shaped: Not too slim or too loose
  • Sized to allow for shrinkage, please wash before wear

This polo is offered in a dozen different colors, so you're sure to find your school's colors.  It comes in sizes for Little Girls 4-7, Big Girls 7 - 16, Junior and Adult (regular and tall). The regular retail price is $18.00. And when required or desired, you can get your school logo added to this polo. 



I really love both of these school uniform items.  These are high quality wardrobe staples that will last through the school year.



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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lands' End Phys Ed Performance T-shirt and Yoga Pants, Reviews

(c) Rene Shonerd. All Rights Reserved.
I'm working with Lands' End as a Brand Ambassador during the 2014 Back to School season. They gifted me school uniforms for me to evaluate so I could share my opinion of the items with you. All opinions are my own.
Affiliate Links in Use
Thanks for Supporting Uniform Mom

My daughter is a Daddy's girl. So she loved the new School Uniform Girls' Performance V-neck T-shirt from Lands End, because it is just like Daddy's shirts. She was referring to the feel of the polyester moisture wicking fabric. She tends to sweat just like a Daddy when running around in PE class or just playing on the playground at recess, so this shirt will serve her well on PE days for school. This v-neck style is a nice change of pace from the run of the mill crew neck t-shirt. The fit has a feminine shape, and the v-neck is sporty with the lower point of the V hitting higher on the chest.


(c) Rene Shonerd. All Rights Reserved.
At my daughter's school, the kids do not change clothes for Phys Ed class; instead they wear a PE uniform all day. So the antimicrobial feature to fight odor will be especially appreciated during the second half of the school day. The shirt is machine-washable making it easy to get it clean and refreshed for the next PE day.  It is available in white, classic navy and evergreen in little girl sizes 4-7, big girl sizes 7-16, and adult sizes S-XL. 


The shirt pairs well with active bottoms. And since my daughter is not a fan of typical sweatpants, she mainly wears yoga style pants to school on PE days. She was happy to try the School Uniform Girls' Yoga Pants. The pant legs are made with a simple elastic waist and a slight flare at the bottom of the leg which is flattering for both little girls and big girls. After trying them on, my daughter liked the way they fit her and, more importantly, how comfortable they felt to wear. I love the quality of the bottoms. They are thick enough that you can't see through them when she bends to touch her toes. I also like that they wash up easily in the laundry and that they will hold their shape due to the 7% Lycra blend. Uniform kids colors include black, navy, khaki, and gray heather.  For non-uniform kids or to add to your weekend wardrobe, they also come light fuchsia and purple. They are available in little girl sizes 4-7 and big girl sizes 7-16. 


This outfit is perfect for PE days. It's comfortable for my daughter to wear and easy for me to launder. I will likely get my daughter a second set because she has PE two days a week and for some reason they always fall on back to back days. And although our school's uniform policy only allows navy and white, both the pants and tops are offered in additional color options.


School Uniform Girls' Performance V-neck T-shirt - White
School Uniform Girls'

Features of the School Uniform Girls' Performance V-neck T-shirt:

  • Antimicrobial to fight odor
  • 100% polyester fabric wicks moisture away
  • Slightly shorter sleeves and a shaped waist for a feminine fit
  • Fast-drying so she stays comfortable


 

Features of the School Uniform Girls' Yoga Pant :

  • Super stretchy 93% cotton/7% Lycra® spandex blend
  • Stays true to size wash after wash
  • Wider elastic waistband goes easy on her middle
  • Shaped at sides for a boxy-free fit


The Lands’ End School Uniform Phys Ed Collection sets them apart from other retailers by offering one-stop shopping convenience to fulfill all the clothing requirements of the entire school uniform wardrobe. And also check out their great selection on footwear, backpacks, lunch bags, and accessories like neck ties and headbands.
 
 
 

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    Saturday, May 17, 2014

    FarFaria, a great app for early readers

    I was invited by FarFaria to try out their app. To facilitate this review, they gifted me a subscription to try it out for a few month.  My daughter is in first grade and her class has been focused on learning to read this school year.  My husband and I have been supporting the lessons at school by reading with her or reading to her every night. We have a nice collection of traditional paper books, as well as some electronic books on the iPad. So I was happy to take a look at FarFaria's offering because we welcome any additional access to books at her reading level.

    What's included with the App

    We downloaded the app with ease using search to find it in the iTunes store.  You can use the free version of the app getting access to one story per day. If you purchase the monthly subscription for $3.99, you get unlimited access to over 700 stories and new ones are added each week. You can also opt for the annual subscription for $39.99.

     How Does it Work

    It is skillfully designed with both images and words which enables toddlers and the earliest readers navigate around and explore the app. The stories are organized by categories such as Adventure Island, Animal Kingdom, Fairytale Forest, Mt. Make Believe, Classics Grove, Bedtime Bluffs, Good Land, etc.  When you tap to enter a grouping, you can then view the stores alphabetically, by reading level, newest or most popular.  We found that they have a nice choice of stories for reading levels in each grouping.  Ther are four different reading levels.

