School uniforms tried and tested by families for 2023 - for wear, wash, fit and quality
We asked parents to rigorously test and feed back on 2023 school uniforms, including M&S, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Aldi, John Lewis, Morrisons, Next and more. Here are the results...
Each year, MadeForMums puts school uniforms under the microscope to help parents identify the best place to go to kit out their kids for the new school year. We begin by surveying hundreds of families with school-age children from across the UK. We collect responses across a whole range of criteria to help identify what brands are most loved and trusted by our community, and to discover what these parents and caregivers consider to be the most important considerations when shopping for school uniform.
As well as our giant survey, we also send school uniform to our army of home testers. This year, our testers tried uniform from 12 different retailers — including supermarket favourites, high street staples and specialist brands. They reported back on how well it washed, how well it fit, the quality of the uniform and whether they thought that it provided good value for money. We've combined their thoughts with the feedback and experiences of over 900 parents and caregivers, surveyed in June 2023, to establish which brands really do offer the best school uniform for a variety of needs.
With cost as important a factor as ever, we've also compared the price of a standard school uniform to its price in 2022 to see how retailers have responded to the cost of living crisis.
How did each school uniform rank for 2023?
In our survey, parents were asked to rate, out of 10, how well each brand's uniform performs when it comes to the key criteria of Fit, Washing, Quality and Worth the Money, to determine which retailer performs the best when it comes to school uniform. They also provided information on which retailers they felt made the best individual items (eg. polo shirts, trousers, socks, sweaters).
After carefully considering the results above, as well as the feedback from our home testers, plus the price of an average school uniform from each brand, we have selected 5 retailers who we believe deserve to offer the best in their category for 2023:
More like this
Best high street school uniform: Marks & Spencer
Winning this badge for the second year in a row, M&S once again came out on top for Fit and Quality and also had the best overall score. It's a more expensive option than supermarket competitors but parents told us that the quality, longevity and features of the uniform makes the price undoubtedly worth it over time.
Best supermarket school uniform: Tu at Sainsbury's
Another repeat winner, Sainsbury's takes Best Supermarket School Uniform for the 2nd year in a row. Despite the retailer being one of the more expensive supermarket brands, Sainsbury's uniform scored the highest in the "Worth the Money" category, proving that its high quality is evident.
Best school uniform for durability: John Lewis
Parents told us that they're consistently impressed by the quality, longevity and durability of uniform from John Lewis. It is admittedly a more expensive option, but the ANYDAY range, which originally launched in 2021, is more competitively priced. Parents feel John Lewis uniform washes well, is made from high-quality materials and they believe many items have been thoughtfully designed to make sure they last as long as possible and grow with your child.
Best school uniform for variety: George at Asda
Parents across the country were extremely impressed by the school uniform range offered from George at Asda: although it scored slightly lower in our survey than in previous years, over 60% of the families we spoke to had tried George uniform, making it the most popular uniform across the parents we spoke to. This is no surprise, as we found that Asda led the way compared to the other brands when it came to the variety of its uniform offering: different fits available such as slim, tall and plus, the largest range of colour options for jumpers, and a much-loved SEN range. It also performed well in terms of fit and quality, and came 2nd for Worth the Money.
Best hidden gem school uniform: Nutmeg at Morrisons
Morrisons uniform is affordable, reliable and the parents we spoke to found its fit and sizing to be excellent (when asked if the fit was big, small or just right, a whopping 89% said it was just right). Testers praised how comfortable it was for their children and told us that the retailer is a really great option for your uniform essentials. Unfortunately, due to lack of an online offering and limited availability in stores it can be difficult to track down, which is why we're naming it our hidden gem.
Jump to see our detailed verdicts on:
- Marks & Spencer
- Tu at Sainsbury's
- John Lewis
- Nutmeg at Morrisons
- George at Asda
- F+F at Tesco
How much does a school uniform cost in 2023?
We asked over 900 parents of school-age children how much they spent on one child's entire school uniform (excluding shoes) when they first start school and over 28% told us that they expect to spend over £100, with just over 25% expecting to spend between £76-£100. Only 22% of respondents expected to spend less than £50 on their children's uniform.
We've identified which brands offer the best value for your money — not just the retailers that are the cheapest, but which ones have school uniform that will be long-lasting, offer good quality and wash well.
How we calculated the average cost of tested uniforms
If your child's school doesn't have branded items and you're planning on buying the entire uniform from a mass market retailer, then you can use our table below to see how pricey (or not) each brand that we tested is. We've calculated the average cost of a uniform from each brand and, as uniform from some retailers can increase in price as your child gets older, we worked out the cost based on the price of each brand's most affordable version of the following items to fit a boy aged 7, to provide a fair comparison. Our price comprises of:
- 1 short-sleeved polo shirt
- 1 knitted jumper
- 1 pair of regular fit trousers
- 1 pair of dark coloured ankle socks
Nearly all retailers sell these items in bundles or multipacks, which can offer better value than buying them individually. We therefore identified the best value offering from each brand (a multipack of 5 or 7 polo shirts, for example) and calculated how much an individual item would cost from that multipack or bundle.
*Price shown is for a sweatshirt, where knitted jumpers are not available.
Why is there no "best value" award this year?
The feedback we've received from parents has demonstrated that true "value" is incredibly hard to determine: it's not just about upfront cost, but suitability, availability, performance and durability over time too. We have chosen not to award a "best value" award this year because "value" is subjective, but also because it should be a given in 2023. As you can see from our price chart, the market is competitive, with many of the retailers offering price freezes, price matches against their competitors, or bundles to save money.
The good news is that our testing shows that there are great options across all the available price ranges. Parents told us that uniforms that cost a little more tended to last longer and were more durable overall. However, plenty of praise was also given to the cheaper brands — particularly the major supermarkets — for their longevity too.
What features are important in school uniform?
We found that some features were particularly appreciated, some of which were only found on the pricier brands:
- Adjustable elements, such as waistbands or let-down hems were a huge hit with our testers this year. Most parents told us that they are looking for features and details that will make the uniform last as long as possible and grow with their children, especially if they were spending more to begin with.
- Polo shirts were the most likely to score poorly in key criteria, particularly in terms of washing as they tend to shrink, fade or have a particular stubbornness when it comes to getting out stains such as paint, ink and grass. Some of the premium brands treat their fabrics with stain-resistant fabric protectors which may lead to you not having to replace them as often.
- Non-iron or easy-iron fabrics, as you can see in our list below, was the most important uniform feature the parents we spoke to were looking for. Some retailers sell uniform items such as shirts, skirts, pinafores and trousers that are crease-resistant and this can be a massive help when it comes to getting your child's uniform ready before school.
5 most important uniform features voted by parents
- Non-iron/easy iron
- Adjustable waistband
- Stain resistant
- Easy to put on (zip-free or button-free)
- Non-scratchy materials
What if my child has special needs?
Some retailers sell specific ranges that are tailored specifically for children with special educational needs, sensory issues or other sensitivities and many parents were really impressed by the offerings from some of the brands. George at Asda was a particular favourite of testers with its Easy On, Easy Wear range. Other brands that impressed were M&S's Easy Dressing range and Sainsbury's Dress With Ease selection.
