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School uniform on test: The polo shirt

Our weekly parenting columnist, Kirsty McCabe, trials school uniform essentials on her four-year-old son before he starts school this September

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School uniform polo shirts Two Pack Polos (3-16yrs), from £16, Next

"A staple for most reception school uniforms is the white, short sleeved, polo shirt. The supermarkets are definitely cheaper with Tesco’s F&F selling a twin-pack for £2.50, and Morrisons’ Nutmeg not far behind at £3. Next offers 5 polo shirts for £16 and Marks & Spencer are priciest at £9 for a twin-pack. They all boast claims of stain resistance and the ability to be tumbled dried.

The real test of course will come after multiple laundry sessions to see how white they stay and whether they shrink in the tumble drier. Plus if I can get away without ironing them! Maybe I should update this column at the end of term?

At first glance, I wanted to see if I could spot the difference between the cheaper and more expensive shirts. In general the more expensive ones did have a better finish to the collars and sleeves but there wasn’t much in it. When it came to sizing, again, all very similar but Next were slightly longer in the body.

M&S also offers Your Uniform where you can buy items with your school’s logo on them and in the correct colours. Not all schools have signed up, but because ours had I ordered a few items from there to check out the difference. Weirdly, I found that the personalised polo shirts were a much creamier shade of white, had two not three buttons and were only 35% cotton compared to 100%. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, adding on your schools logo took the cost per polo shirt up to £6.

VERDICT: Despite the cost I’m drawn to the personalised option, though more experienced school mums tell me I won’t bother about that after the first term! Overall, Next offers decent quality at a reasonable price, nice and white with three buttons and a good length. Plus a 5-pack sorts you out for the week! But I plan to get some cheaper ones from Nutmeg, too and see how well they last.


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Kirsty McCabe, trial, school, uniform, school uniform, essentials, September, back to school, polo shirts, tops, shirts, boys

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