A Nifty, Thrifty Return to School
Is this the time of year your thoughts turn to new school uniforms?
School uniforms are one of the most obvious categories of clothing to be passed on, and never more so than this year. Let's face it, for much of last year the school uniform was not even worn (unless your children put it on for home-schooling, and if that worked for you, who are we to criticise?) but the children kept on growing, just the same. So there are probably hundreds of barely-worn school shirts, skirts and trousers that are now too small for our children to wear.
Even without taking the last, strange, year into account, just think - school uniforms generally stay the same year after year, and changes in fashion barely register.
We got a great response when we put out a call for donations of school uniforms so there's obviously a lot of families out there who feel just the same as we do. We want these clothes to be worn again, and not just for financial reasons, though that is a major headache for many.
If your school does not already have a uniform swap shop, could we persuade you to get one started? If that's a step too far could you start by swapping with the families you already know? It often just takes one person to get the ball rolling. If you are brave enough to suggest it, you will probably find lots of others who love the idea but were nervous about speaking out.
This is particularly important when it comes to blazers or jumpers with the school logo on them. We sometimes get these donated to us but there's less chance of someone visiting our Community Wardrobe with a child at a particular school than there is of parents coming in looking for the generic school trousers, skirt, shirt or polo shirt.
Expanding today's topic a little to talk about children's clothes in general, those companies who now have a "Hand me Down" label on their clothes can go straight to the top of the class.
These labels have space for more than one name to be written on them so not only does that make it easier for parents to label the clothing to give it a fighting chance of coming home with the correct child, it also positively encourages a culture of hand me down.
We suggest that you can also be more confident of the quality of clothes when you see a hand me down label. It suggests that the manufacturer is fairly sure the item will last and last.
These labels seem to appear most in coats which is sensible. They are costly items that generally do still have a lot of life left in them when their original owner has outgrown them.
The more people see such labels, the more second-hand clothing, or hand me downs, will seem completely normal.
But is normal enough? Actually, we think we can do better than that.
Let's all get together and make second-hand uniforms not just the norm, but actually a badge of honour.