Many of the adaptive/SEN-friendly uniforms have practical adjustments or additions that may be useful for all children. Some things to look out for include:
- Mock button plackets on polos and shirts, with hidden velcro for an easier fit
- Easy-on trousers and skirts with elasticated waists and/or velcro
- Seamless socks and tights that can be better for children with high sensitivity to fabrics
- Items designed without scratchy labels at the neck or waist – information is printed or concealed inside pockets instead
- Summer dresses with velcro instead of buttons
- Trousers and shorts without back pockets or other distracting details
Can I get help to pay for school uniform?
In some parts of the country, school uniform grants are available to qualifying families. You can find out more and search for your council on the School Uniform page on the Gov.uk website.
– Best high street school uniform
Average overall score: 8.56
Availability: Very good, with plenty of stock in store and online with free Click & Collect available to store. Wide range of colours and plenty of variety in terms of details/options to choose from
Ease of care: Washes well, no shrinkage reported by our testers and stains wash out easily
Sizing: Most parents said that sizing is about right. Plus fit, slim fit and tall fit options are available
Special features: Adjustable waists, crease resistant items, additional leg trousers, easy iron and non-iron shirts, stain-resistant fabrics, Easy Dressing range
In a nutshell: More expensive than supermarket retailers but definitely worth the higher price due to its longevity and quality. Uniform from M&S performs consistently well over time with a many parents telling us that they've handed it down to younger siblings or friend's children. M&S also has a great range for children with SEN or sensory difficulties.
For the 2nd year in a row, Marks & Spencer has been awarded Best high street school uniform after achieving top marks for both Fit and Quality and the highest average score for overall performance when compared with other brands included in our survey.
Most of the parents we surveyed agreed that, although M&S is one of the more expensive uniform brands available (especially when compared to supermarkets) the quality and longevity of the uniform means that if you can afford to make the initial investment, it's undoubtedly worth it over time. As one parent told us, "Marks & Spencer uniform is always good quality and I always find it true to size. I know I can trust the quality and fit so I'm happy to pay a little more than other retailers charge as it's worth it in the long run."
We were also impressed that price of a standard uniform from M&S has dropped compared with the costs we recorded in 2022 — as you can see in our table above. The retailer has protected the price of its uniform for the 3rd year in a row, without seemingly any compromise on its quality, as the parents in our survey and our parent testers attested to.
One particular area that M&S's uniform excelled in was the fit of the uniform. Parent tester Jenny, who tested the uniform with her 5-year-old son said "the uniform was roomy but not oversized. The waist of the trousers were big but not an issue thanks to the adjustable waist." Features such as adjustable waistbands and 'grow-proof hems' on the uniforms were a huge hit with parents, as they make the uniform last as long as possible.
Parent tester Sinead, who tested the uniform with her 5-year-old daughter loved this feature on the skirt: "the skirt had an adjustable waist which was great as Áine is slim with long legs for her age and I was worried that the skirt would hang off her." Another parent also praised the features of the trousers, saying "the trousers are excellent as they have an adjustable waist and a let-down hem. They've lasted the whole school year and have washed well. I don't even need to iron them!"
As this parent noted, another detail of M&S's uniform that parents really rated was the non-iron or easy-iron feature on many of their items — a particularly important element for busy parents. Our testers were also really impressed with the ease of care and how well the uniform washed. No shrinkage was reported from either of our testers and Sinead remarked that, "all of the uniform washed really well, no bobbles on the tights and the polo looked white. I'm really impressed with how it all washed and I didn't see any shrinkage."
The uniform also proved resistant to stains, Sinead said that "the socks were dirty and my daughter dropped some ketchup down the polo shirt. Both items came out of the wash pristine!" Other parents agreed with how well M&S uniform washes, telling us that "the coloured jumpers don't fade and the shirts and polo shirts stay crisp white," "the uniform washes well with no shrinking" and "they wash really well, keeping a good colour."
The Easy Dressing range from M&S was also praised. One respondent to our survey said that "M&S cater really well for my SEN child as they have uniforms with no labels and 100% cotton. They also have clothing that is easier to put on for independence." Another told us that "my middle son is autistic so struggled with buttons and poppers. M&S did some fitted, easy pull up trousers which were perfect."
We were also really impressed by M&S's sustainability initiatives. They have partnered with Oxfam and eBay and are asking customers to donate their 'hand-me-down quality school uniform' into one of the 'Shwop' boxes that have been installed in over 200 M&S stores throughout the UK. If it's of a satisfactory quality, the uniform will then be sold in Oxfam stores or will be available to buy from the dedicated eBay pre-loved school uniform shop. Customers with a Sparks loyalty card will also receive 20% off selected kids' clothing in M&S if they donate good quality uniform. For more details, have a look on the M&S website.
If you're looking for uniform that will last, either for the entire school year (which not all uniform does), or to hand down to younger siblings — parents told us that M&S is an excellent choice. As one parent said, "My son has worn the same M&S shorts and shirts for nearly 2 school years (he's small) and it's all still looking perfect!"
Available from: M&S School Uniform – Also available at M&S stores nationwide.
– Best supermarket school uniform
Average overall score: 8.49
Availability: Good stock online with a range of different styles, fits and colours available. A free Click & Collect service is available, too
Ease of care: Some shrinkage reported in polo shirts, retains colour relatively well but does fade over time, stains come out easily
Sizing: Tends to be relatively true to size, plus and slim fits and 'longer-length' available
Special features: Reinforced knees, waist adjusters, lots of different summer dress styles, various colour options for polo shirts, jumpers and cardigans, novelty details on some girls items, Dress With Ease range
In a nutshell: Good quality, well-priced uniform with plenty of variety and styles to choose from. The sizing is accurate, it washed well and the uniform offers excellent value for money. However, it's not as long-lasting as more expensive brands and the quality may fade over time.
Another repeat winner is Tu at Sainsbury's which wins Best supermarket school uniform once again. Sainsbury's remains a firm favourite with parents buying school uniform and received positive feedback on a number of criteria such as value, availability, fit, washing and possibly most importantly, quality — as one surveyed parent attests: "Sainsbury's is my favourite place for school uniform. They have great stock, the fit is great, the material is soft and durable and the price is just right."
Although the uniform from Sainsbury's is slightly more expensive than other supermarket brands that we tested (with the exception of F&F at Tesco), our parent testers and the parents we surveyed were in agreement that the quality, choice and durability is undeniable and the value of the uniform is the best on the market — coming out on top for the criteria of Worth the Money.
Many parents in our survey drew notable attention to the uniform's longevity, with several respondents commenting that they were able to pass the uniform down to friends or their other children. One parent said "it washes and wears well. The uniform was also passed down to the younger sibling and then on to a friend's son and it still looked fresh" and another told us that "Sainsbury's uniform has always done the job and lasted the whole year, sometimes longer!" With cost still as important a factor as ever, Sainsbury's has impressively held its 2022 prices, offering cost-effective but good quality uniform at a competitive price. There's also a 150-day guarantee on uniform, one of the higher guarantees that we've seen.
