Expense is a state of mind. Either you buy new uniforms each year for your child’s schooling, or you save on pre-owned pieces.
At the shops the Bermuda Sun queried, parents can purchase secondhand for as little as $1 to $3 per item, or at one site, $5 per bag.
According to Ann Ross, manager of The Barn, growing children wear their uniforms for a relatively short time. Many of these are recycled through organizations such as hers. So going back to school needn’t be expensive.
Ms Ross said: “Some people don’t want to put their children in secondhand clothes… [But] you can save a lot of money shopping at thrift shops.”
The Barn charges $2 per uniform piece — dresses, shirts, school ties.
“We have a few blazers, sports things, skirts and pants… It comes in spurts, a limited number in certain schools.”
The school-wear might include Mount St. Agnes, Harrington Sound, Bermuda High School, Saltus, Warwick Academy and Montessori.
Ms Ross said, however: “A lot of the schools are changing their uniforms.”
She advised parents to check with their child’s school before making their purchase.
The Bargain Box
Volunteers Paulette Woodley and Wilma Dill of The Bargain Box sell secondhand uniforms at their outlet for $3 an item, compared to $16 for those purchased new in the city.
Ms Woodley said: “We would advise parents to check with us and others (thrift shops) before purchasing new uniforms, as the majority come in, in good condition.
“We tend to get plenty of khaki shorts, white shirts, blue sweaters, grey shorts and pants, plus Dellwood, West Pembroke, Victor Scott and a few private school/gym uniforms (Bermuda High, Warwick Academy and Saltus).”
The Bargain Box also occasionally receives brand new pieces.
“Our uniform section depends largely on donations made by the public and can vary from month to month.”
The Encore Thrift Shop
The grounds of St. John’s Anglican Church are home to The Encore Thrift Shop and its mostly secondhand school uniforms. These, according to volunteer, Brenda Swan, come in primary and middle school sizes. And shoppers might sometimes find school shoes among the inventory. The selling price here is $5 per bag.
The Encore Thrift Shop operates Saturdays only; and this Saturday, according to Ms Swan is the best time to look.
“Check to see what is in,” she said.
Expense is a ‘school uniform state of mind’. Will you spend money on new, or save money on used?
Salvation Army Thrift Store
The Salvation Army Thrift Store receives the odd new item, but most uniform pieces have been pre-worn.
“We do have quite a bit,” cashier Elison Smith said. “The sizes vary, do start from a size five and up.”
Blue trousers and the isolated school tie are among the Salvation Army’s selection of white, khaki and grey items, as are the gimp school dresses. Ms Smith described gimp as all-in-one navy blue dresses for five-year-olds.
Customers will pay only $1 a piece for the smaller sizes and $2 a piece for sizes 10 and up.
“And you get extremely good clothing,” Ms Smith said. “We always have school uniforms.”