Showing posts with label Target. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Target. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

What's New with the Cat and Jack School Uniform Collection at Target For Back To School 2017

Last summer Target launched the Cat and Jack brand of children's clothing. It's school uniform collection which replaced the Cherokee brand line in their stores. Although I found the uniform styles and quality of the items comparable to the Cherokee collection, I was disappointed in the color selection of "nightfall blue" for many of the uniform basics. It is not a true navy and I suggested shoppers look elsewhere if navy basics are required at your school.

New color - Navy Voyage

I was delighted to see that many of the uniform basics have been updated this season to a color called "navy voyage". I checked it out in person today and it appears to be a shade darker than the "nightfall blue" in last year's collection. Some of the girls ponte items are still offered in the nightfall blue such as the two button knit scooter, the ponte knit dresses and the safari dress. However the chinos, shorts, the boys polo shirts (not the girls) and the girls polo dress are updated to the navy voyage color. I will keep an eye out to see if they continue to update the remaining girls items from nightfall blue to navy voyage in the upcoming months.

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Girls Pleated Scooter 

I believe the girls pleated scooter is a new item in the collection  this year.  It includes built in shorts underneath. The product description boasts an adjustable waist which differentiates it from the similarity styled item from French Toast which only offers an elastic waist.  It is a rayon/poly blend which is offered in navy and khaki in girls sizing 4 - 16, and plus.  The regular retail price is 12.99.

Pricing and Other Brands

The Cat and Jack school uniform collection is competitively priced, even at regular full price.  Luck for us, they frequently are on sale or included in discount promotions on clothing items. 

Target also continues to carry items from the French Toast, Dickies, and Eddie Bauer school uniform collections. With such a wide offering of brands, you can find sizing for preschoolers, kids, plus and husky, as well as juniors sizing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Skater Skirt Trend Arrives in School Uniform Collections

I have been loving the skater skirts and dresses for girls. It is nice to see this trend making its way to the school uniform collections of major retailers.  Because the skirts are full and loose at the bottom, check if they include built in shorts.  If not, you will want to have a comfortable garment to wear underneath that offers modesty without bulk.  If you need some ideas, check out one of our most popular posts on modesty on the playground.

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Here are some examples of new girls skater skirts in school uniform collections:

Cat & Jack Girls' Ponte Knit Skater Skirt 
This skirt has an elastic, but not an adjustable waist, so check the size chart to get a good fit.  It has shorts built in underneath. It is made from a shrink resistant ponte knit fabric and offered in navy and khaki. It retails for $12.99.

Children's Place Girls Ruffled Skater Skirt
This pull on skirt is made of 73% polyester/23% rayon/4% spandex. Note - no built in shorts underneath. It retails for $16.95.  It is offered in navy or gray.

Girls Solid Side Button Skirt Top of Knee-White Plaid,6

This button skirt has the cut of a skater skirt with the cute button detail on the side.  This skirt is different from those above because it features an adjustable inner waistband in girls sizes. The toddler style has an elastic back waistband. It is 65% polyester/ 35% rayon Easy-care fabric resists stains, wrinkles & fading. It has a single pocket on the right hand side.  It retails for $35 and is available in gray, navy and khaki.

Izod Skater Scooter Skirt
This option has shorts built in! It is available in toddler and girls regular and plus sizes at JCPenney. It retails for $24.  It has an elastic waist, but not the adjustable waist, so check the sizing chart before ordering.

Friday, July 15, 2016

New at Target for 2016: Cat & Jack School Uniforms

A few weeks ago, I logged into to order another Cherokee brand scooter for my daughter. My daughter had been wearing the same one for several years. It had become a wardrobe staple and I was hoping to order one in the next size up.  Instead, I couldn't find it online.  Upon further investigation, I realized that all Cherokee items had disappeared from their website.  I became suspicious and began to research this further.  When I visited Cherokee's website, I found no mention of school uniforms at all. I placed a call to Target to learn more. While awaiting a call back, I happened to stop in our local Target store and noticed a new brand in the girls clothing department.

