Wednesday, July 12, 2017

French Toast Active Polo

Short Sleeve Active Polo

With the huge popularity of leisurewear and comfortable athletic clothing, it seems like all of the major school uniform retailers carry an active version of the short sleeve polo shirt.  Today, lets take a look at the French Toast Active Polo.

This polo is made from 100% polyester interlock fabric. It is moisture-wicking and quick drying. The collar is knit and it has a 3 button placket. It is machine washable on cold and can be dried on low.  My family has several tops in this material and I simply hang them to dry.

The boys version of this polo is called the Sport polo.   The only noticeable difference is the buttons.  On the boys top they are described as chalk buttons while the girls buttons are pearlized. This top is also available in a boys long sleeve version.   Both the boys and the girls version. Are available in sizes from a 4 through a 14 in 3 colors; white, navy and light blue. They retail for $11.98.

Reviewers comment that these are great polos in colors because the color does not fade or stain.  My family always manages to get oily stains on their white polyester shirts which doesn't wash out easily in the washing machine.  I found tips online claiming that hand washing the stain with Dawn dish soap works well.  And when my daughter's white polyester soccer shirt got stained with mud splatters last Spring, I learned that rubbing alcohol works wonders on polyester.  I now keep a bottle in the laundry room.

At our elementary school, the kids have PE twice a week and they don't get to change clothes.  While a collared shirt isn't required on PE days, these tops make a smart looking option that works well for PE days or any day of the week.

Monday, July 10, 2017


Shop AeropostaleAeropostale is a specialty retailer with over 500 stores in the US.  They sell apparel and accessories targeting the 16 - 22 year old shopper.  They also carry basic school uniform items for tweens and teens.  Their website makes it easy to find the items as they are grouped under boys and girls in the navigation menu as "uniform".

The girls uniform collection includes short sleeve polo shirts in 10 different colors and the long sleeve polo in 5 colors.   The sizing ranges from an XS through a XXL.  Basic Bermuda shorts and pants are offered in khaki, black and navy. The girls pants are offered in a skinny twill style as well as a traditional straight leg style.  Even better, they offer the pants in regular and a curvy fit. A straight skirt is offered in 2 lengths, 15 and 19 inch.

The boys uniform collection includes short sleeve polo shirts in 8 different colors and the long sleeve polo in 5 colors.   They also have a v neck cardigan sweater in 4 colors. The boys alpha sizing in the tops ranges from X Small to 3X Large. Guys shorts, called long-board shorts, are offered in 7 colors including uniform basics of khaki, black and navy. The boys pants are offered in 2 styles: a slim cut straight leg pant with a flat front or a straight leg chino style.  

Shop Aeropostale

Thursday, July 6, 2017

What's New at Children's Place for Back to School 2017

As the 2017 Back to School season gets underway, I checked out the school uniform collection at the Children's Place to look for anything new or updated. The most notable change is that they now allow returns of online only items to their retail and outlet stores. Yeah! Several of the school uniform items are offered as "online exclusives". Previously, if you took a risk and ordered an item online and it turns out that it didn't fit, you them had to go through the hassle and expense of mailing the item back. Now, you can simply return the item to your local store.  This change is a win for consumers.

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Skater Skort

Last year they began to offer a popular style of the skater skirt in their uniform collection. The downside for the item was that it was a skirt and not a scooter. This year it was been updated to include the built in shorts underneath. Yeah again, this simple change simplifies shopping because you don't have to find separate shorts to wear underneath. Built in shorts give girls the confidence to run and climb on the playground at recess.

Boys Uniform Long Sleeve Mock Neck Zip Sweater

I also noticed a long sleeve mock neck zip-up sweater in the boys uniform collection. I believe this classic style is new in the Children's Place collection, but has been a best seller at competing retailers.  This zip up style is 60% cotton and 40% acrylic. My daughter loves the zip-up style sweater, and I don't see any reason why Moms should shy away from ordering this sweater for their daughters. I plan to test and review this item this season, so I'll let you know how the color and quality hold up.

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.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

French Toast changes to alpha sizing on Polo Shirts

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

I complained last year when the Children's Place changed the sizing of their yoga pants from numeric to alpha.  My daughter couldn't wear their yoga pants leggings because she was between sizes.  So I am sad to see that French Toast is also changing the sizing of their polo shirts in both boys and girls styles from numeric sizing to alpha sizing.

I found the following message on  product detail pages for the polo tops:

"If your numeric size is out of stock, get the new alpha size! French Toast has simplified shopping with our new alpha sizes XS, S, M, L, XL. See our size conversion chart below to find your best fit."

The numeric sizing scale includes 7 size options in the elementary school size range while the alpha sizing reduces that to 5 sizes.  I understand how this helps a manufacture with inventory management, but it is a bummer for the kids waiting for the next growth spurt while they are between sizes. I expect alpha sizing from the box stores where the uniforms are just one collection in their seasonal offering, but I have come to expect more from retailers like French Toast that specialize in school uniforms.

