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