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Cat and Jack ™ is a new line of kids clothing available at Target that officially will launch on July 17, 2016. In Target stores, it will replace both the Circo and Cherokee brand items. While the new collection includes school uniform items, it also features everyday fashion items. The Cat and Jack ™  items come with a guarantee for 1 year. The return policy supports this quality claim with a statement that "Cat and Jack ™  products are made to last, but if something doesn’t or if you’re unsatisfied for any other reason, you can make returns up to one year after purchase."

Here are some other interesting things from the media release:

Q: What materials are used to make the products?
A: You’ll see a lot of soft, comfy cotton knits. And there’s a sustainable polyester material called Repreve used in some of the denim & pocket bags. Its fibers are removed from plastic bottles that have been melted to a liquid state, a process that allowed us to recycle 6 million plastic bottles during the production of the fall Cat & Jack assortment alone.
Q: How involved are kids in developing the Cat & Jack product?
A: For the Big Kid collection, kids ages 6–11 gave feedback on everything from legging prints to tee graphics. They also created looks with their favorite items to share how they would mix and match items in the brand.

The school uniform items arrived in my local Target store last weekend.   Despite my daughter's pleas that it is still too early to be shopping for school uniforms, I spent some time checking them out. The quality of the items seem comparable to the Cherokee brand and the uniform items are also very similar in style.  The sizing will include extended sizing in slim and plus options. I am excited for this new line and I'm anxious to try the products. My criticism of the new school uniform line is that the "nightfall" color is not a true navy. It is a lighter shade of blue that may not pass inspection at schools with rigid uniform policies and enforcement procedures. If navy is the required color at your school, I would recommend you shop elsewhere.

The Cat and Jack ™ boys school uniform collection includes flat front or pleated pants with a reinforced knee, short and long sleeve polos, short sleeve oxfords, button up cardigan,  a sweater vest, a windbreaker jacket, and socks.

The Cat and Jack ™ girls school uniform collection includes more options.  The bottoms include a flat front pants with a reinforced knee, a ponte knit pant, a stretch twill capri, a two button ponte knit scooter, and a skater skirt. There are several styles of dresses including a pique pleated tennis dress, a short sleeved ponte jumper, a woven pleated jumper, a belted safari dress, and a sleeveless ponte dress and a woven plaid jumper in 2 different plaids.  Tops include short and long sleeve polos and woven blouses Sweaters include a short sleeve pullover sweater with the built in blouse, a cable knit cardigan, and a v neck button up cardigan.  The collection also includes coordinating socks, tights and hair accessories.

(photos from the Target Cat and Jack ™ 2016 lookbook)

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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.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Featured Basic: Circo Girls' Long Sleeve T-Shirt

My daughter wont wear basic Unisex t-shirts,  like a basic (think Hanes) crewneck. We have a bunch, mostly received via hand me downs featuring logos of our local sports teams and a few we've purchased for her from the PTA that feature some school related program. The ones sold by the PTA are approved under the uniform policy for PE days. Regardless, she won't wear them.

In Kindergarten, she loved the organic cotton basic t-shirt from H&M. But the next season, we moved away from that brand because the organic tees became really hard to find and the regular basics were tissue paper thin and cheap looking. We switched to the basic tees from the Children's Place. Like the H&M ones, they came in both a short and long sleeve version, so they were an easy go-to item to pick up each season. But this winter, I came across a basic Girls Long Sleeve T-shirt at Target (update - this item is no longer available) that we like better.  It is a Circo brand soft knit jersey that is 60% cotton and 40% poly.  The fabric is very soft like some of her best interlock polos.  It is a heavier weight t-shirt giving more warmth in the colder months.  It is also very stretchy.  The detail around the crewneck collar adds a feminine touch. It is offered in fresh white, black, mint and purple.  The fresh white is perfect for uniform kids to wear under jumpers or by itself on PE days.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Hunt for Girls Boot Cut Yoga Pants

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We have been fans of the Bootcut Foldover Active Pants from Children's Place for several years. My daughter doesn't like tight fitting leggings, so she much prefers boot cut or flare yoga pants.  Both for weekend wear and for PE wear for school, she has worn and outgrown many pairs of these active pants. I shared thoughts about them in a previous post touting that they are great for PE days.