If you have a child that is between sizes, act quick before they sell out of all the numeric sizes and stock up on a few polos now.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Ultimate List of Sideline Survival Gear for Soccer Moms

My daughter has been playing soccer for several years now.  This past year, she stepped up her game playing in the local travel league.  This meant a bigger commitment from her with practices 2 -3 times a week, almost year round and games and tournaments many weekends in the Spring and Fall. For me and her Dad, this meant we needed to improve our sideline gear.  From spending many long afternoons at parks and farms across our region this past year, we have a list of things that are always in the car or in our bag ready to go.  Here are some of our recommendations that make up the ultimate list of sideline survival gear for Soccer Moms and Dads:

Coleman Oversized Quad Chair with Cooler
You'll need a comfortable portable chair. These quad chairs are sturdy and easy to carry. You'll need one with a cup holder and this model has some extras for keeping supplies handy. Order one for yourself in team colors.
Pro tip - When using the chair, tie the carry bag to the armrest so it doesn't get lost.

Stadium Waterproof and Windproof Blanket

I hate being cold.  Even worse is being cold and wet.  I have one of these blankets that is soft fleece on one side and the opposite side is backed by a waterproof and windproof material.  So while it's intended purpose might be for a quaint picnic on a sunny day.  These blankets are also great to wrap up with on the sidelines on a cold dreary day. 
Pro tip - Keep the blanket in your car.  Being super portable, it is a great alternative to lugging the chair out when you'll only be waiting around for a few minutes at the end of soccer practice.

Travel Umbrella with Double Canopy
My husband's company gave him an over-sized umbrella many years ago. It wasn't a golf umbrella, but was large enough for both of us to huddle under without it being too big.  After having it for almost 20 years, it is on it's last legs so I'm on the hunt for a replacement.  With 100% 5 star reviews, this looks like a great replacement.  I like that it has a double canopy so it handles the wind better than a traditional umbrella. The size is larger than a regular umbrella and smaller than a golf umbrella.

Sun Visor

For sunny game days, I wear my favorite sunglasses, but a good visor is key.  I prefer a visor to a ball hat just because its cooler. But the visor keeps the sun off your face so you don't end up with raccoon eyes from getting too much sun while wearing glasses. You know the look I'm talking about.
Pro tip - This one comes in so many great color choices, you'll be sure to find one to match the team's colors.

Mac Sports Collapsible Folding Outdoor Utility Wagon

We're condo people and we live in a city, so we recently got this cart to bring groceries in from the car.  I store it in my car so it is always handy, but also because we have no inside storage for these types of items.  But this has totally been worth it.  We use it at all of the weekend games and tournaments to haul our gear to the sidelines. It is available in many popular team colors, so again, team colors make a great choice.

Portable Travel Toiletry Pouch
These colorful pouches are cute, but honestly, the type of bag doesn't matter as much as the supplies you'll want to keep handy.  Grab a spare makeup bag and pack it with 1) travel size sunscreen, 2) bug spray, and 3) one of those small packages of tissues and 4) some of these PURELL Hand Sanitizer Wipes (in case you need to visit the portable potty).
Pro tip - leave the pouch in the car so you don't forget it at home.

Sport-Brella Versa-Brella All Position Umbrella

My husband volunteered to be team scorekeeper.  This meant that he had to bring the iPad to the game each weekend to track the stats on the app recommended by the coaches. During hot and sunny games, his iPad was overheating, becoming unusable.  During rainy games, he had to hide the iPad under my waterproof blanket.  I got him this umbrella this Spring, and it has worked like a charm.  He can clip it to his chair and adjust it to provide shade as the sun moves throughout the day.  

Women's 200 Fleece Jacket-MerlotLands' End Fleece Jacket
I am a big fan of fleece zip ups.  I own several. They are super comfortable, warm, washable, and affordable.  In the fall, I prefer Lands' End 100 fleece, but when temperatures drop and winds whip up, I reach for my 200 fleece.  I got one (yep, you guessed it) in team colors this season.  I also recommend the fleece glovesscarf, and hat.  Grab the men's fleece for Dad.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Results from the March Reader Survey: Do you prefer online or in store shopping?

Back to school, Avoid the pains of getting children back in the classroom 120731-M-FL266-016

Last month, our readers survey asked how you prefer to shop for school uniforms. Two-thirds of you responded that you preferred to shop in stores. The remaining one-third of you preferred to shop online.

Shopping in person is usually best in a few scenarios. You definitely want to shop in person for the first back to school shopping trip for any student new to school uniforms. It will give him or her a chance to try on several types of uniform items and decide which styles suit them best. You should also try different brands too to learn which your student prefers. Some brands carry different fits such as slim, plus, husky, while other brands only carry items in a regular fit.

Once you've learned which brands and styles you prefer, many of you switch to the convenience of online shopping. Once you have learned which top or pair of bottoms are favorites with your kids, you can stock up in the next size on those items during seasonal sales and use coupon codes featured in the Uniform Mom Weekly Report Card newsletter. When shopping online for clothing be aware of the store's return policy just in case. Because I hate to eat the return mail shipping charge, I prefer shopping with retailers that allow online returns to their brick and mortar stores.

Photo Credit: By Cpl. Glen Santy ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons