Why School Uniforms?
Why School Uniforms?
THE CASE FOR STANDARDIZED DRESS
For decades, educators, parents, and students have debated the value of school uniforms. While some argue they improve student performance and reduce bullying, others feel they stifle creativity and cost too much.
After more than fifty years in the business, we've found that a uniform program's value changes from community to community, and depends largely on a school's educational mission, as well as the needs and priorities of the families it serves.
Below, we'll outline some of the unique advantages that uniforms offer to our current partner schools; we hope they'll help you determine whether a uniform program is right for your community.
MINIMIZING THE STRESS OF GETTING DRESSED
One of the best arguments in favor of the school uniform stems from the theory popularized by Barry Schwartz called the Paradox of Choice. Schwartz' theory argues that while we tend to glorify unlimited choice as synonymous with freedom, within our everyday lives, too many options may, in fact, inhibit our ability to make decisions.
By narrowing the question of, "what do I wear" down to a manageable set of options (the blue polo or the white? khaki pants or shorts?) we eliminate a particularly high-stress question from the start of a students' day, allowing them to focus their energy instead on the questions that really matter.
Value for Families
QUALITY PRODUCTS SAVE TIME & MONEY IN THE LONG-RUN
A recent Deloitte study on back-to-school consumer spending indicated that parents in the US budgeted more than $661 / student for back-to-school shopping in 2022 - the majority going towards clothing & shoes. When benchmarked against our company's data - uniforms (including clothing, shoes, and gym wear) can save families up to 50% on their back-to-school budgets each year.
Beyond price, the greater value of school uniforms lies in their longevity. A student may get a handful of wears out of a fast-fashion dress before it rips or is no longer in style, whereas school uniforms are built to withstand the test of time. And while a trendy shirt may only be worn every 1-2 weeks, uniforms can be worn every single day of the school year, offering a significantly higher value per wear. By eliminating trend-driven dress, uniform programs allow families to invest in products that will last them for years to come, and decrease the annual cost of clothing for students.
GOOD FOR STUDENTS & THE PLANET
Given the outsized impact the clothing industry has had on the planet, it's important for retailers to take steps to minimize their carbon emissions, invest in more sustainable production practices, consider the origin of their fabrics, etc. But all of these solutions tend to overshadow the single most effective way to reduce carbon emissions in the apparel industry: produce less to consume less.
In this regard, school uniform companies have employed best-practices since before sustainability was a buzzword. For nearly a century, companies like ours have built their products to withstand the test of time by investing in durable construction (here at FlynnO'Hara our products are guaranteed to last a full school year!) and timeless styles (many of the uniform items students wear today are the same ones their parents and grandparents wore 20, 30, even 50 years ago). In fact, a recent survey found that our customers purchase 25% of their uniforms via secondhand marketplaces that exist in their school communities. We're thrilled that the durability of our products facilitates this opportunity for re-wear.
Finally, uniform products are often made with growth features like expandable waist bands, generous hems, and easy-to-move buttons so that students can wear the same items for several years in a row rather than having to size up every time they grow.
Together, these efforts have minimized the amount of clothing that uniform-wearing families have had to purchase over time, and allow uniform companies like ours to operate with little-to-no inventory waste. Good for the planet and for your families' wallets!
BUILD COMMUNITY & REDUCE BULLYING BY LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD
Many of our partner schools swear by the impact that school uniforms have had on students' physical and psychological safety. In terms of physical safety, standardized dress makes it easier for staff to quickly identify students and determine who does and does not belong on campus. Psychologically, school uniforms reduce the bullying that often stems from student dress, and remove the physical manifestation of socioeconomic differences between students - making campus more equitable for those who can't afford the newest sneakers or hottest brands. Perhaps most important, uniforms foster a sense of unity and belonging, factors that strengthen psychological safety and optimize the school environment for learning.
Choosing a New Uniform Company?
Learn what sets FlynnO'Hara Uniforms apart from other school uniform vendors, or click "Get Started" below to begin the process towards becoming a partner school!