Over last summer, our daughter grew an inch or two, so her navy PE pants were getting too short.  I logged onto the Children's Place website to order a few new pair. Much to my disappointment, they changed them.  And these new active pants just aren't working for us.

In the past, the active pants came in numbered sizes (4 - 14) making it easy to move up a size with each growth spurt.  Now the active pants come only in sizes, XS thru XL.  This eliminated 3 sizing options for the girls from 8 sizes to only 5. My daughter wears a size 8 or 9 in most brands that offer numbered sizing. She is currently too tall for the medium size, but the large is too big in the waist and way too long for her.  The active pants in the size large seem as long as other brands pants in a kids 10-12 size.   I recall we had similar difficulty finding pants when she was between a 6X and a 7. There was a 4 inch difference in the inseam with most brands.

The Children's Place also changed the fit of the leg on the active pants. The bootcut pants had a "slightly flared leg opening for a flattering fit".  The leg of the Skinny Foldover Active Pant is a straight leg pant.

The Children's Place change in sizing of the active pants combined with the change in the leg style has us shopping other brands.  So, I then logged on to another of my favorite go-to sites, Lands' End. I was surprised to learn that the Girls Yoga Boot Cut Pants are now also only offered in XS - XL sizes. I reviewed them for the Back to School season in 2014 and at that time, they were offered in numbered sizes 4 - 16.

I am not liking this trend of eliminating the numbered sizing options.  I can understand that it is better for the retailer making inventory management easier, etc.  But as a Mom, this is frustrating.  Like most Mom's, I take care to provide appropriate clothing for my child to wear.  I don't like her wearing "floods", or pants that are too short, or shirts that are too snug with her belly hanging out the bottom.  On the other hand, I hate when the next larger size is so big it looks like she's drowning in it.

If I had the time and skill, I could alter the items to fit her properly.  But I'd much prefer to have the option to buy her a size that fits, with just a bit of wiggle room to grow.

As I end my rant and this hunt, I concluded the hunt after finding that the medium size Girls' Yoga Pants at Target were 2 inches longer than the size 7 Children's Place active pants.  I found one pair at our local store. Then, a friend gave us a pair of size 8 hand me downs from Lands' End.  This is getting her through her two back to back PE days each week, at least until the next growth spurt. Then while I was in a Children's Place Outlet store just last weekend, I found a few pair of the number sized boot cut active pants in navy that were left over from the previous season.  I bought 2 pair.  I would have bought them in the next size up, but sizes were limited. The boot cut style disappeared from the Children's Place website for a few months, but I see that they are offered again now.  I'm hoping this is a sign that they are coming back and not just a short lived, inventory clearance offering.

Are you noticing this trend too?  Have you had trouble finding leggings for school that fit properly? Tell us what your noticing and add your opinion in the comments below.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cherokee Girls Pleated Scooter, a Review

One of our favorite scooters is this Girls Pleated Scooter by Cherokee.  I was reviewing old posts over the holiday break and I couldn't believe I hadn't written about it yet.  I think we got ours from the uniform exchange program second-hand several years ago.  But it is such a classic that you can still find it at Target online.

The reasons we love it-

  • The box pleats are classic without being too traditional.  

  • It is a scooter with shorts built in for modesty.  It has a side zipper closure. They can be a bit tricky for the youngest students, but my daughter doesn't mind it.