    FarFaria Mt Make Beleive image

    Once you select a book,you get 3 choices: Auto Play, Read to Me, and Read Myself.  When we selected the level one books, I had my daughter read those aloud.  Because she is currently a level 2 reader, her teacher suggested we have her re-read easier books to help improve her confidence reading.  We found that the level two and three books give her more of a challenge with words that might be new to her.  With books at a higher level, she can choose the "Read To Me" options.  This option highlights the words as the reader reads the word aloud so early readers can get exposure to more and more new words.

    FarFaria app, book selection image


    When you mark a book a favorite, it downloads a copy to the local device meaning you can use it in places where you don't have Internet access. We found this feature very useful on a recent road trip.  Our daughter was in the backseat by herself and she could open the app, find her favorite stories and select to have them read to her.  With headphones plugged into the iPad, this made for a peaceful trip for all of us.

    The Book Selection

    Our first night with the app, my daughter chose to read a title called the "Susie and the Snot Monster", which was about a little girl fighting off a cold. That same night we moved on to find many other titles we enjoyed. Over the past few weeks, we read some classics, some fairy tales, and some animal stories.  The category of "Preschool Playground" looks to contain titles that are now too simple for my daughter, but they are just the types of books we read with her when she was younger.  Families with 2 or more kids at different reading levels can find books at the right level for each one.  With so many titles to choose from, there really is something for everyone.

    While researching the app, I learned that the stories are independently sourced and illustrated which is why you won't find the same popular children's stories that you'd find at your local bookstore.  The classics section contains many stories made popular by Disney that many children enjoy, but here they are presented in traditional fashion.  A lesson I learned the hard way is that you need to be careful with classic titles.  We have a hardback book of classics and one night I was reading the little red riding hood to my then preschool aged daughter, I realized halfway through that it was a version of the story where the wolf eats Grandma and the woodsman kills the wolf and cuts Grandma out of its belly. Yea, a bit much for the preschool set.  So, I checked this app and was pleased to find a G rated version of the story where Grandma had been rescued by the woodsman from the closet. Whew- much easier than modifying the story on the fly.

    My take

    Our daughter is an avid iPad user, so she is very comfortable navigating around various apps.  We have purchased several different types of iPad books for her such as fully interactive stories as well as several classics that were nicely illustrated. While those titles were well done, they cost $3.99-$5.99 per title and she quickly grew tired of them.  I like how this app gives you access to so many stories for one flat subscription fee.

    In the evening, we welcome the pop up reminder, "Gather Round FarFarians,..." reminding us that it's story time.  In the few weeks we've been playing with it, we all (my husband, my daughter and I) enjoy using it and I think it is well worth the monthly subscription fee.  They recommend the app with kids 2-9 and I think that their recommendation is right on.  While my 7 year old enjoys chapter books, she isn't ready yet to read them on her own.  These titles are easy to match with her reading level.

    Try FarFaria

    iPad users can Download from iTunes and Android users can download from Google Play. The free version allows you to read one story every day for free with no obligation to pay. FarFaria is also sponsoring a giveaway which will be hosted here on Uniform Mom beginning on May 18th, 2014.  Two winners will each will receive a 3 month membership to FarFaria. (ARV $11.97)  Please check back to enter to win a 3 month subscription to FarFaria for you and your child to enjoy.

    You can also connect with FarFaria online at their website or via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Schoolbelles Side Pleat Skort, a Review

    (c) 2014 Rene Shonerd All Rights Reserved.

    The folks at Schoolbelles asked me to take a look one of the items from their regular uniform line of clothing. They sent me a gift of a skort as the basis for this review. No additional compensation was received.

    (c) 2014 Rene Shonerd
    All Rights Reserved.
    This skirt is a winner. The Side Pleat Skort with Knit Shorts from Schoolbelles has slight a-line shape which is flattering to most body types. It has two side pleats on the front  and 2 on the back. It has an elastic-back waistband to grow with your daughter and knit shorts built in for comfort and discretion. It has a side zip closure on the left side and a pocket on the right side.

    My daughter is just growing into a size 7. Parents of girls her age know that there is a big jump in length between 6/6x and 7 sizing with most retailers; 2 and a half inches difference for this particular item. This size 7 skort is hitting her just at the knee now and it will sit just above the knee as she grows into it. The classic length is a welcome change from the mid-thigh skorts that are currently popular at national retailers.

    This skirt is available in navy in girls' sizes 4 - 20. They also offer it in X sizes 6x - 20x which is similar to plus sizing. And they offer PT, or PreTeen sizing, which is recommended for tall girls with a narrow waist that need a longer skort length.

