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Tell F&F what you really look for in a school uniform and have a chance to win a £200 voucher NOW CLOSED

(171 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 05-Aug-13 11:27:37

You may have seen we recently asked 100 MNers to put the new F&F school uniform range to the test - you can see what they thought here. F&F would now like to know what Mumsnetters look for when searching for the ideal school uniform for your DCs.

Here's what F&F say: "At F&F we're really proud of the value and quality of our products and have spent the last year really improving our schoolwear range. Our schoolwear offering, which is available online all year round, is designed to last. With features including Teflon fabric protector across skirts, trousers and pinafores, we believe that we've made it easier to get those stains out. Also, we've included adjustable waistbands to ensure a more comfortable fit for your children that will also help the items last that little bit longer as they grow. Finally, we've helped reduce ironing with our permanent pleats in skirts."

If you had the chance to design your own school uniform for your DCs what would it look like? What special features would you want? Extra long t-shirts or trousers for your tall children? Wrinkle free clothes to cut down on the ironing? What's the one thing that is missing from current school uniform ranges?

We'd also like to know what you think of the specific features of the new F&F school uniform range, watch the TV ad here.

~ How important are adjustable waistbands to you? Would they factor into your ideal school uniform?

~ What do you think of Teflon coated fabrics? Do you think it is an effective way of minimising stains on school uniforms or not? Do you think it helps improves the longevity of the clothing or not?

~ How helpful, if at all, is having permanent pleats in skirts?

~ If you could manufacture your ideal school uniform range would you make it available to parents online or not? Do you think that this makes parents' life easier or not?

Everyone who shares their thoughts with us will be entered into a prize draw to win £200 worth of e-vouchers for Tesco.

Thanks and good luck,

MNHQ

skyeskyeskye Mon 05-Aug-13 23:31:27

Yes to pleats and adjustable waistbands. Also longer lengths in skirts, nobody likes to see a small child with a dress skimming her bottom.

I buy everything online so yes to that. why traipse around when you can get it online.

A good range of coats for winter would be good along with decent leather boots. Tights that are long enough would be good too. Always have to buy bigger to get them long enough.

Paint resistant summer dresses would be good too!

nooka Mon 05-Aug-13 23:47:53

My children are at a no uniform school, and consequently wear whatever they like and are comfortable in which is great. I much prefer this arrangement. So my views come from when they were in uniform, and my own experiences.

dd and ds are both tall and slim (ds is super skinny) so adjustable waistbands were essential, although really I prefer clothes sold in waist and height measurement instead of arbitrary ages (dd has never worn her 'age' in clothes). The trouble is that clothes are being made with much bigger fittings which means that he would have great bunches at the waist which could be quite uncomfortable.

Not sure about Teflon, as stains were never much of a problem, I'd much rather the material was sturdier to reduce rips. School uniform material tends to be really quite nasty in my opinion. ds generally wears chino or rugby trousers which are 100% cotton and wear very well.

I don't think I had pleated skirts for dd (primary age only), my main concern about skirts for girls is that they should be made to fit a variety of shapes. I remember my uniform always looked terrible as there was only one permitted style and it really didn't suit my shape.

Online is great for replacements, but a try before you buy rail with every fitting available is even better.

ritagcabrita Tue 06-Aug-13 00:08:59

How important are adjustable waistbands to you? Would they factor into your ideal school uniform?
I only buy products witth adjustable waistband because I want to be sure the uniform fits confortably on my daughter's waist.

~ What do you think of Teflon coated fabrics? Do you think it is an effective way of minimising stains on school uniforms or not? Do you think it helps improves the longevity of the clothing or not?
Yes, I think Teflon fabrics are a god sent to protect the school uniforms and save money on wash loads and time on dealing with stubborn stains.

~ How helpful, if at all, is having permanent pleats in skirts?
It makes it easier for the skirts to be neat to be worn everyday for school.

