Would School Uniforms Reduce Clothing Costs for Kids?

private school uniform

When people see students wearing uniforms, they can conclude that the student goes to either a private school or a Catholic school. As a kid, I went to both Catholic elementary school and Catholic high school. In elementary school, they had uniforms when I was in junior and senior kindergarten. When I was in the first grade they stopped it. However, since uniform was mandatory for students attending a Catholic high school, I had to go with my parents to purchase the appropriate uniform from the supplier for Catholic high schools.

That was quite a long time ago. I vaguely remember the cost being around almost $300 for a few shirts, a couple of pairs of pants, a sweater, a vest, and a kilt.  That didn’t include the cost of dress shoes. My first pair, which lasted a couple of years, was about $100. The pairs of pants were way too long for my vertically challenged self. Thankfully, my mom was able to hem my pants, so that didn’t cost anything.

I figured I was all set to meet the dress code for my entire high school career.  The clothing provided from the uniform store was very baggy, even for the small sizes.  I didn’t realize until after my first few weeks of high school that you could buy dress shirts and dress pants that fit better from regular clothing stores.

So on top of spending the initial $400, I would slowly phase out my traditional uniform pieces with more fashionable ones.  Back then, I’d say I purchased dress shirts for around $15-$20 and dress pants ranged from $20-$40.

A very rough estimate of how much I spent (of my parent’s money) for my school uniform throughout my school years would be $600-$700. When you think about it, $600-$700 for five years (during my time in high school, the length of high school in order to attend university was five years, however some people fast tracked and earned their credits in four) doesn’t seem too bad at all, considering that could be the yearly clothing budget for some people. Maybe even more!

I do understand though then when you have a professional job, you do have to look a certain way. Since you’re earning significantly more, you would want to buy good quality pieces that would last a long time. Often, good quality means paying a little bit more, but you also have the choice of buying good quality secondhand.

Imagine spending $600-$700/year on clothing every year for five years straight though…..

When it was time to go to university, I actually had to do some regular clothes shopping, because universities in Canada don’t have a uniform dress code. I certainly didn’t want to be the only one wearing a high school uniform while everyone else was in hoodies and jogging pants!

I like to think that having a uniform in high school did save me a bit of money. It also saved me the stress of having to figure out what to wear each day. My only thought was: Is it going to be a white shirt with grey pants or a white shirt with black pants?

Although most teenagers would beg to differ because they may feel wearing a uniform doesn’t give you a chance to express your individuality, I felt that having a uniform put almost everyone on a level playing field. Kids didn’t get made fun of so much because of how they looked or because they weren’t wearing a certain brand of clothing. They didn’t feel peer pressure/financial pressure or put financial pressure on their parents to buy expensive high-end clothing just because all the cool kids wore it. At my school, even the cool kids wore uniforms, because, well they had to. Mind you, there was a LOT of people who would rebel by leaving their shirttails out or wear black running shoes and try to pass them off as “dress shoes”.

Looking for ways to save money on clothes? Check out these great articles.

Get Rid of Unwanted Clothing with a Clothing Swap
The Secondhand Stigma
How Homemade Would You Go to Save Money?
Clothing Budgets For Teenage Girls

Did you have to wear a uniform in school? Do you think making uniforms mandatory would save money on kids’ clothing?

10 thoughts on “Would School Uniforms Reduce Clothing Costs for Kids?

  1. I wore one all through elementary school and didn’t mind it at all. It made life easy for both my mom and I. My stepson who lives in my native country will wear uniforms all the way to the end of high school so I’m glad about that. Financially it’s a much cheaper option and he can enjoy his home clothes on week-ends and those will last him longer due to less wear and tear.

    • Back when I was a kid, aside from the big department stores, they didn’t have too many clothing stores for teenagers, so the clothing selection was quite limited. Having a uniform in high school reduced the stress of trying to fit in with my peers or trying to look a certain way.

  2. I grew up in the Dominican Republic and I wore uniforms all my life. It does make life super simple and I think it saves money in the long run. I remember I had three pairs of navy blue pants and five shirts which I wore all year without a problem. I personally like uniforms because it stops kids from feeling like the need to have the latest style of clothing or the “hip” brands just so they can fit it. When everybody looks the same, there’s no competition on whose clothes are nicer.

    • I think kids and teenagers already have enough to deal with at that age, let alone trying to figure out what to wear. I do remember get excited though the odd times we were allowed to wear “civvies”clothing. I would spend a lot of time the night before trying to create the perfect outfit. lol.

  3. There are studies that show uniforms up academic performance overall, too. In the US, a lot of inner city schools or low income schools have been implementing uniforms. Overall, it works. Despite the students’ grumbling.

    Were you allowed to wear “street clothes” for picture day?

    • Hmmm…that’s interesting about the studies. It does makes sense. Kids would spend less time shopping for clothes and figuring out what to wear and more time on schoolwork. No, we still had to wear the uniform for picture day. Only on scheduled days, which we actually had to pay $2 each time, were we allowed to wear “street clothing”.

  4. I didn’t have a uniform, but for my children, they have been in private school with a uniform and public without a uniform. I prefer the uniforms, since they were often given to us by other parents and like you said, you didn’t have to worry about what you wear that day. I also like that everyone is on the same level with their clothes, since you don’t have the kids wearing the expensive brands and the other kids wearing hand-me-downs.

  5. I wonder if kids who wore older, hand me down clothing got made fun of more my kids wearing the expensive brands. Most kids at that age are so obsessed with self-image at that age. I can’t even imagine stressing out about what to wear everyday for school.

  6. From grade school to college, I wore uniforms. I pretty much liked it because I didn’t have to think what to wear and to buy new clothes as I wanted variety every day. We only had Wednesday, which is called “Wash Day” when we could be not in uniforms and could dress-up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.