    (c) 2014 Rene Shonerd All Rights Reserved.
    We took this skort to play in a local park.  Because of the built in knit shorts, it is "playground friendly". As you can see, my daughter had total freedom of movement to climb all over the equipment.

    One of the features I admire about the Schoolbelles brand is their "180 School Days - Durability Guarantee". Because they are one of the few uniform suppliers that operates its own sewing factory in Cleveland, OH, they can better control quality and inventory levels year round. For families and schools looking for "Made in America" school uniforms, Schoolbelles is a great choice with a full line of school uniforms in plaids and basic solids.

    The fabric in this skirt is a blend of 65% polyester and 35% cotton twill. The fabric is durable and the quality of the workmanship is noticeable in the details. The pleats are stitched down, so they will stay crisp wash after wash.  It also has a 2 inch hem which could be adjusted, if needed.


    (c) 2014 Rene Shonerd All Rights Reserved.
    To launder the skirt, they recommend a machine wash and you simply hang it up to dry.  It retails for $39.95 in regular sizes and $43.95 in preteen sizes. While the price point is higher than you'll see at national retailers for similar style items, the quality makes this brand of uniform clothing a solid value that will stand up to the 180 school days guarantee. I bet that this skort will become a staple in my daughter's wardrobe that will last her through the next 2 years. Schoolbelle's also offers a value line of uniform items at a lower price point that works well with most standard dress codes and includes most uniform basics.

    Schoolbelles is based in Cleveland with store locations across the mid-west. They were recently featured in the Retail Round Up Series.  Those living near one of their store locations should definitely visit to check out the additional quality items in their inventory. The rest of us can visit their website and order online.  Their website is currently being redesigned and will launch with a new look and feel later this year.  If you're ready to browse their offering online today, I recommend clicking on General Catalog (the navy bar) from the left hand sidebar or to browse items from their list of Full Line catalogs.

    Schoolbelles is having a sale beginning today, Wednesday, April 16th through Saturday, April 26th. You can shop online, in-store or by phone at 1-888-637-3037.  To keep in touch and learn about their future sale notifications, Like their Facebook page and join their mailing list.

    Wednesday, January 1, 2014

    French Toast brand Skinny Stretch Twill Pant and Peter Pan Blouse, a Review

    I received complementary school uniform clothing items from Ideal Uniforms to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

    Ideal Uniforms offered me the opportunity to review their web site and several items of French Toast brand clothing. I had only recently learned of them, so I was happy to learn more about the company and the products they offer. They are based in New York with two retail locations in Brooklyn and Elmont. Those of us outside the NY area can visit their website. Below are a few quotes from the About Us page on IdealUniform.com.

    "For over 83 years, Ideal Uniforms has been a family owned and operated business. We specialize in designing and distributing professionally styled apparel, work-wear and outerwear for men, women and children. Ideal Uniforms is your one stop shop for all your educational, medical, corporate and scouting needs. Ideal presently outfits hundreds of schools, hospitals, boy and girl scout troops, and businesses. Ideal Uniforms has been a family owned and operated business. We specialize in designing and distributing professionally styled apparel, work-wear and outerwear for men, women and children."
    When I began researching Ideal Uniforms, I found some negative online reviews. Comments centered around two types of issues, poor customer service and inventory management. Knowing that most companies pay attention to online feedback, I asked if they had made any efforts to address customer concerns in these areas. Jack Kassab, a Vice President at Ideal Uniform, told me that they made a large investment this year in both areas. He said, "We now have a system which helps us with inventory control as well as forecasting to avoid running out of merchandise prior to school opening. We also made some changes in our customer service department and we have been getting great feedback."

    I had fun browsing the online store where school uniform items are organized together making it easy to view their selections. You can filter by gender and then type of clothing with logical groupings as "pants and shorts" and "blouses, knits and polos". You can also add additional filters by size and color. Because my daughter had recently outgrown her button up shirts, I selected both a French Toast brand short sleeve and a long sleeve peter pan blouses. I also selected the French Toast Girls Skinny Stretch Twill Pant. My final selection was a "Girl's American Doll Plaid Dress". I found these uniform dresses designed to fit the 18" dolls too cute to pass up. It is listed under Accessories and is available in many different plaid patterns. It made a perfect gift for my daughter since grandma planned to give her an American Girl doll as a Christmas gift this year. Personally, I had a positive experience shopping online with them. They contacted me via email to let me know the doll outfit was out of stock and requested feedback on how to fulfill the order giving me the option to wait until the items returned to stock or an alternate pattern. The correct items were shipped to me quickly as one complete order.