~ If you could manufacture your ideal school uniform range would you make it available to parents online or not? Do you think that this makes parents' life easier or not?
Yes, I would make it available online as it is quick and easier to order clothing online than to go to the shops and try the items on the spot.

steppemum Tue 06-Aug-13 00:33:47

What do I look for in uniform?

I have one ds (aged 10) and 2 dds, (aged 8 and 5) with very different tastes (dd1 only wears trousers, dd2 loves twirly skirts)

for boys:
tough indestructible trousers. Teflon coating works, and trousers wash and wear and don't need ironing.
adjustable waists are good, as ds is thin
but he wears his trousers round his hips/bum as a pre-teen trying to look cool. This means the trousers need to be 6'' shorter hmm so I have to take them up. This year we have found trousers with elastic, so comfy round the hips and adjustable (from Asda)

white shirts - need to wash, wear, do not deform, do not shrink (and I don't tumble dry) 100% cotton

for girls:
a variety or styles to cover fussy differing tastes
soft stretchy trousers are favourites
Two bug bears
1. Please please put pockets in girls trousers.
2. Please make skirts properly knee length, they grow in height not width during the year, so the skirts get short enough anyway.

please make proper girls shorts, not culottes for summer (asda now have proper tailored girls shorts)
culottes are always wrong shape, they have pleats which don't hang properly because of the shorts part.
If not culottes, maybe a skort?

please make summer dresses 100% cotton

dd1 would love to have your proper shirts instead of polo shirts, but they are not 100% cotton, so sweaty and smelly and I have said no.

Girls trousers don't seem to have the adjustable waists, especially the stretchy ones.

And a final random one - we had one polo shirt for the summer which was sleeveless. It was lovely and dd wore it to death. I have never found another one. Sleeveless 100% cotton polo with tailored shorts is a nice alternative to dresses for those who won't wear a dress.

steppemum Tue 06-Aug-13 00:36:01

oh forgot
permanent pleats? yes. so i can wash and hang, not iron
on-line? Not bothered, need to try it on

ldt87 Tue 06-Aug-13 00:57:38

I will only buy uniform with adjustable waistbands because my oldest is a beanpole and needs long legs and a tiny waist and my youngest is average build.
If a shop had no uniform available with adjustable waists I would go elsewhere.

I find Teflon coating neither here nor there and have not seen any evidence that it makes the clothes last longer.

I like the idea of permanent pleats in skirts, as I have ironing pleats and this would make a horrible job easier.

If I were manufacturing school uniform I would definitely sell it online, I think that's how most people shop now and not being available online would make people buy from another shop

Overall what I want from school uniform is for it to still look smart and couple of months into the school year. Navy cardigans and jumpers always seem to fade and get holds around the neckline and wrists, trouser hems come down too easily and polo shirts lose shape and shrink. The reasonably priced uniform I have tried has not overly impressed me and I'll be trying to shop around a bit this year, to get specific items from specific shops. There are some stores in haven't tried much of such as sainsburys and tesco so may have a look there.

One of my boys is very tall and slim for his age so adjustable trousers are vital for him. It would be great if there were polo shirts that were longer to suit a tall child as well. In an ideal world, I would love school polo shirts to have some sort of stain resistant guard so stains don't penetrate the fabric. I get sick of my kids coming home from school covered in pen, paint and with their dinner down their front (none of which ever seems to come out). Also with boys trousers, it would be great if the knee could be reinforced somehow to make it harder to go through to a hole so easy.

Kirst16 Tue 06-Aug-13 07:41:21

If you had the chance to design your own school uniform for your DCs what would it look like? What special features would you want? Crease free and/or easy iron, anything which cuts down effort with frequent laundering. Preference for polo shirts which don't shrink during washing and/or tumble drying. A zippable pocket in school trousers would also be handy to keep tuck shop money safe, especially for the younger ones.

How important are adjustable waistbands to you? Would they factor into your ideal school uniform? Adjustable waist bands are a must as it can shrink / expand waistline as needed. Nothing worse than having my younger son constantly hitching his trousers up - he's quite slim.