Sainsbury's scored relatively well for fit (although there was some variation depending on item). Just like M&S, parents were most appreciative of the adjustable elements on some of the items: "I love that the shorts and trousers have an elasticated waist and also tabs inside to tighten/loosen which is perfect as my little boy is quite petite." Another parent was also very complimentary about the details of their trousers, saying "I absolutely love Sainsbury's school trousers. The adjustable waist helped with the fit and the reinforced knees have been a godsend for my very active boy!" Our parent testers also loved these details. Parent testers Laura, who tested the uniform with her 4-year-old son said "the uniform fitted as expected with plenty of room to grow as my child is slim. The trousers were fantastic as the adjustable waistband meant we could adapt to his waist and let out as needed." Sainsbury's is also one of the only supermarkets that offers plus fit, slim fit and tall fit to suit different needs.
In terms of washing, our testers did notice some shrinkage. Aileen, who tested the uniform with her 4-year-old daughter told us, "I was surprised that there was a lot of shrinkage when I compared the fully washed uniform with the unwashed new uniform" and another parent had a similar experience, saying "it shrank in the wash even though I followed the care label." However, Aileen did also note that stains washed out well, "my daughter had chalk, dried-in yogurt and ketchup on the uniform and it all washed out," something which another parent remarked upon too: "I am impressed with how well the stains wash out."
Parents praised how easy to care the uniform was, with specific appreciation of how much ironing time was saved. One parent said that "it's excellent quality, it washes well and doesn't easily crease so no ironing trousers! Yay!" and another told us that they "really like the non-iron shorts and trousers as it's saved so much time."
Despite some reported issues with washing the uniform, most parents tended to agree that the quality is good and the uniform offers good value for money. As parent tester Laura commented, "the material felt soft and the colour quality did not fade with washing. I was very impressed by the quality. The colour quality, softness of material and lack of tricky buttons and zippers makes this the best in my eyes."
Sainsbury's also has an SEN-friendly Dress With Ease range that helps to support independent dressing and has features such as touch & close fasteners and pull-on trousers.
Available from: Tu at Sainsburys school uniform – Also available at selected Sainsbury's stores nationwide.
— Best school uniform for durability
Average overall score: 8.42
Availability: Good stock availability in store and online, with delivery and Click & Collect options available
Ease of care: Majority of feedback for washing is positive, no shrinkage reported, non-iron features perform well
Sizing: Tends to be about right but some reports that it runs small. Plus, slim and tall fit available for some items
Special features: Adjustable waists, reinforced knees, Easy Care range with stain-resistant fabrics and minimal ironing needed
In a nutshell: One of the most expensive uniform options available, but uniform from John Lewis consistently performs well across the board — especially in terms of washing, fit and durability. Parents find that John Lewis' uniform really is long-lasting due to its high quality, ease of care and adjustable elements that allow it to grow with your child.
John Lewis's range — although the 2nd priciest on our list after Trutex — was highlighted by parents as one of the most reliable, long-lasting and durable uniforms available. Parents who praised its quality did often make references to its high price point but also noted that, if you can afford the upfront cost, the uniform is guaranteed to last, wash well and grow with your child. As one parent remarked, "the John Lewis uniforms are good value for money. Even though they are more expensive than a lot of other places, they last longer and are of good quality." Another said that they "found that even though the price was a little more than other retailers, the uniform lasted longer so was more sustainable."
In terms of fit, the uniform from John Lewis performed really well and most parents reported that the sizing tends to be about right. Our parent testers also loved some of the clever designs of some of the uniform elements that ensure that they will grow with your child. Parent tester Mehack, who tested the uniform with their 5-year-old son, loved the waist extenders and said "they were great because my son had a slim waist so adjusting the waist was a huge advantage."
Fellow tester Veronica who tested the uniform with her 4-year-old daughter also liked this feature, saying "the skirt had waist extenders which was great as on the biggest setting it was too big." Additionally, the reinforced knees trousers also helps to make the uniform last longer — they feature an internal knee patch that helps to give them additional strength. John Lewis also stocks a good selection of plus, slim and tall fit items.
If you're hoping that the uniform you buy for your child will be long-lasting and durable, then how it copes after washing is a really important consideration. John Lewis's uniform range narrowly beat M&S when parents judged it on the criteria of washing with parents telling us that the uniform "always washes well, it's great quality — I've tried others and nothing comes close" and "because you need to wash uniform so much, you need a brand you can rely on that washes well and keeps it shape, I always choose John Lewis."
No shrinking was reported by either of our testers and parent tester Mehack said that "the polo shirts that I have previously bought have not washed as well as this one from John Lewis and the whiteness has remained bright after a wash too. The jumper is also still looking great after a wash." However, Mehack did warn that the trousers started to look a little bobbly.
The ease of care of John Lewis's uniform also proved to be a highlight with parents. Its Easy Care range requires minimal ironing and features a stain resistant fabric protector. One parent told us that they were "so pleased these were non-iron!"
The high quality of the uniform was consistently remarked upon by both our parent testers and the respondents to our survey, but most did also caveat this by noting its high price point: "although it's slightly more expensive than other stores, it's definitely up with the best when it comes to quality," "good quality school uniform" and "good quality, great fit" were just some of the many responses we had regarding how good the quality of the uniform was. Parent tester Veronica agreed, saying that the uniform "felt nice quality, you could especially tell the difference with the feel of the polo shirt vs the supermarket one we already have" and "it's good quality, which you would expect from John Lewis for the cost."
Although John Lewis doesn't offer a specific SEN-friendly range, the quality of the fabric was often remarked upon positively by parents with children that have special educational needs or sensitivities, with one saying that "the fit and feel of materials did not offend my son (SEN) in any way."
John Lewis also has its ANYDAY range which has high quality uniform options that you can expect from John Lewis, but at a lower price than the main range. The uniform still features great qualities such as adjustable waists, reinforced knees and Easy Care benefits.
Available from: John Lewis school uniform – Also available at John Lewis stores nationwide.
– Best school uniform for variety
Average overall score: 8.18
Availability: Great range available online with frequent restocks, but mixed availability in store, however free Click & Collect to store is available. Some styles and designs are online only.
Ease of care: Limited reports of shrinkage and some experiences of the colour fading over time, items tend to come out of the washing machine crease-free
Sizing: Sizing tends to be accurate with Plus Fit, Slim Fit and longer lengths available
Special features: Easy On Easy Wear range, adjustable waistbands, reinforced knees, stay-up hems, easy iron, "stay white" technology, plenty of variety in design options for many items such as summer dresses, skirts and trousers, wide range of colours
In a nutshell: A popular, affordable and reliable uniform retailer with a truly impressive variety of fits, styles and colours available — including a good SEN-friendly range. The uniform itself washes relatively well, tends to be comfortable for children and overall offers really great value for the money.
The excellent variety of type of uniform on offer from George at Asda, combined with how well it performed with our parent testers and its consistent good value means that this year it is awarded Best school uniform for variety. If you need to buy a specific type of uniform for your child — such as plus fit, slim fit, longer length, or SEN-friendly items — or even if you would just like a little detail on your child's uniform — such as a pointelle knit cardigan, summer gingham playsuit or skinny jean style trousers — then we found that Asda is the best option available. They came out on top for the amount of details, variety and colours available across their uniform range.