    © 2014 Rene Shonerd
    I had only previously seen the French Toast Girls Skinny Stretch Twill Pant online and in catalogs. They look skinnier in the photo than they really are. As you can see from my photo, they are thinner through the knee than a straight leg pants by about a 1/2 inch yet still have a boot cut bottom. These would be a nice option for girls that want to wear the currently fashionable skinny tight fitted pants if the school's dress code prohibit the fitted pants. They are made from cotton with 3% spandex which gives them the right amount of stretch. The do not have an adjustable waist. Instead they have several inches of sturdy elastic across the back to give them some wiggle room. Currently my daughter has been wearing a 6x in pants with any adjustable waist fully extended and no hem in the length. Her natural waist is a 22" while measuring the area where a waistband would hit her measures at 23". I ordered the French Toast girls size 7 pants which are labeled to fit a waist at 23 1/2" which seems about right since these are still just a bit too big for her. They fit nicely through the backside and the legs. They are labeled as machine wash cold, tumble dry low and iron when needed.


    © 2014 Rene Shonerd

    The peter pan blouses she'll be able to begin using right away. The fabric is 55% cotton and 45% poly. I ordered these in a size 7 also. Her similar blouses in a 6x are too short, showing her belly as she moves around and making it very difficult to keep her shirt tucked into her pants as her dress code requires. This short sleeve blouse fits her perfect. The long sleeve needs the sleeve turned up once which is expected as she is just growing into this size. The weight of the shirts are perfect for layering under a jumper or sweater; however, they are also thick enough to be worn alone or simply paired with a criss-cross tie. They are labeled as machine wash cold, tumble dry low and iron when needed. I put the "Wrinkle No More ™" fabric to the test. This photo shows the short sleeve blouse on the right straight from the dryer. The long sleeve blouse on the left I touched up with the iron. While I prefer the crisp look of the ironed blouse, I admit that I'd let my daughter wear it to school without ironing, especially if she would be wearing it under a jumper or sweater.

    Overall, I had a positive retail experience with Ideal Uniforms. I am also pleased with the quality of the French Toast brand items I received. I like that they stock school uniform items year round so you can find the items you need in stock mid-year. You can connect with them online on Facebook or on Twitter to get a heads up when items go on sale and find useful coupons codes. To learn more about the items they carry, check out the details from the Ideal Uniforms post in the Retail Round up series.

    Currently, Ideal Uniforms is sponsoring a giveaway that is being organized here on Uniform Mom. One lucky reader will win a prize pack which includes your choice of one top and one bottom of French Toast brand clothing for either a boy or girl! It ends on 1/13/14 at midnight ET. Enter now so you too can get a chance to pick out an school uniform outfit from Ideal Uniforms.

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    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    Children's Place School Uniform Cotton Sweater, a Review

    Last summer, I spent time researching clothing items for the "Best Bets" series for Back to School. When reviewing the options for girls school sweaters, I found that many retailers offered inexpensive acrylic sweaters, but only a few offered them in cotton.  The most budget friendly of the cotton sweaters was the Crew Neck Cardigan Sweater offered by The Children's Place. I picked one up in navy at the local outlet for my daughter to try this year.

    During the cooler months of the school year, I pack a sweater in my daughter's backpack everyday. Sometimes she comes home wearing it and sometimes it is still in her bag.  I never want her to be cold, so I make sure she always knows that there is a sweater in her bag. Each Friday, I put it in the laundry pile for the weekend.  Once clean, it goes back in the bag.  So this year, I alternated between her favorite sweater from last school year and this new one.  Both are made of cotton and very soft.

    Crew Neck Cardigan Sweater
    Children's Place
    Crew Neck Cardigan Sweater 
    I am pleasantly surprised that this Children's Place sweater has not shrunk or faded.  It has held it's color as a true navy through many washings so far this year. It still looks new and we're half way through the school year.  We found it to be true to size.

    It retails for $19.95.  It is still available online in limited quantities in white, pink and heather gray. Please note that these colors are online exclusives and can only be returned by mail. Recently, I was back at my outlet store again where I saw the navy sweaters were still available.  That day they were 30% off.

    These sweaters are great for school. They can be worn over a polo or peter pan blouse. They are also perfect for over a jumper or a even a "non-uniform" dress. And the cotton jersey fabric works well with casual as well as outfits for dresser occasions. If you are shopping for a boy instead, the Children's Place carries a Boys Uniform V-Neck Sweater in the same cotton jersey fabric.

    My daughter loves this sweater. Being honest, she only cares about two things. 1) Fit - if it's too tight she'll pull it right off. The sleeves on this sweater are just wide enough that she can comfortably wear her long sleeve polo under it on really cold days. and 2) Texture - it's gotta be soft. Itchy fabrics are a no-go for her. I like it too and would definitely recommend it. I care about price; it's a fair deal at regular price and an even better deal if you can catch a sale. I also care how it looks and how it holds up. Since it still looks good after 3 months of regular use, I would definitely buy this item for her again. In fact, I just picked up two more Children's Place cardigan sweaters in different colors and similar styles for her to wear over her Sunday School dresses.