What do you think of Teflon coated fabrics? Do you think it is an effective way of minimising stains on school uniforms or not? Do you think it helps improves the longevity of the clothing or not? Teflon coating is great as it helps minimise the effects of spills and stains. I do think this helps maintain the longevity of the school uniform.

How helpful, if at all, is having permanent pleats in skirts? N/a - I have two boys so feel unable to comment.

If you could manufacture your ideal school uniform range would you make it available to parents online or not? Do you think that this makes parents' life easier or not? Yes I do believe having items available for purchase on line is a must. But it is equally important to have samples available for trying on in store, as you never know what some manufacturers sizes are like i.e. whether they come up big or small - this is especially important when purchasing for the 1st time.

Bert2e Tue 06-Aug-13 08:04:40

Adjustable waists are a must for my skinny duo - but I like a slim fit as well as adjustability as many are too bulky around the waist when they are pulled in to fit. My holy grail would be polo shirts that are resistant to dry wipe markers (would Teflon do that?) as ds2 has ruined most of his shirts with markers and it doesn't wash out of even the M&S stain resist shirts. For winter coats I want no hoods - they always get pulled in the playground and ripped. A zip off version would do at a pinch so I could take it off myself and make them wear a hat if it's cold.

If I was designing a school uniform I would:
-Get the uniform requirements of local schools to make sure it adhered to their rules.
-sell uniform in all sizes from July to October at minimum (and especially school trousers in ages 3-11 just after the start of term when they inevitably tear the knees out!)
-make polo shirts/cotton shirts that do not stain on contact with:
Berol marker pens
Biros
Suncream
Tomato based food
Gravy

-I would make school trousers/skirts adjustable at the waist without looking like a drawstring sack. Perhaps a concealed panel?
- I would make trousers with adjustable length, as boys can grow like weeds, and bring able to take up/let down even two inches of trouser leg in a term can mean the difference between normal looking clothes and shredded hems or ankle swingers.

~ How important are adjustable waistbands to you? Would they factor into your ideal school uniform?

We can't do without adjustable waistbands. My DSD is tall, but thin. If you went by waist measurements only, she would still squeeze into a size 5-6 when the rest of her is actually a 7-8.

~ What do you think of Teflon coated fabrics? Do you think it is an effective way of minimising stains on school uniforms or not? Do you think it helps improves the longevity of the clothing or not?

Haven't noticed a difference; DSD's uniform is grey and black and hides the dirt, the white polo shirts are just put on a hot wash and can be covered with the school sweatshirt.

I would actually prefer trouser fabrics that stand up to a kiddo skinning her knees on asphalt. DSD wrecked two brand new pairs at the end of last school year with plain old playing around.

~ How helpful, if at all, is having permanent pleats in skirts?

They are only helpful if the permanent pleats come out of the dryer unwrinkled. I have better things to do than iron.

~ If you could manufacture your ideal school uniform range would you make it available to parents online or not? Do you think that this makes parents' life easier or not?

Yes, I would make it available online. The stores don't always have the size you need - sometimes, your kid's size is the one that sells out quickest - so having click and collect available is handy. Sometimes, I can get cashback deals as well, which actually encourages me to buy something in the first place rather than go without.

And TBH, if I could design my own uniform, I would allow children to attend school in:

1) Jeans
2) Trainers

The jeans go a little further when standing up to skinned knees on asphalt. When they are made with thicker fabric, they are also a lot warmer to wear in winter. Not such a big deal with a little girl - put a pair of tights underneath - but try convincing a boy to do that.

The trainers are because plimsolls and canvas maryjanes are flimsy, unsupportive and really unfit for athletics. I think it is especially unfair that black non-marking trainers are marketed to primary-aged boys for classroom and gym, but not the girls.