One parent noted that "there is a nice option of straight or scalloped collars, several style options for pinafore dresses and I love the simple elasticated-waist skirts." Another said that "Asda is my main place to go for school uniform. I think it's good quality for the money and there is a good variety to choose from." The number of colour choices for polo shirts, jumpers, cardigans and skirts is truly diverse and this was particularly appreciated by parents — as one parent told us, "the choice of colours are beneficial."
The variety of uniform available also extends to its Easy On range that has been designed for children with specific or sensory-sensitive needs and includes features such as soft threads, elasticated waistbands and non-bulky seams. One parent said that the range is the "best quality I've come across for SEN range and they have the biggest range of SEN products," but did warn that these items can be "hard to get hold of throughout the year." Items from the range that received specific praise included the polo shirts and shirts. One parent who bought the polo shirt told us that, "the lack of buttons and labels gave my son a comfortable and less stressful start to his experience of school uniform" and another said "my son has sensory issues and the Asda uniform does not have itchy/annoying labels. The shirts have easy opening collars with Velcro so he can dress/undress himself independently."
Uniform from Asda is one of the lowest priced on our list (although its prices have risen slightly compared to the prices we recorded in 2022) and performed really well against the Worth the Money criteria, coming 2nd only to fellow supermarket retailer Sainsbury's. As one parent said, the uniform is "great value for money and it's still looking smart as we approach the end of the school year. It washes well and keeps its size and shape."
Parent tester Sadaf, who tested Asda's pinafore with her 5-year-old daughter was particularly impressed by how well it fit, noting that it was comfortable but also had room to grow: "the uniform is true to size and it fits quite well... the grey pinafore is made in such a way that my daughter will wear it next year, too. It's quite roomy but the material is stretchy." Respondents to our survey agreed, parents told us that the uniform: "fits perfectly and looks good," "fits my daughter perfectly" and "the fit is great and I like that they have the size adjuster buttons inside." Parent tester Jennifer also appreciated the adjustable elements, telling us that "the trousers had waist extenders and these seemed to go quit narrow which is ideal for a tall, slim child." Furthermore, Asda is the only supermarket alongside Sainsbury's that offers longer length, plus fit and slim fit options for most of their items.
In terms of washing, it performed relatively well but there were occasional reports of shrinkage and fading which were reflected in a slightly lower score in this area. One parent told us that "the navy jumpers faded after a few washes, other items have washed well however" and another said that "my only issue is that the colour fades quickly in their jumpers/cardigans but everything else like sizing and fabric quality is excellent." Parent tester Jennifer, who tested the uniform with her 4-year-old son, reported that the uniform "washed well at 30°, no shrinkage noticed and the red is still vivid." Jennifer also really appreciated the non-iron features: "I loved how the trousers were crease-free and didn't need to be ironed before wear. A huge bonus as a busy working mum!"
The convenience of being able to buy uniform from Asda was also highlighted by many parents. Asda offers a Click and Collect service that many were appreciative of, especially when there are some reports that availability in store can fluctuate: "the sizes are sometimes hard to find in store but being able to order online for free Click and Collect is very hands — highly recommend!" and another said "we normally have to buy online as our local George doesn't stock all the colours and sizes. But the Click and Collect has been excellent."
Available from: George at Asda school uniform – Also available at selected Asda stores nationwide.
— Best hidden gem school uniform
Average overall score: 8.33
Availability: Not available online, availability depends on store
Ease of care: No shrinkage reported, stains come out relatively easily but is not very crease-resistant
Sizing: Tends to be true to size
Special features: Reinforced knees, adjustable waists, embroidery on skirts, name label inside
In a nutshell: A good quality uniform option that's affordable, has accurate sizing and washes well — but it isn't available online and there isn't much variety available. If you're just looking for uniform staples such as polo shirts, jumpers and trousers/skirts and you have a local store with a good clothing range, then we do recommend Morrisons' uniform as a good quality and affordable option that is pretty much guaranteed to fit.
Another supermarket winner this year is Nutmeg at Morrisons which has been awarded Best Hidden Gem School Uniform for 2023. The uniform offering from the supermarket really impressed our testers, particularly in terms of washing, fit and reliable sizing. A huge 89% of survey respondents who had tried the brand thought that its sizing was about right, with only 1 parent reporting that it tends to run big. Most parents also tended to agree that the quality was great, especially when you consider its low price point. "Great quality and fit," "good quality, washed well" and "very good value, decent quality" were just some of the many comments we received.
Parent tester Alicia, who tested the uniform with her 7-year-old daughter, was really impressed with how well it fit: "I think the sizing of the uniform is great! There was enough room for it to fit comfortably, but it wasn't too big." Parent tester Elisa, who tested the uniform with her 7-year-old son, told us that she appreciated how comfortable her son found the uniform: "Oliver has issues at times with clothes so he will certainly let me know if there is something wrong. He said it was comfortable and wouldn't take the polo shirt off until bedtime so must have been comfortable!"
The uniform washed well, too. Elisa said that her son "had a mixture of mud, pen, ice lolly and chocolate on his polo shirt by the end of the day. After soaking it overnight in stain remover powder (as I would usually), it all washed up brilliantly apart from one small, faint mark." Alicia agreed with how well the uniform washed, saying that "all items washed well, no shrinkage was noted after washing and my daughter still said it felt comfortable" but did note that "the uniform did need ironing after hang drying, as the pleats in the pinafore were not as neat and the other items had noticeably creased."
Our testers were also impressed with the style details that this affordable uniform includes. Elise said that it was "really nice and smart. The trousers have creases down the front that stayed after washing and made them look smarter. The polo shirt was a really nice, long fit and looked nice both tucked in and out. The jumper looked very smart and is a lovely, vibrant red."
Despite its low-cost, the uniform from Morrisons still delivers on good quality details and features. The trousers have reinforced knees, there is embroidery on the skirts and the items are also made from a quick-drying material. Alicia was also impressed that "the uniforms also include a 'name' label inside, where there is space to write your child's name which is very useful!" It's also worth noting that the uniform is flat-priced, meaning that the cost doesn't change whether you are buying for a 4 year old or a 12 year old.
The big downside to Nutmeg uniform is that it is not available online, and parents have reported that it can be tricky to track it down in your local store (if you have one). One parent said that "I would purchase school clothing from them more frequently if our nearest one wasn't so far away, but the school clothing we have bought has been great" and another complained that Morrisons doesn't have "a very extensive range or variety, I've only managed to find white polos and no other suitable items." When compared to other retailers on our list such as George at ASDA or M&S, Morrisons does have a significantly reduced range — it doesn't offer any specific plus, slim or tall fit items, or a specific SEN range.
As one parent told us, Morrisons has "limited choice, but it's handy for the essentials," and for the fit alone, we think it's worth consideration as a hidden gem.
Available from: Selected Morrisons stores.
Average overall score: 8.33
Availability: Good availability in store and has its full range is available to buy online, with a free Click and Collect service available to store.