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Lands' End Backpacks for School

    When we began shopping for my daughter's first school backpack, I checked out a few options online.  I read an article somewhere where a Mom said her kid goes through several back packs per school year.  She was buying inexpensive backpacks with the latest character at her local discount store.  After some quick math, you realize that you could end up spending more money on these poor quality items in one school year, than you would if you bought one quality bag, especially if you grab one on sale.

    The next thing I realized is that most backpacks that you find at major retailers only come in one size.  These bags are sized for older kids and adults.  If you have a younger child with a smaller frame, it will look larger than them and will hold more stuff than they should physically carry.  You occasionally see smaller preschool sized bags, but the in between sizes are harder to find.  Several retailers make quality back packs sized appropriately for elementary and middle school kids such as Lands' End, LL Bean, Pottery Barn and other specialty stores.

    (c) Rene Shonerd.
    All Rights Reserved.
    Last summer, after viewing a few online that I thought my daughter might like, we visited the local Sears store to check out their selection of Lands' End backpacks.  She liked the aqua one we saw online, but they only carried it in the larger size.  Even she agreed, it was too big.  We settled on a smaller white one with a pink and orange polka dot pattern.

    The design of the bag itself is basic and fully functional with everything you would need in a school bag.  It has two zipper compartments.  A bigger one in back to hold her folders, a change of clothes, or even her lunch bag.  The smaller area in the front of the bag is useful for smaller item like crayons and playdate cards. The bag has a strap with a snap closure across the front which is useful to to clip on another bag, as well as a smaller loop near the top.  Another must-have feature is the mesh water bottle holder on the side. In my opinion, the most critical feature in a backpack is the straps.  This bag has nice wide straps with padding; the length of the straps can be adjusted to fit your kid as they grow.

    My daughter used the bag everyday for school last year.  She also used it everyday for camp this summer. As you can see, most of the fabric on the bag is white and it still looks clean. I'm very pleased that it has held up beautifully for an entire year.  Since it is not yet showing signs of wear, I bet it will make it through at least another year and will be replaced only when she tires of this pattern.

    For the 2013 Back to School season, Lands' End has all new, redesigned, best backpacks in class. Below are two examples of the different styles. Find the right backpack and lunchbox for any size kid --shop today.Plus, receive free shipping on your orders over $50.

    Solid ClassMate  Medium Backpack - Red, Solid ClassMate Medium Backpack - Red,
    ClassMate® Medium Backpack is designed & tested to carry everything your kid needs for class and more. Additional features not listed above include: no-tip design; water-repellent finish; plus an ergonomic design with padded shoulder straps & back panels for comfort. 600-denier polyester body with 1200-denier base. Spot clean. Imported. 18"Hx12 1/2"Wx6 1/2"D. 1670 cu. in.



    School Uniform Solid FeatherLight  Medium Backpack - Aqua Pool, School Uniform Solid FeatherLight Medium Backpack - Aqua Pool,
    FeatherLight™ Medium Backpack is designed & tested to carry everything your kid needs for class, while lightening their school load. Additional features not listed above include: no-tip design; water-repellent finish; plus an ergonomic design for comfort. Spot clean. Imported. 18″Hx12″Wx7 1/2″D. 1500 cu. in.

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013

    Children's Place Uniform Shorts, a Review

    I picked up another pair of girls school uniform shorts at the Children's Place outlet in the spring. The regular retail price is $14.95, but you can frequently find them on sale.  Because they are 98% cotton, they are softer than some of the other brands we've tried. However, being cotton they do not look crisp and neat straight out of the dryer. They look better ironed.  They are available in khaki and navy in girls sizes 4-14.  The waist is adjustable.  They come with a cute ribbon belt. My daughter is still too young to manage it on her own, so she hasn't used it. It would be a great for older girls.

    The other day helping my daughter with a quick change to head to an after school activity, she expressed frustration with the button on these shorts. As a first grader, she can manage smaller buttons without assistance, but seems to prefer bottoms with the 'hook and slide' closures.

    We now have a few pair of these shorts and they all have held up well to frequent wearings and washings. The color has held up well and they seem to get softer after each time through the laundry.  I used to iron them each week for her, but these days I'm too busy blogging to iron these days. ;)

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    Kiddo Tags, great for school uniforms and items for summer camp

    I wasn't able to attend my daughter's soccer game this morning.  Instead, I took the morning off and went to the salon for a much overdue haircut   When the family arrived home, my husband announced that he was heading back to the soccer fields because they had left her favorite hoodie laying on the sidelines. I was doubtful that her hoodie would still be there, but it was worth a shot.

    KiddoTags packaging, photo by UniformMom

    By coincidence, I had just been contacted by Gabby Turner at KiddoTags. She offered to gift me some tags so I could check them out.  I recently shared a post citing research from a UK retailer that found families could spend over 150 pounds annually replacing lost school uniforms but don't use labels that can help prevent it. And even though I had learned this and planned to get some labels, I hadn't yet done so.  So while hubby was out trying to retrieve our daughter's favorite hoodie, my daughter and I sat down to order up some labels.  For obvious reasons, I was immediately drawn to the clothing labels.



    From the Kiddotags Laundry Safe Peel and Stick Clothing Tags product description:
    "Made to stay on during use, but possible to remove when you are ready to donate your clothing, or pass them down to friends and family. Since it is possible to remove these labels, we recommend you buy Iron-On Tags for a permanent solution."
    Since I'm an advocate of clothing exchange programs and hand me downs, I wanted to try out this type of product.  I wondered how many times I could wash the item before the tag would need to be replaced.

    Shopping on the site was a good experience.  Once you select the type of product you want to order, you can then customize it.  Selecting the color was easy; aqua blue is my daughter's favorite color. You'll be able to choose from a wide variety of colors to suit your child(ren).  My daughter enjoyed browsing all of the character icons. She had a hard time deciding between the daisy, the duck, the dolphin, butterfly, or the panda. They have over 200 images to choose from, so whatever your kids is in to from sports to animals, to dolls and flowers, bugs and pirates, you'll find an image your child will like.  The third choice you get to make is font and they have a decent amount of fun and readable fonts to choose from.  You get to include up to 2 lines of text. I chose to put her name and our phone number on the clothing tags.  Because of our current predicament, I though that if another Mom picked up her hoodie on the soccer field that afternoon, she could easily contact us via phone.

    hanging kids coats, photo by UniformMomMy husband returned from the soccer fields and amazingly he had found her hoodie right where they had left it. When those tags arrived, guess which item I reached for first!

    I first tagged the items most likely to go missing, her coats - the raincoat and her hoodie. I then tagged her cardigan sweaters since she carries one in her backpack everyday.

    American Eagle Flip Flops, photo by Uniform Mom

    Because my daughter will be attending a day camp this summer, I also ordered up some Shoe Dots Kiddo Tags.  At camp, she'll be changing clothes twice a day for swimming. A likely opportunity to loose her sneakers, water shoes or her flip flops, right?  So we'll be tagging all of her shoes for camp.  So far, I tagged the flip flops and her sneakers. I didn't put our phone number on these, just her full name.

    Once camp started, I realized that I should tag her swimsuit. I wasn't sure which of the two types of tags might work better, so I tied one on each piece of her tankini. I placed them inside the tag as to not scratch her skin in the fitted swimsuit.  It's now been three weeks of regular use in the pool and through a few cycles in the washing machine, and both tags are still securely attached.

    Each day, She goes to camp with two beach towels, so I tagged those too.  They also have remained in place through the weekly laundry cycles.

    Overall, my experience with KiddoTags has been great.  Customizing our tags online was fun and the products have worked as described.  In addition to laundry safe labels, they offer dishwasher safe labels, daily labels, shoe dots, bag tags, as well as medical and allergy alert tags and bracelets.

    And here are a few factoids from their website that you might feel good about:
    "Kiddo Tags™ are printed in the USA, and operated by a stay-at-home mom. FREE SHIPPING (USA orders over $35) and a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee."
    If you'd like a chance to win a $50 voucher from KiddoTags.com, stop back on August 2, 2013 when we'll be kicking off a giveaway.

    Currently you can purchase a $40 credit to use at KiddoTags for $20 over at Mamapedia.  Act quick because this deal is only offered for the next 4 days.

    KiddoTags.com provided me with products to evaluate in order to facilitate this review. All opinions shared are my own unless specifically otherwise stated.


    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    A Year in Reviews-Kindergartner's School Uniform clothing items

    Microsoft Clip Art MP900422812

    School's out!

    It seems like just yesterday we were attending Preschool graduation. Tomorrow is the last day of school for our daughter, and I can't believe how fast this school year has gone. During her first year at elementary school, she has made new friends and learned many new things, probably most importantly reading and writing simple sentences and basic addition and subtraction.  Socially, she made new friends and learned how to hold her own on the playground with the big kids at after school care.

    Since she started Kindergarten at a school with an established uniform dress code, she doesn't know any different when it comes to school clothes. I've become a fan of the uniform dress code because it makes getting dressed for school each day very simple.  After I learned which stores carry uniform collections, shopping for her clothes is simple.  I've become a fan of several brands that have held up well for her this past school year.  Some items didn't work so well, and we'll skip over those during next year's shopping.  I've learned when things go on sale and learned to spot a bargain on the quality items.  