IMO. But then, I am a heathen who went through primary, secondary and then higher ed without any uniform policy. grin

Babycarmen Tue 06-Aug-13 10:58:17

~ How important are adjustable waistbands to you? Would they factor into your ideal school uniform?
Very! I have too skinny girls and the waists are ALWAYS far too big, especially with Tesco and Asda actually. I think it would be handy to have a 'slim' range.

~ What do you think of Teflon coated fabrics? Do you think it is an effective way of minimising stains on school uniforms or not? Do you think it helps improves the longevity of the clothing or not?
I'm not really sure to be honest, Its a good idea if it works but I haven't really noticed much difference.

~ How helpful, if at all, is having permanent pleats in skirts?
It is very helpful, I wouldn't be ironing them in myself!

~ If you could manufacture your ideal school uniform range would you make it available to parents online or not? Do you think that this makes parents' life easier or not?
Yes I would, if the delivery was reasonable. I tried buying uniform online this year but its hopeless, everywhere is always out of stock.

StressedandFrazzled Tue 06-Aug-13 11:59:26

I would like adjustable waistbands as standard. Natural cotton for shirts, cotton socks, thicker winter shirts also made of natural fibres. Slim-fit on every type of trousers, slim skirts, winter-style skirts for when it's very cold and everything available online.

QueenandKingMum Tue 06-Aug-13 12:05:48

~ How important are adjustable waistbands to you? Would they factor into your ideal school uniform?
Hugely important for us. My children are taller and so the trousers/shorts/skirts we need to get are always in the age group or 2x age group above their actual one. Therefore the waists are massively too big, we only buy adjustable ones.

~ What do you think of Teflon coated fabrics? Do you think it is an effective way of minimising stains on school uniforms or not? Do you think it helps improves the longevity of the clothing or not?
Teflon does help with the stains but not sure on the longevity, as they either outgrow them too quickly or have holes in them (the boy!)

~ How helpful, if at all, is having permanent pleats in skirts? Important but not hugely. My daughters school allow different types.

~ If you could manufacture your ideal school uniform range would you make it available to parents online or not? Do you think that this makes parents' life easier or not? Oh absolutely available online. It's important for those too busy or stores that sell out.

gazzalw Tue 06-Aug-13 12:22:58

~ How important are adjustable waistbands to you? Would they factor into your ideal school uniform?

As the parent of two very slim children adjustable waistbands are essential and we will not even consider school trousers/skirts without them!

~ What do you think of Teflon coated fabrics? Do you think it is an effective way of minimising stains on school uniforms or not? Do you think it helps improves the longevity of the clothing or not?

I'm not entirely convinced that the Teflon makes any difference.But then we haven't got children who are very hard-wearing on their clothes...including school uniforms...

~ How helpful, if at all, is having permanent pleats in skirts?

DD is not overly keen on pleated skirts. DW thinks that totally pleated ones for primary aged girls are ridiculous! I'm not even sure they look particularly smart - certainly not if the pleats have 'fallen out'!

~ If you could manufacture your ideal school uniform range would you make it available to parents online or not? Do you think that this makes parents' life easier or not?

I think that school uniform brands have to be seen, touched and checked against one's child really. It is brilliant to think that they are available online but unless you show the same items modelled by thin, average and bigger children you will have no idea of knowing how likely the item is to fit your child....Also, it's just extra hassle if the items bought online don't fit and have to be returned.

ArthurCucumber Tue 06-Aug-13 15:40:24

Having just got back from kitting out my 11 yr old for secondary:

- I wish there were longer length shirts/blouses for children who are tall and slim for their age! For the legs we have adjustable waistbands, so that way skirts/trousers can be long enough but still narrow enough at the waist. But I've just had to buy shirts for my dd that are too short in the arm and don't tuck in well enough at the waistband, because the larger size was just too wide at the neck.

- See above - adjustable waistbands are important, and should go up to higher ages as well. At my dd's new secondary, the skirt has to touch the knee. But I had to choose between long enough but too wide at the waist, and narrow enough but too short, because there were no adjustable waistbands available by that age.
It's also important to have a sensitive skin range that is still good quality.

