Inside Scoop: School Uniforms

*Please note: this information is specific to FSK only. Uniform policies in Baltimore City vary from school to school.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL UNIFORM:

  • Any light blue, solid colored top or dress: collars or not, buttons or not, short or long sleeves.  I 🖤 FSK shirts  and monogrammed polos are welcome and can be purchased in our main office.
  • Any khaki/beige bottoms: pants, shorts, skirts, skorts/scooters (skirts with shorts built in), jumpers (sleeveless “dresses” that still need a shirt underneath).
  • Optional: navy or light blue cardigans, sweaters, or vests

YOUR CHILD’s CHOICE – any colors and patterns:

  • Leggings, cartwheel/biker shorts, tights: must be worn under dresses, skirts, and jumpers
  • Undershirts, including long sleeve
  • Socks & shoes
  • Hair accessories
  • Jewelry, as long as it’s safe for activity and not distracting in class
  • Jackets and outdoor accessories (hats, mittens, etc)
  • Backpacks & lunchpacks

STORES & BRANDS popular with FSK families (in alphabetical order):

  • Carters – online and in some stores
  • The Children’s Place – online and in some stores
  • Dennis Uniforms on Rolling Road in Catonsville (a parent tells us “they cater to private schools, but have items without school patches. The prices are about the same as Lands End.”)
  • French Toast – online only
  • FSK office – Logo’d t-shirts and monogrammed polos, including Under Armour.
  • Kohls – online and in some stores
  • Lands End** – online and in some Sears (guaranteed for life, and FSK monograms are available for all items.  Savvy parents wait for 40-50% off sales, and 1% of all sales go back to FSK.)
  • Old Navygreat prices but parents report these items don’t hold up as well.
  • TargetCat & Jack brand guaranteed for one year, so “save your receipt!” say parents.
  • Walmart

*Parent advice: be on the lookout for sales, online coupons, and shipping promotions during July and August.

**Lands End now offers a Universal Collection for kids who need more ease and comfort with their clothes: no snaps, buttons, zippers, or tags; only magnets, velcro, and ironed-in labels.  Prices are the same as traditional items and qualify for sales.

HOW MANY TO BUY

FSK parents surveyed typically have 5-10 uniforms ready per child.  Precisely how many for your child depends on your budget, laundry habits, and the variety of items your child likes to wear.

Also, Pre-k and Kindergarten teachers ask you keep 1-2 complete changes of outfits at school: top, bottom, socks, and underwear.  Be sure to add these in to your count.

TEACHERS SAY:

“We place a huge emphasis on labeling EVERYTHING!  This includes jackets, sweatshirts, sweaters, extra uniforms in cubbies, hats, etc.  Labeling the tags will help us to keep things with the child they belong to.”

A WORD FROM OUR PRINCIPAL:

“We have uniform loaners in the main office.  Many parents donate lightly used clothing to help stock it.

Also, the city has a uniform voucher program for those who need it:

https://www.baltimorecityschools.org/homeless-services.”

SOME ADVICE FROM CURRENT PARENTS:

Buy cheap!

“Don’t spend a lot because uniforms get beat up.  I usually have to buy a second round halfway through the year due to holes, stains, or outgrowth.”

– Parent of child four years complete at FSK

“Clothes will get stains on them, so I wouldn’t buy anything too expensive.” 

– Parent of two kids at FSK.

“They usually go on sale for back to school, $5 for the short sleeve polo is a great price. Then in September or October start checking clearance racks, and stock up on fresh shirts and pants for when they get wrecked, or I’ll get some of the next size up for the following year.” 

– Parent of two kids at FSK

“Once you find your favorite brands, be on the lookout for sales (especially Black Friday in November).  Then stock up on the next size up!  Some items shrink and kids outgrow them quickly, so it’s nice to have the next one on hand knowing that you bought it at a reasonable cost.”

– Parent of child one year complete at FSK

Should you buy short sleeve AND long sleeve items?

“No.  My kids preferred cardigans/sweaters.”

– Parent of kids five years into FSK.

“I recommend layers! Don’t spend the money for seasonal. Short sleeve polos with cardigans, then children have the choice since some classrooms are hotter even in the winter, or they run around in gym class and get warmer. I also layered skorts with leggings during the colder months.”

– Parent of child four years into FSK

“I only got the short sleeve dresses and tops, knowing that they can wear any kind of long sleeve shirts under.”

– Parent of child one year complete at FSK

“We didn’t buy any long sleeve shirts. We used short sleeves all year and supplemented with a navy cardigan and/or long sleeves under shirts in the colder months.”

