Thursday, July 09, 2009

School Shopping

The kindergarten that we chose for Charlotte is a private, Catholic shool. That means uniforms.

This is all new to me—I attended public school my entire life. Back-to-school shopping for me usually consisted of a trip to the mall or local department store to pick out a couple of new sets of clothes. As I got older, and started feeling more peer pressure, I dreaded that first day of school. It didn’t matter how cute/flattering/stylish my outfits looked at home. By the time school started, they always looked wrong. It was like everyone knew to shop at a certain store or buy a certain style, and no one ever clued me in.

I’m kind of liking this uniform concept. Charlotte’s school shopping is done. Except for shoes—we’ll take care of that soon enough.

The uniforms at Char’s school are strictly mandated. Girls uniforms come from one specific supplier. Boys from another. For next year, she will wear a plaid jumper, with either a specific blouse or a plain white turtleneck (no generic white collared blouses allowed). Underneath, she must wear “privacy shorts” from the same supplier, and a specific kind of shoes. All girls, from pre-k to 8th grade wear the same exact shoe style.

A few weeks ago, we bought one brand-new uniform set from the supplier, and spent about $100 for one jumper, one blouse, one shorts, and one cardigan sweater. Today, the school held a used-uniform sale, and I have had the date circled on my calendar since it was announced. I left the school gymnasium with 4 more blouses, 3 more shorts, 2 jumpers, and one pair of pleated shorts that she can wear instead of the jumper for the first and last months of school. Total cost: $33. I will definitely be relying on these sales in the coming years.

We still need to buy the uniform shoes and gym shoes. And I have to sew a white dress for special mass days (I have the fabric already bought and waiting).

The more I think about the uniforms, the more I like the idea. If I had to buy 5 (or more) normal back-to-school outfits with shoes, I wouldn’t spend much less than what I have for uniforms. And she’d probably need new things as the seasons change. This way, there will be no question of what she wears every day. If the clothes I bought today are any indication of how the fabrics weather use, she will be able to re-use anything that still fitsts next year (1st grade requires a different skirt, though).

And, she won’t have to walk in the first day of school and looking out of place.

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