~ I don't like the feel of Teflon coated clothes, and don't find it affects stains/longevity that much.

~ How helpful, if at all, is having permanent pleats in skirts?
We have the opposite problem - dd's secondary skirt is designed with no pleats at all, and would be impossible to run in. Younger secondary girls may still want to play/run outside. At primary level, it would make ironing easier.

~ If you could manufacture your ideal school uniform range would you make it available to parents online or not? Do you think that this makes parents' life easier or not?
I prefer to try on uniform in person, as it varies so much in quality, etc., and children also vary. But it would be good to have online availability mid-year, as some shops are low in stock except in August.

jmcglynn Tue 06-Aug-13 16:19:40

How important are adjustable waistbands to you? Would they factor into your ideal school uniform?

Yes definitely!! Not all children are the same shape and size and it can be a nightmare finding trousers that are both long enough and with the right waist size.

~ What do you think of Teflon coated fabrics? Do you think it is an effective way of minimising stains on school uniforms or not? Do you think it helps improves the longevity of the clothing or not?

This is my first year of buying school uniforms so I'm not able to give a definitive answer on this just yet!

~ How helpful, if at all, is having permanent pleats in skirts?

I prefer skirts with pleats, and would never have the time to iron them in myself, so this is very helpful

~ If you could manufacture your ideal school uniform range would you make it available to parents online or not? Do you think that this makes parents' life easier or not?

Definitely make it available online. Parents can be busy enough without having to traipse to the shops to buy uniform. It would be especially useful outside of the summer holidays. I can't say I've seen that many pieces of uniform available generally throughout the year, which I imagine could make it difficult if you need to replace something and would prefer it to match other items you've bought from F&F.

coppertop Tue 06-Aug-13 17:41:07

1) If you had the chance to design your own school uniform for your DCs what would it look like? What special features would you want?

Longer skirts would be a start. It's currently a choice between knicker-skimmers or wearing a size bigger and running the risk of them falling down every time dd lets go of the waistband.

Better fasteners on primary age trousers. Ds' have those clip fasteners on them. Great for avoiding having to fiddle with buttons, but they have a tendency to eventually fall off and be difficult to fix or replace.

School shoes for girls that are suitable for the winter. They usually leave the top of dd's foot uncovered, so there's no protection if she gets caught in the rain.

Boys' shoes always seem to be much more practical, with chunkier soles and big velcro straps or laces. The girls' shoes tend to have thin soles that wear out quickly are usually a choice between a flimsy strap across the top, or slip-on shoes.

Polo shirts that don't shrink in the wash (M&S is the main culprit for this).

2) How important are adjustable waistbands to you? Would they factor into your ideal school uniform?

Very useful for long and slim children (see above comment about skirts)

3)What do you think of Teflon coated fabrics? Do you think it is an effective way of minimising stains on school uniforms or not? Do you think it helps improves the longevity of the clothing or not?

Doesn't make much difference tbh.

4) How helpful, if at all, is having permanent pleats in skirts?

Again, it doesn't make much difference.

5) If you could manufacture your ideal school uniform range would you make it available to parents online or not? Do you think that this makes parents' life easier or not?

It only makes life easier if you're sure about which size your child needs. Otherwise I'd rather be able to let my children try them on in the shop first.

For shirts in multi-packs it would help if there were 'tester' shirts out on hangers for customers to look at.

littlemonkeychops Tue 06-Aug-13 19:10:29

I don't have school-age children yet, but my sister (two boys) wants hardwearing stuff. She looks for a balance between readonable cost but not so cheap that they fall apart in the wash. Teflon coating sounds like a gimmick to me.

Oh and when DC are older i'll definitely order online!

GwenCooper81 Tue 06-Aug-13 20:37:44

Adjustable waists, every time, both of my children need the next size up height wise but they are skinny on the waist, adjustable stuff adds lifespan.