    As we wrap up the school year, I thought I'd look back at the items from my daughter's Kindergarten wardrobe that I've reviewed this school year. Last fall, I set out to buy a week's worth of school clothes and hoped to pick items that would last the full year.  Each of these represent lessons learned- some good and some bad.
    (photo used with permission from Microsoft)

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    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Izod Flat Front Uniform Skirt, a review

    One of the first uniform items I bookmarked to purchase for my daughter was the Izod Flat Front Uniform Skirt. The flat front a-line style is a bit different from the standard scooters and pleated skirts.  Maybe I was drawn to it because it is a style I would choose for my wardrobe. It is available to purchase at JCPenney. It comes in navy and khaki in girls sizes 4-16. It is made from a cotton polyester blend.  

    I ordered the navy one online. It has held it's color well through many washings, but it does need pressed to return to a crisp smart look.  The skirt has a zip fly with a hook and latch closure at the top that is easy for little fingers. But it also has a tab of fabric that snaps over to the left under, yes, under and between a double belt loop.  It couldn't be in a worse spot and is therefore difficult to button. Since it is a skirt and not a skort, I can assist my young daughter with this snap in the morning, and then she doesn't have to mess with it during restroom visits during the school day.  But that brings me to my second criticism of this item, I have developed a strong preference for my daughter to wear skorts or scooters instead of skirts. The convenience of a built in shorts beats having to wear bike shorts underneath.

    Despite my criticisms, I do keep this skirt in her regular wardrobe rotation. Why? Because she looks SO darn cute in it.   In the warmer months, she wears it with bike shorts underneath and basic cuff socks.  As it got cooler, we switched to knee socks, then tights through the winter months.  
    The classic style of the skirt paired with a polo is just perfect throughout the school year.  At the regular retail price of $10, it is worth a little ironing. 

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    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Land's End School Uniform Girls' Kiki 3-strap Skimmer Shoes


    (C) Rene Shonerd. All Rights Reserved.
    I wasn't shopping for school shoes, but happened upon the Winter sale on Land's End items at Sears this past winter.  I spied the Girls' Kiki 3-strap Skimmer Shoes - Classic Navy, 13 which are cute navy slips-ons.  They were the last box on the shelf and happened to be in my daughter's size at something like 60% off!  At that great price, I thought they would be a great shoe to wear to Sunday school with her dresses on the weekend.  I tried to purchase clothes for Sunday school in pretty bright colors since it is really one of the only times she isn't in uniform.  But I did intentionally choose outfits that would coordinate with, or at least not clash with, her basic school shoes.

    Because these shoes are solid navy, she can also wear them to school on occasion with a skirt or dress.  As a slip on style, they aren't as good running around at recess.  My daughter is also in the after school program which allows for additional playground time each day, weather permitting.  Once she got them quite dusty and dirty with mud from the playground.  After a simple dust off with a shoe brush, they still look fine. For an older girl that doesn't spend as much time on the playground, I think these shoes would be a great option for an occasional school shoe.

    These flats have a suede upper and come in navy and black.  They have 3 elastic straps across the front of the foot with silver buckles. It regularly retails for $44.

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    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    Stride Rite Carla, a quality shoe for school

    Regular readers of Uniform Mom already know how I feel about shoes made from "Man Made Materials". In case you've missed my rants, I'm not a fan. So when it come to basic, everyday shoes, I definitely prefer quality and comfort for my daughter.

    After some initial missteps with uniform shoe shopping, I end up going back to Stride Rite to order quality school shoes for my daughter. I ordered the Carla, the classic Mary Jane, in navy.  I was lucky  to happen on a BOGO sale in early fall. My daughter has worn these shoes at least 3 days a week since September.  They have survived the normal wear and tear, as well as the daily abuse on the playground.  She hasn't yet outgrown them.


    The Carla shoe is available in black, brown and navy in sizes from a Toddler 8.5 though a Girls 5 in regular, wide and extra wide. They are made with a leather upper.  The sole is flexible lightweight, rubber. The heel has padded collar for comfort. The Mary Jane style has an adjustable Velcro closure that is easy for little kids to do themselves.


    What do I love about this shoe for my daughter?
    • It has held up to daily use and abuse.  The sole is still in good shape, the strap does not have any signs of tearing or unusual wear. The leather is holding up with no spots that have worn through or discolored.  
    • They don't stink.  Lets just say my daughter's socks come off her feet stinky and sweaty at the end of the day, but the shoes themselves aren't stinking up the place.
    • My daughter thinks they are comfortable and doesn't complain when I ask her to put on her school shoes.  
    • With the Velcro closure, my daughter can put these on herself and quickly get out the door for school. 
    What don't I love about these shoes for my daughter?

    The wear's impact on the color of the shoe.  I ordered the navy to match her navy pants and skirts.  When new, the navy color of the leather was never a deep navy blue, it was closer in color to a a mid blue.  And at this point, the wear is taking a toll on the color. Even though they are structurally in decent shape, they now appear dull and lifeless.

