Friday, 24 August 2012

Tesco saves my school bacon...

Can I quietly scream? Will you mind? Nothing major; just a small strangled ‘aaaghhhhhh’.  Three small words, six meagre syllables that drive me demented. School freaking uniform.  
Get that hair on the left...

The return to school is looming into view and I keep gazing gloomily at the list.  Okay, so I get why schools feel the need to do the uniform thingy. I get that it’s all about ‘TEAM US’ (that’s ‘us’ as in ‘we’, not US as in the USA). I get the argument that it’s a leveler – that it stops arsey little brats coming in and doing the whole ‘I’m wearing Abercrombie/Superdry/Jack Wills/Versace/whatever and you, poor trailer trash scumbag, are wearing ‘George by Asda’ one-upmanship malarkey.  I get that it makes it easier to find and apportion blame when they torch a car or barge past people onto the bus or whatever.  I get it although, to be honest, I’m not entirely convinced.  But, hey, it is what it is and so on and so forth but, but, but…
…really, why do they have to make it so…arcane?  Why can’t they just say – ‘Look, chuck ‘em in grey trousers/skirts; white shirts; grey jumpers and let’s call it a day, guys.’?  Yeah?  No.

It’s always got to be the ‘right kind’ of grey.  The navy jumper has to have the blasted logo on it, doesn’t it?  And then…I shouldn’t have started, should I? Get this… For the last two years (years 7 and 8) James’ school hasn’t prescribed a blazer.  There was some kind of weird optional coat that they all point-blank refused to wear (didn’t remotely blame them, it was seriously minging), so he ended up getting on the school bus each day, even in the depths of winter, even in driving rain, wearing just a skimpy jersey. Mad.  This year (to compensate maybe?) it appears they require TWO blazers. One for everyday wear and one for ‘smart stuff’.  What smart stuff?  Come to think of it, let’s not think about it cos it’s bound to involve more cash.  Oh just…aaaghhh. 

And they’ve changed the sports kit – again.  WHY?  What was wrong with the old one? They’re a school, for heaven’s sake, not a football club. 

It could be worse – some boy we used to know had to wear flipping lederhosen to school – in London.  And again, I ask you…why?  Character-building? 

I suppose nothing has really changed.  When I was at school – in an uber-strict state grammar, we had to wear freaking tartan skirts (yup, kilts - feel free to laugh) and a particular blue open-necked shirt that could only be bought from one particular shop in, of all places, Twickenham. I can remember the look of horror on my poor mother’s face even now as she scanned the seemingly endless list. A boater?  A BOATER?  Thank feck I didn’t get one – only two girls wore them on the first day and they both managed to slide them quietly into a ditch by 9am.

Anyhow. Thank heavens for the kind PRs at Tesco Back to School who must have been reading my anguished mind as they sent an email asking if I’d like some school kit for James.  Er…YESSSS!  For freak’s sake, send it over and send it over fast.  Before my credit card reports me to CreditLine for severe emotional abuse. So they did, bless them.

Tesco Back to School gear...
I used to buy James’ school stuff (the generic trousers and shirts and all – the bits that don’t have to have badges and stripes and logos) from Marks and Spencer but, really, these are every bit as good (if not better actually - cos, I don't know about you but strikes me Marks ain't what it used to be - the last few pairs of pants I've had have just sort of collapsed - and, no, they weren't put under any particular strain) and a fair bit cheaper.  I thought he might go all teenage sniffy on me over the shoes (which are a SERIOUS bargain).  
The last couple of years he has refused to go the usual Clark’s children’s route and has resolutely bought from the men’s department.  But, to my total surprise, he deemed the lace-ups ‘fine’.  The coat met with a curl of the lip but that was just fine and dandy as I simply nabbed it for myself.  Socks, pants, trousers, shirts and really nice bright red polo shirts all met with teenage approval – the polo shirts so much that he’s already wearing them – yeah, by choice, in the holidays, in public.  And at least these won’t fall apart the way the rip-off Ralph Lauren ones from Turkey did. 

So. Seriously. Take a look.  And thank you, Tesco.  And…School...just don’t talk to me, alright? 


Sessha Batto said...

Ah, school shopping. . .I actually miss the uniform days - spend an afternoon with a 16 year old at Hot Topic, Vans and Spencer's and tell me you don't love uniforms!! Thankfully it's all done now, school starts Monday and I, for one, can not wait!!

Anonymous said...

I think my school uniform came from the same Twickenham shop! And it was brown. All brown. That's cheer up a load of teenage girls.

But no one ever had new uniform (unless they were seriously uncool) - I don't know how the made having 5th hand, falling apart jumpers and skirts cool, but I think my mother was very grateful. The second hand shop, open twice a year, was where we all got kitted out. And I'm pretty sure some of those skirts had been though whole families. Mine lasted from the age of 11 to 16 (when we got to wear 'mufti') with nothing more than an adjustment to the hem. Brilliant.

Acorn said...

In Thailand they just have generic clothing in standard colours, then the school & university badges are pinned on. Simple. At primary level however, the school and child's name are embroidered onto the shirts. My parents had endless problems because we moved a lot so I was hardly ever in the correct uniform. The badge option is a neat way to fix this

the veg artist said...

Bottle green. Tunics. With square open necks. Blouses underneath, also with square open necks. Mackintosh, blazer and BERET. With badges sewn on. Brown lace-ups. Green socks.
I still live in the same town. You will never see a grown woman here wearing bottle green!

Exmoorjane said...'re probably right. Another week to go here.

@Mud - *grin* - it probably did. What the hell was it called? My foster-sister went to a convent school and their uniform was mud brown...really disgusting colour. No second-hand shop at my snitty school. My mother actually made my school skirt - the shop (what WAS its name???) sold the material, weirdly.

@Acorn - how damn sensible. Apart from the embroidery bit. :)

@Veg - *smile* - my primary school uniform was bright yellow and bright blue - I still wince a bit at that colour combo. Tunics and berets, huh? Very St Trinians... :)

@MereRambling said...

State school? Or Arm&ALeg school? Because although I'm happy forking out for just the logo'd red sweatshirt for the primary school & buying packs of basic Everything Else from George (I'm a pro-uniformer!) , frankly I'm starting to wonder about the forthcoming "entrance exam" for the high school, not in terms of school fees alone but definitely whether I've taken into account the whole gamut of additional uniform. I suspect that may be an arrgghh moment yet to happen.