Teflon, nope, too shiny and too hard, both have clean on everyday so Teflon coated is pointless in my opinion.

Longer length skirts and pinafore dresses. Larger sizes in pinafore, my 8 year old ( size 9-10) would like to wear them but styles/length are limited.

Permanent pleats, my personal opinion, I don't like them, I find it makes no difference to ironing and after a while they look tatty as the pleats fall -this could be my skilful ironing though-

Girls shorts should be widely available, Asda sell tailored ones and they are lovely. Cullottes are fine, but neither of mine like the pleated style and as someone above mentioned, the pleats are often out of line due to the 'shorts' part.

Tights need to be longer and true to size.

My children where Purple at their school. It's almost impossible to buy. Individual stores need to tailor their uniform to local schools.

Uniform ( a wide selection!) needs to be on sale year round. While we're on the subject.. swimming costumes and summer stuff needs to be on sale, -in a heatwave in August-, we don't need winter coats and boots just yet!.

I prefer shopping in store, but the online option is also a great idea.

Hopezibah Tue 06-Aug-13 21:34:34

Love the actual advert and describing the kids as artists etc. The Teflon protect is important as kids and mess just seem to attract like magnets so anything that helps keep clothes clean/stain free is a bonus.

The permanent pleats are also a good idea but not essential for me.

~ How important are adjustable waistbands to you? Would they factor into your ideal school uniform?

My son has a teeny tiny waist so yes - adjustable waistbands really useful. (especially when he first started school I had to find age 3 trousers as his waist was so tiny).

~ What do you think of Teflon coated fabrics? Do you think it is an effective way of minimising stains on school uniforms or not? Do you think it helps improves the longevity of the clothing or not?

yes it helps minimise stains. Not sure about the longevity.

~ How helpful, if at all, is having permanent pleats in skirts? helpful but not essential.

~ If you could manufacture your ideal school uniform range would you make it available to parents online or not? Do you think that this makes parents' life easier or not?

Yes - for my son's initial 'big' school uniform order we got it all online and then topped up with extra bits in store throughout the year as necessary. BUT important to have good range of sizes and have all items in STOCK for online orders - otherwise more hassle to only be able to get a few things online.

Also an easy returns policy is useful so if we are unsure of size, we can buy several sizes to try and then return the incorrect sizes.

kla73 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:41:09

Adjustable waists are essential.

Skirt and dress lengths could do with being longer. I often have to get older than their age but find that they are too big in on the waist or across the chest on dresses.

Non iron and easy care also important. Don't mind teflon coated but it is not essential.

Not keen on very fussy designs - keep it simple.

WildThongsHeartString Tue 06-Aug-13 22:11:23

Adjustable waistbands: yes, yes! Invaluable. I wish we could get them on adult clothes.
Teflon coating: not so much, my DS still gets holes, wear and grass stains on the knees so I would still wash them each day anyway.
Permanent pleats in skirts: can't comment as I don't have a dd, but permanent creases in the trousers are great.
Online: definitely. I do most of my shopping online anyway and it's great to be able to avoid the busy children's departments at this time of year.

dahville Tue 06-Aug-13 23:16:46

~ How important are adjustable waistbands to you? Would they factor into your ideal school uniform?
Very important to ensure the trousers can be given the best fit possible and last as long as possible. Yes, they would be part of the ideal school uniform.

~ What do you think of Teflon coated fabrics? Do you think it is an effective way of minimising stains on school uniforms or not? Do you think it helps improves the longevity of the clothing or not?
It's a great idea as long as it doesn't affect the look of the fabric, i.e. making it look cheap or shiny.

~ How helpful, if at all, is having permanent pleats in skirts?
Quite helpful but as I have sons it doesn't apply so much!

~ If you could manufacture your ideal school uniform range would you make it available to parents online or not? Do you think that this makes parents' life easier or not?
Of course have it on-line - it allows parents more choice in how to shop.

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