Sunday, 2 September 2012

Storytelling Sunday ~ Getting Kitted Out

On the first Sunday of the month we all get together at Sian’s place to share our stories. In a few words or many, with pictures or without. Everyone is welcome.

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We were sorting out the garage at the start of the Summer holidays and I came across a box with an odd assortment of things inside. Among them my old school scarf, but the thing which excited me most was this slip of paper folded inside. Details of a school uniform purchase, made one summer, over 30 years ago.

It brought back memories of going into Corderys with my Mum and her outrage at the price of a science overall. Something she felt we shouldn’t have to provide, as only one class would ever be in the lab at a time. There could be a set for general use. It was too expensive an item to be languishing in a locker for most of its life.

I was struck by the price of the PE blouse, which was essentially a cotton polo shirt. These days they can be bought in almost any supermarket, in a pack of two, for around £3. Crazy that they should be less than half the price 30 years on.This was just the first of several trips to buy my uniform. We did it in installments.

The blazer warranted a visit all of its own, as it was the most expensive thing on the list. I remember the sleeves being far too long and my Gran taking them up for me, then letting them down again for my second year. There was nothing to be done during the third year, when they were just too short!

The knickers were awful thick things known as ‘navy blues’. We had to wear them over our own underwear, during PE, to cover our modesty under the very short skirts. The hat was a knitted beanie and I don’t remember ever wearing it, although I’m sure I would have done on cold days, at least while I was in my Mum’s view.

I don’t have any of the other invoices, but between them they would have shown 3 blouses, 2 skirts, a jumper, scarf and tie. The shoes? Now that’s a story for another day. What are your memories of shopping for school uniform? I’d love to hear them.

24 comments:

Jaki Morris said...

I have been having flasbacks to Broadly Bros. of Hove where my parents had to buy me the full uniform for Grammar school. It must have cost them a small fortune as my sister went too. We were very working class and lived in a council house so it must have been such a struggle.

I have been spending a fortune on my boys uniforms and still have more to get.

Thanks for the story

Jakixx

Abi said...

My trip to the uniform shop was very memorable! I came away with two lots of everything in large sizes and a trunk! ha ha! My mum nearly fainted at the bill!

Your recollection of navy blues makes me laugh. At the school I worked in the girls still had to wear navy blues and we as the staff had to check that they had them before they went to play their matches! Nothing changes!

Alison said...

What a great find! I remember being taken to the Co-op for my blazer and tie!
Alison xx

Jane said...

school uniforms were a lot more expensive in my day too, you always had to go to the school shop!

Sian said...

Oh, yes! The famous navy blue knickers. We had those too. I just love this because it echoes my own experience and the funny thing is we are still doing it, with hand written receipts and all. And I found my school scraf too - in fact I did take a photo of it with the lentils but it didn't look right. Your story made the thoughts of our uniform shop come flooding back. Love it!

heart.hearth.home. said...

What a find. A receipt. And the cost of those items. Hard to believe that they were more expensive then than now, but there's the proof. Thank you for this story and trip down memory lane.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I remember shopping for school uniforms, not a common thing in the US but I went to Catholic school. I remember getting two jumpers (not sure what the translation is, like dresses but you wore blouses under them) every 3 years and my Nan would take them in and let them out as needed. In 8th grade I outgrew my old ones but next year I'd be at a new school with a different uni & my mom was so mad she had to buy those jumpers & only get one year of use from them

Jennie Hart said...

We have a 'proper' shop in our town and it has been a real pleasure taking the kids upstairs, which is where they have the outfitter's. They have an old fashioned glass topped counter with little drawers underneath full of ties and gumshields and other random doo-dads.
They properly fit the children and I treasure it. Apart from the cost.

scrappyjacky said...

I well remember going to get 'fitted' for my uniform.....and we do still have a school uniform shop in our town.

Louise said...

oh my!! I so remember those PE knickers. We had to wear them under our netball skirts. How lovely to have found a receipt too. Great story you brought back some memories for me!

Cheri said...

No school uniforms for me! But I do remember in Junior High (now called Middle School, basically 7th & 8th grades) we had to wear the most hideous one piece romper that zipped up the back for gym class.

Lisa-Jane said...

What a brilliant find! Funnily enough, I thought goodness I bet it is fortune now compared to then but as you say, everything actually seems cheaper! (for the everyday stuff rather than school specific) I wonder what our children will be paying for their children's uniform in years to come?

Missus Wookie said...

I remember shocking people when I told them how much I'd spent on Princess's school uniform - but as she owned nothing suitable (not even white socks or black/brown leather shoes) we had literally to fit her out from the skin up! :lol:

Karen said...

How fabulous to find that invoice.

Elizabeth said...

There was only one uniform store in our city that had Catholic school uniforms. It was quite a trip from our house and we were cranky and tired when we finally got to the store. The uniforms were always way too long for me and the shoulders came down almost to my elbows. My mother was thrifty and thought the uniform would last me for at least two years. It lasted me for almost the entire time I was in elementary school!

Melissa said...

We didn't have uniforms at school, but we always got new clothes for the first day of school.

Amy said...

My children wear school uniform and it all has to be bought through the school .... and can I say - nothing, not one single item is as cheap as that ENTIRE bill! Sigh.

Maria Ontiveros said...

I'd love for the kids to be in uniforms; instead, we spend lots of time shopping for new clothes each year.
Rinda

Lisa said...

I remember being taken for bottle green skirts and jumpers!! then moving half-way thru 2nd year (year 8 now)and having a grey skirt and maroon jumper... far more civilised lol... the think that sticks in my head most is needing wellies for starting infants and trying on blue wellies whilst wearing orange socks!!! Oh my life!!! you wouldn't catch me dead in orange socks now lol... blue DM's are fine tho lol
Glad you found this and that it's brought back fun memories too
:D
Lisa
xx

Beverly said...

We never wore uniforms but once I was in private school (grades 6-12) we dressed out for PE in "greenies" Almost like tennis dresses with what you probably are referring to underneath.

Ginger said...

we never wore uniforms either at school. Nice to have a piece of history to look back at :)

furrypig said...

how fantastic to come across that receipt I would love to find such a great reminder of my school days.

humel said...

Wow, what a memory-filled piece of paper! :)

I don't have any memories at all of shopping for my own school uniform, but I very clearly remember shopping for The Boy's.... Crikey, it's not cheap! When we went to the 'welcome evening for parents' after he got his place, the first thing we were presented with was a uniform list with prices. Thankfully several of my friends have older sons who attend(ed) the same school so we've been able to benefit from a few of their outgrown items, but there was still plenty we had to get hold of ourselves!

Alana said...

Oh we had bottle green knickers round here:) Even in infants we had to wear a shirt and a 'proper' tie....how things change, its all polo tops and sweatshirts now.