– Parent of child one year complete at FSK

“Short sleeves work better. The temperature varies so much in the classes that keeping a sweater in the locker is easier and keeps them more comfortable.”

– FSK teacher and parent

“You can always layer a long sleeve T under the short sleeve polo, or navy sweater/fleece over it, but I like to have 3-4 long sleeves as part of the winter rotation.”

– Parent of two kids at FSK

“We buy long sleeves for winter, because we get them cheap in the off-season.  It saved us from losing cardigans like everyone else did because my child never needed to wear one.  I also like having a little extra covering in the freezing winter – it’s good to have that for when my child comes home.”

– Parent of child one year complete at FSK

How much variety to have:

“No matter what I buy, my daughters want something different.  I usually buy a combination of dresses, skirts, and jumpers.   My girls refuse to wear shorts or pants.” 

– Parent of two girls at FSK.

“I bought 1-2 options of each for my daughter (skirts, jumpers, blue tops, dresses) and she ONLY wore the blue dresses. So I guess my advice is either be prepared for your kid to not wear 2/3 of the clothes you buy (if you buy various options) or to only give them one choice.”

-Parent of child one year complete at FSK

“Buy only one brand/style of shirt/pair of shorts/pants – otherwise your child may decide they have a favorite brand/style and refuse to wear the other shirts.” 

– Parent of kids five years complete at FSK.

Get ready for stain removal!

“Uniforms came home with stains daily so stock up on the stain removers. We use tons of it.”

– Parent of child one year complete at FSK

“Stain treat shirts daily. Some stain treatments take the color out of clothes. If your child participates in after school art, send a smock.  Buy washable markers (regular, mr. sketch and dry erase).  Hang shirts dry so any stains you miss treating don’t become permanent.”

– Parent of kids five years complete at FSK.

“I use “goo-gone” spray to treat stains on the weekends. It works great and keeps the uniforms looking good.”

– Parent of two kids at FSK

“I am NEVER without Shout. My daughter’s uniforms look as new as the first day! I keep it in the bathroom and spray her tops and bottoms of any stains before she showers, then it will sit a bit ready for laundering and the stain always comes out. Class pictures are taken at the start of the year, but ALSO at the end of the year, so it really keeps her uniforms looking great! I also recommend Oxi-clean in the washer in addition to get overall dirt she comes home with from recess.”

– Parent of child four years complete at FSK

Some final advice:

“Don’t buy uniforms too far in advance.  I was so excited for my daughter to start at FSK that I began buying clothes in the previous winter/early spring, but I had no idea how much she’d grow or what size she’d need for a given season.  Each brand fits a little different too.  So if you do buy super early, be aware of return policies.”

-Parent of child two years complete at FSK

“I recommend buying uniforms for the fall NOW (earlier in the summer), so there is plenty of stock anywhere you go. The further into summer you wait, you’ll be at a loss for sizes and styles.”

– Parent of child four years complete at FSK

“I remember being nervous about my daughter willingly wearing the uniform every day, so a few moms who had girls starting at FSK did a Uniform Shopping Trip. A few weeks before school we went out to lunch with the girls and to a few stores to try on different uniform pieces. We made a bit of a deal about it, how exciting it was to have uniforms, planned a few days to wear the same outfits (skirts, shorts, jumper, polo dress, etc), and commented on how pretty the light blue color was. I talked it up a lot in the lead up to school. There were no complaints come the first day putting the uniform on. I think it helped that she was part of the process of picking out the uniform.”

-Parent of children five years complete at FSK

“Our first year I got all monogrammed shirts and I realized shortly into pre-k it was really for me.”

– Parent of child four years complete at FSK

“I’ve been able to keep my daughter in stretchy items, including khaki yoga pants and stretchy jumpers from Lands End, khaki cartwheel shorts from The Children’s Place, and khaki skorts from Target.  Her polo shirts, dresses, and leggings are all stretchy too.  I want her to be unrestricted for movement during the day, and if you shop around you won’t have to settle for stiff fabrics.”

-Parent of child two years complete at FSK

“I learned about midway through the first year – seriously reduce your shopping for non-uniform clothing.  I didn’t think through how little else my daughter would need beyond uniforms.  In addition to my own shopping for the “next size up” of play clothes, there were gifts from grandma and relatives and hand-me downs from friends.  In the end, she had her 2 or 3 favorite non-uniform outfits she wore on weekends, and her drawers were full of other clothes she never wore.”

– Parent of child two years complete at FSK.

“I recommend donating old, stain-free uniforms to the school once the year is over, just in case kids without extras have access should an accident/mess happen.”

– Parent of child four years complete at FSK

School Uniform Info (PDF)