Ease of care: Mostly positive feedback, uniform tends to be stain and crease-resistant and only minimal shrinkage over time was reported
Sizing: Mixed reports with some parents saying it tends to run big. Longer length, slim fit and plus fit available on some items
Special features: Easy iron fabrics, stain-resistant coating, adjustable waistbands, lots of styles and details available including a large variety of summer dresses and cardigan options, SEN-friendly Easy Touch range available for shirts and polo shirts
In a nutshell: A high quality, reliable uniform with plenty of variety and lots of details available, especially for girls' clothing. The uniform is comfortable and fits relatively well, but may shrink and bobble over time. It is one of the more expensive options on our list, but most parents tell us that the price is worth it.
With a similar price point to John Lewis, Next's uniform is on the pricier side of our list — especially when compared to the supermarket options — but most parents tend to agree that the higher price is reflected in its quality, especially in terms of its longevity. As one parent commented, "it washed well, doesn't fade and lasts. But it is pricey initially compared to the supermarket brands," and another told us that Next is "an expensive brand but good quality."
Next was also praised for its various styles and fit options, as one parent remarked: "Next offers a range of sizes such as slim fit, standard fit and wide fit which is great... My primary school daughter loves the style they offer — frilled skirts that are a pretty style of school skirt and summer dresses that are fitted with a floaty skirt and belt. They also have an adjustable waistband for the perfect fit." Parent tester Nina, who tested the uniform with her 5-year-old son was also appreciative of the adjustable waistband in the trousers she tested: "we had waist extenders which is very important for us when buying school trousers. They worked perfectly." Another parent was also impressed by the adjustable options and styles available, telling us that "I love the adjustable waists of the skirts and also the longer length options as my girls are tall."
Parents praised Next for how well the uniform fit their children, but some did caution that the sizing tends to run big, despite the adjustable elements. Parent tester Katrina who tried the uniform with her 5-year-old daughter thought that the uniform is on the longer side in terms of length: "my daughter is particularly tall for her age, I often struggle with the lengths of skirts and dresses as she has long legs. I would say that every item including the socks was larger than the average retailer." Parent tester Nina however, thought that "the trousers were a good fit, not too baggy and the jumper was roomy but not hanging off him."
We received mixed feedback when it came to washing the uniform. Parent tester Katrina was impressed, telling us that "it washed well, I was surprised that the colour of the cardigan stayed just as vibrant and the uniform still looks brand new after washing. The dress almost has a coating on it making stains unable to stick! I'm mindblown!" Nina also agreed with how well the uniform washed: "The white polos came out bright white and the trousers did not have many creases post-washing which is always a plus!" However, some parents did tell us that they had negative experiences when washing the uniform and reported some shrinkage, especially with – you guessed it – the polo shirts. One parent said that "although the uniform is great to begin with, it shrinks when washing so I end up buying more within the year" and another said that "the uniform has gone bobbly now after a few washes."
Despite some reservations regarding the fit and washing, many parents were genuinely impressed with uniform from Next and frequently praised its high quality. One parent told us that "I'm really pleased with the quality and washing durability" and another said "Next is a reliable retailer and I can trust the fit and quality." Our parent testers who tried the uniform with their children agreed, Nina said that "I think the quality is fantastic. The jumper is lovely and thick and the socks were also great quality and not likely to get holes in." Most parents tended to agree that if you can afford the initial expense of buying Next's uniform, it is of good quality and should last your children quite a while.
Available from: Next school uniform – Also available at most Next stores nationwide.
Average overall score: 8.2
Availability: Not sold online and mixed availability in store
Ease of care: Parents reported some shrinkage with the polo shirts and cardigans, stains can be hard to remove
Sizing: Fairly true to size
Special features: Adjustable waists, reinforced knees, 365-day satisfaction guarantee
In a nutshell: Tesco's uniform is reliable, comfortable, has great design features, the fit is accurate and it washes relatively well. However, it is the most expensive of the supermarket options and the lack of availability in store/inability to order online can be frustrating.
Tesco performed very well with our survey respondents and its overall score was just slightly higher than fellow supermarket Asda. Parents lauded the quality of the materials, the fit and told us that it washed and dried impressively. As one parent told us, the uniform is "a great fit, it washed well, it's easy to iron and it wore well." However, availability issues were noted by many and the range doesn't offer as much variety when compared to some of its competitors. It was also the most expensive supermarket included in our test.
On the plus side, testers were really impressed by how well the uniform fit and reported that their children found it comfortable, too. Parent tester Andrea, who tested the uniform with her 5-year-old daughter Lucy told us "the fit is amazing so you will get a great amount of wear out of the uniform. Lucy says the uniform is very comfortable... the dress is well made and a great fit with the easy zip-up fastening. Lucy has also loved the skirt as the adjustable waist has helped her so much." Like many of the other brands in our test, Tesco's uniform does have details on some of their items that were welcomed by testers. Sarah said that she "really liked the adjustable waist on the trousers. They also have reinforced knees which is a good idea in school trousers for this age group," and another tester agreed with her latter point, saying "the trousers have reinforced knees which majorly help with a 5-year-old boy!" Tesco does offer a plus and slim fit option for its uniform, but doesn't have any specific longer length or SEN-friendly ranges unlike fellow supermarkets Sainsbury's and Asda.
Many respondents to our survey who had tried Tesco uniform were extremely impressed with how it washed, with one telling us that "it washes really well, it lasts the school year and has been passed down." Our parent testers did report some shrinkage with some of the items, however. Andrea reported that "it was easy to see that the polo shirt had definitely shrunk a bit during its first wash which was a little disappointing and the cardigan had also slightly shrunk." Parent tester Sarah, who tested the Tesco uniform with her 5-year-old son was also disappointed after washing the uniform: "the polo shirt shrank quite considerably and didn't come out as clean as I would have liked, there was still a visible mark after washing." However, both were impressed with the other items, with Andrea saying that "the skirt and pinafore were absolutely fine — no shrinkage or change of shape whatsoever" and Sarah commented that she was impressed with the trousers: "they still looked smart after washing and felt to be good quality."
As with Morrisons, Tesco F+F uniform is only available in store. Some parents were impressed by the availability in store, as one parent told us, "there is usually plenty of choice and it's convenient to pick up quickly should I need to," however this was not the experience we had when trying to track down some missing items for our testers. The inability to order online did frustrate some parents. One said "the uniform is good quality and washes well but it's absolutely impossible to find items that you need in store. Since F+F clothing stopped being sold online, we don't use this as a reliable option" and another agreed, saying that "I find the store lacks the sizes I need or it's sold out."
If you do have a large Tesco store local to you and you can get hold of the uniform, then parents really do rate it and think it offers great value for money, one told us that "Tesco never fails to impress... the materials are good, sizes are excellent and the uniform looks smart, crisp and posh. It washes and dries well, too." Another parent praised the uniform for its longevity and value for money, too, saying "it washes really well. It lasts the school year and has been passed down so has been worn by both of my boys. It's top quality and a really reasonable price." Also, we were very impressed that Tesco is the only retailer that offers a 365 day guarantee. If you're not satisfied with the quality of the uniform then you can return it to store for a refund or exchange.
Available from: Selected Tesco stores.