  • The fabric has held up very well over time. it comes in both navy or khaki.  As I mentioned above, I think we got this scooter second hand and my daughter has been wearing it for 3 years.  It still looks great.  The material is listed as a 60/40 cotton poly twill blend with a peached fabric treatment.  The label says to machine wash in cold water and tumble dry on low heat.  I throw this skirt in a load with all of our workout wear then hang it on a hanger to dry. No ironing needed. 

  • Did I mention the adjustable waist? This is why my daughter has been able to wear it for so long. While she's gotten taller and stronger, she hasn't grown more than an inch or so in the waist since Kindergarten. We adjust the waist a button or two each season. 

  • This scooter has an above the knee length which is another reason it has stayed in the active wardrobe rotation for so long. Many skorts that would otherwise still fit became too short as my daughter has grown taller.  Those were taken out of rotation and passed along to the uniform exchange program. Because this one was designed to hit above the knee, it is still long enough for her to wear and pass the fingertip test.

  • The classic styling, the longer length, and the quality fabric make this scooter a winner. When my daughter does finally outgrow this one, I'm sure we'll order another one.

    Monday, April 20, 2015

    Frugal Find: Cherokee Girls Knit Blazer

    The Frugal Find Series shares uniform pieces for boys and girls that comply with uniform dress codes at many public, private, charter and parochial schools. Because many of these items are on clearance, they may not be available in all colors and sizes. You'll have to act quickly to snag the deal.

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    I love this Cherokee® Girls' School Uniform Knit Blazer which is sold at Target as an online exclusive. Knit blazers are comfortable, like a sweater, but look smarter. They work well as an extra layer most of the year, but are perfect during the season transitions as a light jacket. This version has a more feminine shape and features the less formal, three button style with the shawl collar. It also has cute detailing on the front pockets. It is on clearance and still available in navy small and x-large.  It normally retails for $24.99 and is on clearance for just $8.74.

    Monday, July 15, 2013

    School Uniforms at Target, Retail Round Up Series

    During the Back to School shopping season, you're likely to notice a few racks of school uniform clothing in the boys and girls departments at your local Target store. You can also purchase uniform items through their website.  Online, they make it easy to find them by organizing them together through a main navigation menu (under Kids, select School Uniforms).

    The school uniform selection is limited to one or two choices of the basic items, such as pants, shorts, polos, skorts, jumpers, and shoes. They carry items from three different brands: French Toast, Cherokee and Classroom.

    If your local store is like mine, you'll be hard pressed to find uniform items in stores after the school year has gotten underway. And from what I've observed over the past year, they do not maintain availability online throughout the school year either.

    Target promotes that they offer quick, easy returns.  I have found this to be true for me for both in-store purchases and online purchases. Most items in new condition can be returned with a receipt within 90 days. When you use the target Red Card, you get an extra 30 days grace period on returns.

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    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 12, 2013

    What to Wear Under a Skirt for Modesty on the Playground

    I see London. I see France.  I see your little girl's underpants!

    wild girl by borntobewild1946, on flickr

    Egads!  You don't want to hear any kids singing that song with your daughter's name in it.  And as if that thought isn't motivating enough, here are three other good reasons you'll need to find a solution for what she can wear under skirts and jumpers at school:
    • Your little girl will want to play on the playground at recess.
    • Your little girl will have to sit crisscross applesauce at circle time. 
    • And just in case, your little girl doesn't always act like a little lady.
    If skirts and jumpers are in your regular wardrobe rotation, then you need another article of clothing to retain a little modesty.  I've found three options:
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    The Bike Short  

    They are tight fitting shorts with stretch. You can find them at major retailers.  Over the years, we've had several pairs of these from various vendors.  The Circo brand bike shorts at Target (update - sorry this brand is no longer available) have held up well for us. The Children's Place leggings and bike shorts are my favorite because they seem to have just the right amount of stretch to them.  Gymboree brand are my least favorite because they don't seem to have enough stretch in them and they don't hold their shape as well as the others.  Here are links to you can check out bike shorts from these retailers:

    Bootie shorts

    I'm not crazy about the name either, but that's what the kids call them.