    So I bought another pair of these in the next size up and put them away so we have them when we need them.  But now that I pulled them out of the closet to compare them with the ones she's been wearing all year, I realized that the extra pair I have is the Molly, not the Carla.  The Molly is another classic Mary Jane offered by Stride Rite.  When I compare them side by side, there is a subtle difference is the stitching pattern on the side of the shoe.  The leather appears different.  The Molly has a subtle shine to it.  The Carla that we bought in the fall of 2012 look almost suede.  I kind of wonder if  the Molly is the Outlet version of the Carla. I  dug through my receipts and found that I only paid $12.85 for them on sale at the Outlet store. Wow, If they hold up half as well as the Carla, I'll  brag about the great deal I got on these.

    So would I buy the Carla again, yes.  The pros definitely outweigh the cons.   However, I am happy that we have a subtly different version for my daughter to try next.  I'll report back if these hold up any better or worse.  

    So you tell me.  I know this is a very popular girls uniform shoe.  Please let me know how either shoe, the Carla or the Molly, has held up for your daughter.

    The Carla is available directly from Stride Rite (online or in their stores and outlets), as well as other retailers including Amazon. They retail for $46.  Yea, I agree its kind of pricey, but it is worth it.  If you're on a tight budget, sign up for the Stride Rite Rewards program and look for the 30% off coupons or a BOGO sale.

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    Below is a video from the Tootsies Stride Rite which highlights the features of the shoe.




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    Wednesday, May 8, 2013

    Saucony Radar LT LTT Sneakers, a Review

    I have been buying my daughter's shoes at Stride Rite since her first pair of white leather baby shoes. I've become a big fan of the quality of their products.  We've had many pairs of sneakers from their stores over the past few years. She typically outgrows them before she wears them out. My daughter has wide feet, and I love that their inventory includes a good number of items in a wide width.

    My daughter's school dress code requires that she wear navy, black or plain white sneakers on PE days. I normally shop at my local Stride Rite outlet store, but in this case I bought her school sneakers online for convenience.

    The Saucony Radar LT LTT is available in solid white or black.  It comes in children's sizes in regular and wide widths.  It has a leather upper and a lace up closure. This model of sneaker does not seems to be available through Stride Rite anymore, however, they are still available through ShoeBuy.com and the similar style with a Velcro closure is still available through Amazon in toddler and children's sizes.

    The kids at her school have PE class twice a week, so she has worn these shoes at least 2 weekdays and normally on the weekends since September. I just had her foot measured to make sure, but her foot hasn't grown a measurable amount since the school year started.

    How have they held up? Beautifully. Because they are leather, you can simply brush off the dirt and wipe them off every once in a while. While they are no longer "new" white, they are still recognizable as a white sneaker. The sole is still in tack showing normal wear on the bottom. The lining inside the shoe is worn, but not ripped up.

    I'm now thinking ahead to summer camp where she is allowed to wear colorful sneakers and I have my eye on a pair in her favorite color. But the practical side of me thinks, Why? These sneakers still fit, they are still in great shape and she's not complaining about them.  We'll see if they make it through the spring and summer too.



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    Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    Children's Place Girls Active Wear - Great for PE Class

    As a toddler, my daughter wore quite a few active wear outfits from Children's Place. You know, they are the mix and match sets that are always set out of tables at the entrance of the store. I liked that the fabric has a bit of stretch to it. Especially the leggings because they hugged the shape of her cute little toddler legs, instead of getting baggy at the knee after a bit of playtime.

    Now that she is school aged, Children's Place is still my go-to brand for her Phys Ed clothes. My daughter's class has PE twice a week.  They do not change into PE clothes for class, but wear them all day. The school's uniform policy outlines which types of clothing items are acceptable for PE days.


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    For spring and fall, we also like the Active Skort which is a cotton knit with shorts built in underneath. It is available in a bunch of colors and patterns that seem to change each season. For us, the navy blue works well for the school uniform policy. They are also available in black, white and 3 other bright colors.  This season they also have some in colorful stripes. They are made of 95% cotton/5% spandex jersey with an elastic waist and knit shorts built in underneath.  They come in sizes XS - XL.  The retail for $10.50 and are frequently on sale.

    During the winter months, my daughter likes the fold over active pants for PE days.  They are made from 94% cotton and 6% spandex.  They have a fold over waist and are slightly flared at the bottom of the leg, so they are not a true legging style. They are available in classic uniform colors, navy, black and gray.  The retail for $14.50 and are frequently on sale.

    We pair these bottoms with the white organic t-shirts from H&M for a comfortable outfit that allows her to move freely and enjoy PE class.


    What are your go to items for PE clothes?  Please let me know in the comments below.