Average overall score: 8.09
Availability: Good availability online and in selected stores throughout the UK
Ease of care: No shrinkage reported and the uniform was easy to iron and remained soft, but some colour fading was noted over time
Sizing: Very accurate, most report that it's true to size
Special features: Stain resistant, adjustable waists
In a nutshell: Very high quality uniform that is 'Made to Last' and proves to be durable, is comfortable for children, washes relatively well and its sizing is very accurate. Many parents do struggle to see past the very high price point but some argue that if you can make the initial investment, the quality is worth it and the uniform is sure to last.
"Trutex are probably the best uniforms to buy as they keep their shape really well, wash like a dream and fit extremely well," one parent told us. Although it's the most expensive uniform offering on our list, Trutex impressed both our parent testers and many survey respondents, with plenty of praise for its quality and durability: "Trutex is the best — fit, comfort and washability is second to none." However, its high price point seemed to be an issue and the uniform brand came 2nd to last when judged against the Worth the Money criteria.
The quality of the uniform is clearly evident, though. Parent tester Laura, who tested Trutex uniform with her 5-year-old daughter admitted that she could immediately identify how well-made the uniform is, saying "you can just tell looking at the uniform that it's high quality. The thickness of the cardigan and skirt were great and I know they will keep my daughter lovely and warm in those winter months."
How well the uniform fit particularly impressed parents who have tried Trutex, with nearly 87% of parents telling us that the sizing was about right for their children — the highest percentage for this criteria after Nutmeg at Morrisons — and only 2.17% of parents told us that it tends to run small. One parent said that the uniform from Trutex "always seems to fit better and last longer than supermarket buys" and another said that Trutex offers "a better fit on all items" compared to other retailers.
In terms of washing, the high quality of the uniform shone through once again for our parent testers. Parent tester Amy, who tested the uniform with her 5-year-old son said that "all of the uniform washed really well" and Laura told us that "I found that there was no shrinkage at all with all of the items. Afterwards they were super easy to iron and the cardigan didn't lose its super softness." However, washing the uniform seemed to provide mixed reactions from parents who had tried Trutex over time. One said that the uniform is "good quality and washed well" but alternatively, one parent told us that "the polo shirts have not stayed very white" and another said "the school jumpers can go bobbly which is disappointing."
Although Trutex doesn't stock any specific SEN-friendly range, parent tester Laura did say that "my daughter is incredibly fussy with uniform and I find it difficult to not only find items that fit but that she finds comfortable (she has sensory issues). For the cardigan, she told me: 'Momma this is so soft, I love it!'" Other parents also agreed, one told us that the Trutex stock "the only jumper my daughter will wear" and another said "the labels aren't itchy or irritating."
The most prominent area of feedback we received regarding Trutex was that the uniform really does last which, if you can afford it, could justify the high price point over time. One parent told us that they "love the lasting quality of Trutex clothes which means that I can hand it down to my other children," and another said "it lasts longer and the quality doesn't fade at all." Trutex also offers a really great range of colour options in polo shirts and jumpers — with up to 18 options available in some styles.
However, the quality really was caveated by the price for a lot of parents. Parent tester Amy noted that "when I say I wouldn't recommend it, that is purely down to cost. The performance and quality has been very good. But I don't think it warrants the higher price point." Parent tester Laura agreed: "I do think this uniform is priced quite high and I don't think it's something that is affordable at the moment. However, I do think the quality of the cardigan and skirt are fantastic and it may be an investment over the year depending how long they do last."
Trutex does occasionally run a 20% offer on plain uniform, so it's worth checking the website. Trutex uniform is also available to buy online and in many independent stores across the UK — check their store locater for details. You can also purchase 'approved' pre-owned Trutex uniform from RE:FORM. This is uniform donated by parents that is reviewed, laundered and refurbished by Trutex and then sold at 40% discount of the original price (if it can't be re-sold, it will be recycled). Plus, if you donate your child's old Trutex uniform, you will receive 10% off your next order. You can find out more information on the RE:FORM website.
Available from: Trutex — Also available at some stores throughout the UK.
Average overall score: 8.09
Availability: Online only, good range of sizes in stock, click & Collect and delivery options available
Ease of care: Some shrinkage reported and mixed reports on how crease-resistant some of the items are, stains washed out well
Sizing: Mixed reports, with many parents saying it tends to run small and suggest sizing up, skinny fit and plus size available
Special features: Adjustable waistbands, stain-resistant fabrics, reinforced knees, grow-proof hems
In a nutshell: Reasonably good quality uniform but perhaps not worth its higher price point when compared with other retailers. Irregular sizing was reported by parents, with many saying that it runs small and tends to shrink in the wash too. However, parents did appreciate the comfortable materials, quality fabric and design elements such as adjustable waistbands.
There was praise from both our parent testers and respondents in our survey for uniform from Very, but it did fall short on key criteria such as Worth the Money and sizing, with only 62% of parents who had tried Very uniform telling us that the size was what they expected. Parents did appreciate the quality of the fabric used in the uniform, one said that "the clothing is strong material, it's easy to wash and I've had no problems with the quality." Very's uniform however was one of the more expensive uniforms that we tested, cheaper only than Trutex, John Lewis and Next.
Some parents did praise the fit of the uniform, with one respondent telling us that the uniform is "true to size" and another saying "the uniform fitted reasonably well with plenty of room to grow into without looking big when on." Parent tester Zoe, who tested the uniform with her 6-year-old son was impressed with the fit of some items, telling us that "the trousers, socks and polo shirt fitted well and as expected for his age and size. The jumper however was very small and tight-fitting." Parent tester Alysia, who tested the uniform with her 5-year-old daughter also had issues with the fit and sizing of some of the items, saying "I think the skirts, pinafore and socks all fit quite well... I felt the cardigans were quite small, they stretched across her belly and there wasn't much room in them. The polo shorts were also quite small." One parent told us that "I have always sized up in order to guarantee a good fit."
Some shrinkage was also reported. Alysia said "unfortunately both the polo shirts and the socks shrunk in the wash" and Zoe told us "we experienced some shrinkage with the jumper and polo shirt." Other items, however, such as the skirts and pinafores seemed to wash well. One respondent to the survey told us that the uniform "washed really well and the skirts kept their shape with minimum ironing needed." However, Alysia's experience was slightly different, she said that the skirt "badly needed ironing after washing due to a lot of creases in the fabric." Stains did wash out well, Alysia told us "my daughter spilt yoghurt down her when wearing the pinafore and this washed out completely."
Although some issues were reported, certain details of the uniform did impress our testers. The trousers in particular impressed Zoe, she liked the stretchy waistband and said "they fitted well and I liked that there was no zip/button/fastening on the trousers as sometimes Henry can struggle with these, so them just being easy to pull up and down was fab for him." Alysia also praised some elements of the skirt, such as the adjustable waist and stretchy waistband, but did identify an issue with the zip: "the zips of the skirts were very stiff. They kept getting stuck on the fabric and didn't move well at all. Not very easy for a young child to use, even my husband struggled to get the zips up and down!"
Very doesn't stock a specific SEN range but does have some items available in a Skinny Fit and Plus Size. Very uniform is only available online, with the option of delivery to your home or arranged collection from a nearby store. They also offer a 100-day satisfaction guarantee on some of their uniform items, which means that if you do buy the uniform and are not fully satisfied, you can return the uniform within 100 days for a full refund.