    They are the boyshort style shorts usually worn by dancers and gymnasts over practice leotards. We recently bought a pair of Capezio Girls' Boy Cut Low Rise Short at our local dance-wear shop. They are also offered at major retailers such as Amazon or at a local specialty retailer. We found they ran true to size. They are made from 90% nylon and 10% spandex. You can launder them with your other workout wear, but hang them to dry.


    Uniform Kick Short

    Knit Shorts

    I have only come across a handful of uniform retailers that carry knit shorts made for the purpose of wearing under skirts. The Gap and their sister store, Old Navy, used to carry a 3 pack, but I no longer see them available.

    This year, French Toast began to offer what they call "Kick Shorts". We haven't tried them yet, but they are described as  a fitted pull-on shorts designed to be worn under a skirt or jumper. The price is right at $4.98 each. They come in all sizes from 2T through a size 16.

    Cartwheel Shorts

    Children's Place added a nylon Cartwheel Short with 5% spandex. They are sold in a two pack and retail for $16.95.

    Children's Place also has a knit cartwheel short.  They are made from 94% cotton with 6% spandex.   Compared to other Children's Place matchables, we found these to run small.  While they are intended to be short and fit snugly, I'd recommend you go up a size.

    JC Penney also carries a  2 pack of Maidenform Playground Pals (R).  While we wish they were offered in 2 packs of solids in uniform basic colors, they do offer a set in navy and white, as well as other colors.

    (photo used with permission from borntobewild1946)
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    Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    Cherokee School Uniform Scooter, a Review

    I purchased the Cherokee girls school uniform scooter for my daughter early last fall. I liked it because it was longer than most other uniform scooters hitting at the knee. As a scooter, it has knit shorts built in underneath. The front has pleats and pockets.  My daughter likes it because it is easy to get on and off due to the elastic waist. She calls it her pull-up skirt.

    It has held up well. It faded a bit after the initial washing, but has held its color since. It looks fine straight out of the dryer, but could benefit from a quick touch of the iron for a crisp look. It is available through Target in navy and khaki in sizes XS - XL. It retails for $14. It is currently available on clearance for $7.48.

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    Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    Cherokee School Uniform Pants, a Review

    Last summer, my daughter had outgrown and worn thin her favorite pair of jeans, and I had a hard time finding her a replacement pair. Old Navy had been a go-to store for us to find basic jeans for her. But as she aged out of toddler sizes and grew into girl sizes, we couldn't find any to fit her. Taking her shopping with me was a big headache, so I didn't have the benefit for letting her try on items in the store. I must have made 3 different trips to bring home different sizes and styles for her to try. Regular, skinny, super skinny, etc.  Our daughter is "fit" with an athletic build.  The regular style was so baggy on her, but she couldn't even get her legs in the skinnies. And don't get me started on the length, yikes! The difference with the inseam between a 5T and a 6 in girls seemed like a foot.  I took everything back and gave up on Old Navy Jeans for the year.

    Like most Mom's I know, I find myself at Target almost every weekend. There, I spied a pair of basic jeans by Cherokee. The 6x fit her very well. They were a little too long, but they fit close enough to the leg at the ankle that they stayed rolled up.

    So when it came time to buy uniform pants, I went straight for Cherokee again.  She needs to wear PE clothes twice a week and regular uniform dress the other 3 days. I bought 2 pair of pants and most weeks she alternates a dress or a skirt on that third day.

    And as I've mentioned in a previous post, she'd been wearing holes through her jeans at the knees during her preschool years. These Cherokee pants have been worn and washed every week since September, and they have held up well with no signs of excessive wear in the knees.  They are described online as "stain repellent, wrinkle resistant, and shrink resistant." They have an adjustable waist which we've adjusted several times already.  They have a boot leg style and an easy to use metal slide fastener (the button is just for looks). Like her other pants, they are too long so she's simply worn them rolled up at the bottom. My Mom recently visited for Spring Break and she kindly hemmed them using a basic whip stitch hem that can be removed easily when she has a big growth spurt.

