‘Budget’ uniforms are put to the test

GETTING the children kitted out for school costs a small fortune. But budget supermarket, Aldi, retails a primary school uniform for less than €6.50.

‘Budget’ uniforms are put to the test

It seems inconceivable that children could be dressed for school for less than a tenner — and would the quality be so poor that we would have to buy a second uniform before the first term was over? We enlisted two youngsters to try out a selection of uniforms from Aldi, Tesco and Marks & Spencer, and give us their verdict.

Alistair Dunne is seven and he and his mum, Tara, road-tested the uniforms and gave their opinion on quality, price and colour.

“As the mother of three boys, I am always on the look-out for quality, affordable kids’ uniforms,” says Tara. “Alistair tried on all three options. Aldi: I thought these uniforms were really affordable, but the fabrics seemed really basic and I can’t imagine they would wash very well. The jumpers came in nice, bright colours, but the polo shirts were very thin and, I would say, they would have to be replaced by Christmas.

However, the trousers were a really good product and the fabric seemed of good quality and similar to the M&S equivalent.

Tesco: I thought the Tesco uniforms were very well-priced for the quality of material, particularly the polo shirts, which seem far better than the Aldi equivalent. The trousers were also good value, good quality, and a decent, dark-grey colour. The school jumper was a brilliant price, but the fabric felt very thin.

There wasn’t a lot of detail on the uniform, apart from a smart front pleat on the trousers, but the fact that they are Teflon-protected is always helpful with boys.

Marks & Spencer: The M&S uniform was pricier than the other two, but is still good value.

Personally, I thought the trousers were very similar to the Tesco option, in quality and colour, even though they were more expensive.

But the adjustable waist on the M&S version is essential in my house, as I always find the trousers too big for my boys. The trousers, shirt and jumper all seem to be of excellent quality and you just know they will wash.

Tara's verdict: Overall, I found the M&S uniform to be the best buy in terms of price and quality. I only want to buy uniforms once a year and the M&S would last 10 months of washing, wearing and tearing.

The Aldi and Tesco are great for a back-up, but I don’t think they would last on my boys, because while they are cheap, I may end up having to replace items. There is not a huge variance in price, but there is a huge difference in quality.”

Joanne Leahy and her seven-year-old daughter, Sarah, appraised the uniforms and concluded that they would rather spend more money to ensure the fit and quality were of the required standard.

“I have five children, so getting value for money is important and, as I work full-time, I also need to be assured that the children’s uniforms will wash and dry well and won’t wear out too quickly.”

Tesco: “I found the cardigan to be a nice fit, but the shirt was of a very light quality and the tights were too long. I also thought the skirt was quite a long fit.

Aldi: I wasn’t very impressed with the Aldi uniform, although it was very affordable. The jumper was of a poor quality and the skirt looked as if it would get very wrinkled quite quickly.

The material of the skirt was also much lighter than it was in the other selections. And the blue polo shirts were too wide around the collar and generally a wide fit.

Marks & Spencer: The red cardigan from M&S was of a lovely quality and it was very good size and fit.

The navy pinafore was, again, of very good quality and a perfect fit and, likewise, the shirts were perfect in every way.”

Joanne's verdict: Overall, I would say that the M&S uniforms were by far the best with regard to quality. Tesco would have come next in line and, despite the really low cost, the Aldi uniform was not a good buy for me, as the quality wasn’t great.”

HOW MUCH?

Aldi

Suitable for children aged 4-11 years, the trousers and skirts are coated in stain-resistant Teflon in a range of colours.

- 2 pack of trousers — €2,

- 1 pleated skirt €1.99

- 2 pack of polo shirts — €1.99

- 1 round neck sweater — €2.49.

Aldi’s €6.50 primary school uniforms went on sale on Jul 25 as a Specialbuy and are only available while stocks last.

Tesco

This range comprises knitwear and polo shirts made of 100% cotton, Teflon-coated pinafores, skirts and trousers which come with adjustable waist-bands.

- 2 pack of grey trousers — €8

- 2 pack of polo shirts — €4.25

- 1 V-neck jumper — €5

- 2 pack short-sleeve easy iron shirts — €6

- 1 cardigan — €5

- 2 pack grey skirt — €8.

Marks & Spencer

This uniform range consists of 100% cotton polo shirts, non-iron shirts and trousers and skirts with a high-performance Stainaway finish. The range is available in a selection of colours and features a new adjustable hem structure.

- 2 pack of polo shirts — from €4

- 2 pack of trousers or skirts – from €11

- 1 V-neck jumper — from €5.50

- 1 cardigan — from €7

- 2 pack of shirts from €5.50.

For more information, visit stores nationwide, or visit www.tesco.ie, www.aldi.ie or www.marksandspencer.ie

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