Available from: Very
Average overall score: 7.93
Availability: Very limited — not available online and sells out very quickly in store
Ease of care: Mixed experiences, minimal shrinkage was reported and stains are easy to get out, however it's not very crease-resistant and colours tend to fade over time
Sizing: Often runs slightly small
Special features: Very cheap, easy iron, 6-month satisfaction guarantee
In a nutshell: Extremely affordable uniform that performs relatively well but it does tend to run small and the quality fades considerably over time, especially in terms of shrinkage and colour fading. Most parents recommend using it as a spare or top-up uniform — if you can find it in store.
Aldi's uniform, along with Lidl's, is the cheapest offered in 2023 from the retailers in our survey. The school uniform bundle includes 2 polo shirts, 1 sweatshirt and a choice of trousers or a pleated skirt for £5 — the same as 2022 — and its quality is reasonable considering the low cost. As one parent said, "the price is great for people on a budget and it doesn't lack in quality either." Aldi also offers a price match guarantee when the cost of the items are judged against Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury's or M&S, and offers a 6-month satisfaction guarantee — one of the longest offered out of the brands on our list. However, one of the main issues with Aldi's uniform is availability: a bargain like this sells out quickly.
Given the price, it's no real surprise that Aldi's uniform came 3rd overall for when it comes to price, but parents did identify some issues with the quality. There were reports that the uniform runs small and some complaints that the uniform doesn't last very long: understandably it doesn't have the longevity of durability of the more expensive brands such as John Lewis or Next. As one parent told us, "I like the Aldi uniform, it's not too expensive at all and does fit lovely. I have however noticed fading from washing and it doesn't actually fit for very long, so I end up having to buy more." Some parents said that they like to use Aldi's uniform as a spare or addition to their child's uniform. Parent tester Samantha, who tested the uniform with her 5-year-old daughter said that, due to the quality, "I would recommend buying it as a top-up uniform to see you through the end of term but not as a long-lasting start-of-term uniform." Another tester agreed, saying "when the kids are small and you know you will have to buy uniform pieces throughout the year anyway, Aldi is the best place to go to."
There were mixed reactions to how well the uniform fit, one fifth of the parents we surveyed who had tried Aldi uniform told us that it runs smaller than expected. Our parent testers agreed, Samantha said that "the polo shirt was extremely small in comparison to other brands we usually buy. My daughter is extremely petite so I was shocked to see how slimline it was on her."
Parents were relatively impressed by how well the uniform washed. No shrinkage was reported by Samantha, but she was disappointed with the creases she had to iron after washing the uniform: "I did not notice any shrinkage or colour change with any of the items. However, I did notice the skirt creased a lot despite it being hung up to dry. It did say on the label crease-resistant!" Parent tester Amina, who also tested the uniform with her 6-year-old son told us that after washing, " there was no shrinkage or colour fading and the polo shirt was crisp white. There was some yoghurt stains on the sweatshirt which came out in the wash."
Although Aldi doesn't have a specific SEN-friendly range, some parents did report that the clothing was suitable for their children who do have specific sensory needs. One said "my son has autism and he is fussy, but has had no issues with the clothing from Aldi." Other parents agreed, saying "I have a child with autism and the uniform seems to fit well and not irritate her" and "my son likes the softness of the polo shirts as they don't feel as 'scratchy' as others."
As mentioned above, one of the biggest issues reported with Aldi's uniform is inevitably stock availability. Parents who rate the uniform expressed frustration that they struggled to find it, one told us that "I thought it was fab, just not much stock in otherwise I would have bought more." The lesson we learned from respondents to our survey is that if you can find it, it's definitely worth trying the uniform considering its low price. The uniform is available in a choice of colours and from size 4-12 years.
Available from: Selected Aldi stores.
Average overall score: 7.86
Availability: Good availability online but can vary in store, especially regarding some sizes, Click & Collect and delivery options available.
Ease of care: Mixed reports on how well the uniform washed with some reports of shrinkage, stains come out easily
Sizing: Can run slightly small, parents suggest sizing up, slim fit and generous fit available
Special features: Plenty of variety to choose from in terms of colours, fit and styles across most of their items, stain resistant coating, adjustable waists
In a nutshell: A really impressive variety of uniform available and most of the items perform relatively well, but there are issues with shrinkage and reports of irregular sizing — particularly with items running small. Parents were reasonably impressed with the quality and comfort of the uniform, but it doesn't necessarily out-perform the supermarkets, particularly when you consider Matalan's slightly higher price point.
Matalan, once again, sits right in the middle of our list in terms of cost but its performance has dipped slightly year-on-year. However, parents did tell us that the quality of certain items is impressive. One parent said that Matalan has the "best quality school trousers I've found, although it is more expensive than the supermarkets." Other parents also praised the uniform for being "good value for what you get," and many appreciated the "comfortable, smooth material" of the uniform.
Parent tester Sophie, who tested the uniform with her 6-year-old son told us that "when it first arrived, the uniform felt soft and comfortable. The colour of the royal blue jumper was vibrant... each item seemed well made and smart." Kalisa, who also tested the uniform with her 5-year-old daughter, agreed, saying that "the quality of the uniform was great. Good material." However, some parents noted that certain desirable details were missing, such as adjustable waistbands. Sophie said "there were no adjustable elements to the uniform that we were sent, which when you have a slim built child is something that I look for, especially in trousers and shorts." Matalan does offer adjustable waistbands, but only on its generous fit range.
Our testers did report issues with washing some elements of the uniform. Parent tester Sophie said that "unfortunately, with washing, the polo shirt has shrunk considerably" and "the royal blue jumper shrunk about 1 inch in length after 2 washes." Conversely, parent tester Kalisa said that "the uniform was nice and easy to wash... the polo shirt, skirt and cardigan washed lovely. The socks however shrunk quite a bit."
In terms of ironing, Sophie was impressed that both the jumper and trousers did not need to be ironed, but the polo shirt "creased easily so would need ironing." She did praise how well stains came out of the uniform: "there were baked beans spilt down the front of the while polo shirt and this washed out completely without the use of any stain remover. The jumper kept the vibrant blue colour well. The trousers had faint grass stains on the right knee and these washed out completely without the need for stain remover."
In terms of fit, parents said that not all of the items were true to size. Sophie commented that "the tops come up small and the trousers are on the longer side. The socks were true to size." Kalisa thought that "the polo shirt and socks were a perfect fit. The skirt was a great length but a tiny bit big around the waist. The cardigan was a bit shorter on the arms/body than other cardigans she has in the same size." The experiences of our parent testers was reflected by respondents to our survey. Over 1/5 of parents who had tried uniform from Matalan thought that the sizing came up smaller. One parent said "the sizing can sometimes be smaller than normal." Another said that some items "seemed a bit short," and another that "the sizing is confusing and smaller fit."
Matalan does have an impressive variety of school uniform fits, designs and styles, too. They offer a slim fit option for trousers and have a generous fit available for items including summer dresses, trousers, skirts, polo shirts and shirts as well as plenty of summer dress and pinafore styles to choose from including playsuits. Furthermore, they have a good selection of colours available for cardigans, jumpers and polo shirts.