    Target sells these Cherokee brand girls uniform pants in navy and khaki in girls 4-16 regular and plus sizes. They also offer Cherokee brand boys school uniform pants in sizes 4 -16 in regular and husky.  They retail around $14 - 16.99 which is a very fair price for how these have lasted for us.  I would definitely buy these again and recommend them to any mom looking for basic quality kids pants, uniform or no uniform.  You can find them on sale too.  And as we smart Target Mom's know, you get an extra 5% off and free shipping when you use your Red Card.
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    Cherokee School Uniform Scooter, a Review

    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!

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

    The Spend - our actual cost for School Uniforms

    Microsoft Clip Art MP900341783
    So after reflecting on the school uniform items we purchased for our daughter's first year at public school, I wondered how much it all cost.  I tend save my shopping receipts in a box during the year, so I dug through the box to find the receipts for all of the items I mentioned in our Kindergarten Wardrobe post.

    According to Statistics Brain, the average annual cost to parents for school uniforms is $249.  Unfortunately, this source doesn't provide any background on what they include as school uniforms.  If I don't include items such as shoes, coat, backpack and lunchbox that we'd need regardless of dress code, I come in right under the average at $234.  If those big ticket items are included, my spend is way above average adding an additional $146 to my annual spend.  So here's how it breaks down:

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    Izod short sleeve polo $7, Old Navy short sleeve polo $6, George Girls' Long Sleeve Polo Shirt 2/$11, H&M short sleeve t-shirts (2) $6, H&M long sleeve t-shirt (2) $10

    Lands End skort $20, Izod skirt $7.50, Cherokee Uniform Pants (2) $12, Children's Place Yoga Pants $5, Circo leggings $5, Izod shorts (2) $7

    Dresses and Sweaters:
    Lands End dress $22.50, Lands End sweater $22.50, Cherokee sweater $10, French Toast sweater $10

    French Toast Tights (2pk) $11, French Toast socks $7, French Toast bike shorts $8, French Toast belt $9

    Other necessities:
    Lands End lunch box $14, Lands End Backpack $26, Oshkosh jacket $30, Stride Rite sneakers $30, Stride Rite shoes $46

    All items are rounded to the nearest twenty five cents.  In some cases, I could not locate my actual receipt, so I then substituted the retail cost of the item that I could verify online.  In most cases, I purchased items on sale, used a coupon code and/or received free shipping.

    (photo used with permission from Microsoft)

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    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    School Shoes with Man Made Materials

    During my Back to School shopping last fall, I bought a paid of navy school shoes for my daughter.  They were the very cute French Toast's Navy T strap which I got at my local JCPenney store in late July at the beginning of the Back to School season. 

    We learned while on the way out the door on the first day of school that they no longer fit.  Instead she wore the old sneakers that were very broken in after months of use in preschool.  After just having met the Kindergarten teacher, I respectfully requested she give my daughter a hall pass on dress code on the first day.  I quickly explained why she wasn't in proper shoes and promised that she would be on following day.

    Cherokee girls uniform schools (Falda Ballet)That evening after work, I went off to the mall to see if I could exchange the shoes for the next size.  By that point in the school shopping season, my local JCPenney did not have that shoe or any uniform shoes in her size.  JCPenney has a wonderful return policy and gave me no problems with the return.  With about 2 hours left to find proper school shoes for the next day, I headed to the local Target store.  There I found the last pair of  Cherokee uniform shoes (Falda Ballet) in her size.  I am not a fan of shoes made from "Man Made Materials".  It has been my experience that they don't hold up well, but with one hour to go, I didn't have much of a choice.  I put them in my cart, checked out, and headed home for the night.