Matalan uniform is available in store and online, with delivery and Click & Collect options available. Some parents did mention that some sizes and styles could be hard to track down in store. One parent said that they "can't always get the sizes i'm looking for" and another said they have "no issues with the uniform other than the stock goes quick."
Available from: Matalan school uniform – Also available at Matalan stores nationwide.
Average overall score: 6.81
Availability: Good availability online and in store with delivery or Click & Collect options available
Ease of care: Minimal ironing needed and no shrinkage reported with most of the items, however some issues were noticed with the polo shirt
Sizing: Mixed reports of the uniform sizing big and small which suggests it may vary from item to item
Special features: Stay White finish on polo shirts, anti-stain protector on some items, adjustable hems on trousers
In a nutshell: Uniform from Peacocks did seem to fall short when judged against key criteria in our survey, however only a relatively small number of those surveyed had experience with the range. Our parent testers reported that the uniform is comfortable for their children, some of the items have lovely details and most of the uniform washes reasonably well. However, sizing accuracy varies depending on the item.
One parent told us that, for uniform, "Peacocks are one of my favourite places to buy from because the quality is lovely" and our parent testers overall had some good things to say about the overall quality. However, it's not hugely competitive when it comes to price: the uniform range from Peacocks is more expensive than supermarkets and is similar to Matalan in its pricing.
Peacocks doesn't offer jumpers, but does offer polo shirts, shirts, trousers, skirts, pinafores and socks that tends to be good quality. Parent tester Hayley, who tried the uniform with her 5-year-old son, said "I was impressed with the quality of the socks... the trousers were a lovely, almost silky material and a lovely, light shade of grey." Parent tester Tanya, who also tested the uniform with her 4-year-old daughter agreed, telling us "the fabric of the skirt and pinafore feels thick and long-lasting. The polo shirt and socks feel good and comfortable."
Hayley also remarked on how comfortable the uniform was, telling us that "Niko felt comfortable in all of the uniform. He likes how soft the trousers felt and was really happy that the polo shirt was cooler than his other school polo shirts." In terms of fit however, Tanya did report some issues: "my daughter found most of the uniform comfortable, however, she found the band on the skirt quite tight... we would buy a size up in the polo shirt and possible a size down in the pinafore dress" and warned that "the skirt would be better on a slim figure."
In terms of washing, parent tester Tanya didn't notice any shrinkage when she washed the uniform and was quite impressed: "I measured all of the items before and after washing and there wasn't any discernible change. The skirt and pinafore both came out looking good, no creases!" Hayley was also impressed by the lack of ironing she needed to do after washing the uniform, saying "the trousers came out crease-free which is an absolutely fantastic feature of any school uniform and impressed me very much." Our testers did, however, notice some issues with the polo shirt. Tanya said that it "came out not quite as pristine white as new... and the look is also impacted by a bit of creasing" and Hayley noticed some shrinkage: "the polo shirt lost a bit of length from washing." A parent who responded to our survey also did note that "I feel that it didn't wash as well as other brands."
Details such as adjustable hems on the trousers, pockets on the pinafore dress and a frill on the socks was also appreciated by our testers and Hayley drew particular attention to the design of trousers, saying "I liked that the trousers had no fastenings so Niko could just pull them up and down when changing for PE or using the bathroom as he still sometime struggled with buttons and zippers. I really liked the polyester/viscose mix of the trousers."
Available from: Peacocks — Also available at selected Peacocks stores.
Uniforms not tested by home testers
Average overall score: 7.83
Availability: Very limited — sells out very quickly in stores, not available online
Ease of care: Reports of shrinkage and losing shape
Sizing: Tends to come up small, we suggest sizing up
Special features: Very cheap, easy iron shirts
In a nutshell: Lidl offers uniform at a truly bargain price — a bundle for just £5 — but this does mean the quality isn't as high as other brands. Many report that it doesn't wash well and the sizes tend to run small. It works well as a spare uniform — if you can find any in store.
Lidl was the only brand featured in our survey that we were unable to test due to lack of availability. Similarly to Aldi, limited availability was also one of the main complaints we received from parents in regards to uniform from Lidl. Parents who have tried and rate Lidl's uniform expressed frustration about the limited stock in their local stores with one telling us that "I just wish Lidl had more uniform available as we would buy more."
There is no doubting how competitive the price is, like Aldi, they also offer a 'bundle' including 2 polo shirts, a jumper, and a skirt, shorts or trousers for £5 — but perhaps unsurprisingly, respondents to our survey did report some quality issues with the uniform. Parents who had tried uniform from Lidl told us that it tends to be on the smaller side in terms of fit and it was the only brand to score below 60% when parents were asked if it fit as expected. One parent told us her experience: "the sizes were not standard UK and the age 9 equivalent (my daughter was 7 at the time) was fitting my daughter. She is age 8 in other clothing and other stores."
There was some positive feedback too. One parent said that the polo shirts "fit true to size and wash really well" and another said that "Lidl has good clothing, including uniforms. They're smart, good sizes, wash and dry well, look great on, last longer than some and iron well." However, there were mixed reports when it came to washing the uniform. Some parents were full of praise and told us that "for the money you pay — which isn't a lot — they wash well and lasted a while" and "they wash really well, they are also minimal iron and have been tumble dried and survived!" However, some parents did have criticisms. One parent said that it "seemed to shrink and lose shape with washing" and another said that they "found it didn't wash as well as others I've bought elsewhere."
The major selling point for Lidl's uniform is undoubtedly its price. Parents told us that it's "cheap and cheerful," "very affordable, good quality for the price" and "great price, I was able to buy a few so they can be replaced easily." Overall, it seems that — if you can find it — Lidl's uniform, like Aldi's is a good, affordable option that many parents may use as a spare, or to top-up their standard uniform.
Available from: Selected Lidl stores
¹ Survey carried out in June 2023 with 972 MadeForMums parents/caregivers whose children currently wear school uniform
Pics: Home testers recruited via the MadeForMums Top Testers Club
How we home-tested school uniforms
We tested primary school uniforms, comprising (in most cases) a shirt or polo shirt, jumper or cardigan, skirt, pinafore or trousers and socks. Kids put them through their paces before parents washed and dried them following the instructions on the labels (usually washing at 40°).
Our testers reported back on:
- Ease of wear
- Comfort and fit
- Washing; shrinkage and removing stains
- Worth the money
How we conducted our school uniform survey
In June 2023 we asked over 900 parents more than 50 questions about their children's uniforms. We also asked them to score uniforms they have tried under the following criteria, before calcuating an overall average score.
- Worth the money
We also asked these parents to share further details on fit and sizing, and to share their thoughts on availability. We also asked them to highlight the brands they preferred to go to for each item of uniform.
Emily is the Digital Content Producer at MadeForMums, working across the brand on everything from pushchairs and car seats to baby names and the latest product launches. She researches topics thoroughly to make sure our content is accurate and helpful for parents and loves bringing the details about latest parenting products and innovations to our audience.
Six big family moments that matter – and the products that make them easier to navigate
These products from John Lewis & Partners help support the memorable moments of family life.