Back To School: Aldi School Uniform (Review)

It is with a slightly heavy heart that I am beginning to accept that The Boy will start school in September. He's tremendously excited, and I must confess that I can't wait to see him enjoying school in the way that all three of us hope he will. He's going to a really lovely school very close to home with a huge rolling field and small class sizes; I couldn't ask for more.

And so with the acceptance of school comes the realisation that a whole new realm of requirements is needed:

  • school uniform
  • school shoes
  • PE kits
  • coats
  • name tags

and the list goes on and on…

We've now reached the point where life could become a little expensive with everything that The Boy will need for school. Luckily help is on hand from Aldi; tomorrow (Thursday 25th July 2013), they are launching the UK’s cheapest supermarket school uniform.

And when I say cheap I mean financially frugal, not poor quality!

Aldi sent me a school uniform to try out with The Boy, and included a thick Winter coat (£9.99) with reflective panels for him as well:

Aldi school uniform

We were sent:

  • 2 polo shirts
  • 1 round neck sweater
  • skirt or trousers
    • = £4

I've had instruction from my sister that life (as a working mum) is easier if they have a fresh uniform each day, therefore that means I could buy The Boy five complete outfits for the grand total of £17.50.


In a very well known high-street clothing store (where my sister gets her children's uniform) one outfit costs £14 and a week's worth would be £73.00.

I know which store I will be going to!

Regular shoppers of Aldi will know that they have weekly special buys which are incredible bargains, but once they have gone then that's it, no more! So pop down to your local store tomorrow and stock up before you have to start buying the expensive uniforms instead!

I was sent these products for the purpose of this review, my opinion is honest and unbiased.

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  1. says

    aaarghh I wish we had an Aldi near us. I might have to travel on Sunday to the one the other side of Croydon. I realise this sounds like a London thing, and it is – it'll probably take an hour to get there :-)

    We got most of H's at M&S for £40ish which wasn't too bad… the only thing left is shoes!

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I went this morning at 10am to the Cardiff Branch and most of what I needed had gone :-(

  2. says

    The one a day thing really is a myth – we manage perfectly well with between one and two sets – we have two shirts and jumpers because that's where lunch gets spilled and one of everything else. Don't set yourself up to do THAT much housework, I say ;-)

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Oh! And Flea is an active girl so if she can manage to not kill it all then I'm sure The Boy will? In truth I think I'll get two trousers, two shorts, a few polo shirts and two sweatshirts and hope for the best!

  3. helloitsgemma says

    my concern is how can they offer it so cheaply? I know the ethics of low price school uniform is a concern to you as I remember your instagram concerning the price of an asda top.
    The other uniform might be more expensive but how does it compare in terms of social responsibility? As any parent I'm looking for reasonably priced uniform (in my experience they need a fresh top everyday, trousers not so) but how are we are driving market forces, collectively, in our pursuit of cheap uniform – what is the cost to other families elsewhere in the world who are the producers of that uniform?

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Firstly, I really appreciate your comment and it also surprised me because we don't chatter a great deal on social media so I'm pleasantly surprised to see that you read my waffle on twitter :-)

      You have raised a really good point here which I think most parents have a responsibility to consider; if we are paying pittance for school uniform, someone along the line is going to lose out. And yes the image of an infant (no older than The Boy) in a sweat shop springs to mind and it is shocking. Yes, these places exist and it is our social and moral responsibility to be aware of these, and to refuse them as common practise. My concerns started when I Instagrammed a photo of an Asda sweatshirt which cost £2.00, asking the question 'How is this possible?', and yes the labels says 'Made in Bangladesh'. Very, very worrying.

      It's been well publicised that high-street stores source their uniforms from developing countries where most sweat shops are located. Before I agreed to review these items (and the other stores that have approached me), I did a little research believing that M&S may be more ethical than I thought the supermarket giants to be; I was surprised to find press reports which indicated that in the past they have been one of the worst! Further digging indicated that all of these cheap uniforms come from similar backgrounds, so what to do?

      With our own situation, the school requests polo shirts or sweatshirts with the emblem on (if possible) but accepts that not everyone can or will do this. These polo shirts come from one of only two places in our town, the manufacturers labels, or designs, are the same as the supermarket products but three times the price. I can't believe that the shop has paid that much more than the supermarket, so essentially I have the same issue.

      When I asked the question on twitter about ethical uniforms, no-one was able to provide me with a supplier. I stated there and then that I would make a donation to a charity that oversees clothing production, possibly to appease my own guilt, but fundamentally to see that some of the money they deserve gets there.

      Since you've asked the question, I've done some digging on the Aldi website and found their Corporate Responsibility Policy (, you may find point two and their commitment to human rights and fair labour standards interesting? This is on page 4 as well, "We will not tolerate child labour as defined by ILO and United Nations Conventions and/or by national law and expect our business partners to adhere to the one standard which is most stringent. We will not tolerate any form of forced labour and related practices, such as lodging deposits or the retention of identity documents from personnel upon commencing employment."

      Of course, this states it is their intention that their requirements are adhered to along the supply chain, unless they physically follow it themselves each time, it could be overlooked I suppose.

      I am going to email the PR to see if she has further information with regards to this, and I thank you for being brave and asking the question in a non-threatening way; it's made me question it more and I do actually feel quite satisfied with what I have found out. What do you think?

  4. helloitsgemma says

    thanks for your lovely long and thoughtful reply.
    when it comes to reading blogs, I am here, there and everywhere and it is not a reflection of the rest of my social media patterns. It happened that I saw Lizzie's post, which raised the issue, and then spotted your link whilst on twitter and was interested to read your view because I remembered you particularly mentioning it previously via instagram (it is something that interests me, although I don't profess to getting it right).
    My son school is considering offering Fair Trade school uniform and asked for parents views on paying extra, I imagine that lots of the parents won't want to pay the extra. I googled ethical uniforms and found I've yet to use them.
    My understanding is that M&S is now one of the better and I've previously brought from there on that basis, this was supported by an article in the Guardian in May following the disaster in Bangladesh – but as you rightly point out it's difficult, not clear cut and the options are limited. I'm really pleased you raised it with the PR, as I think Lizzie has. It would be interesting to hear their view. I did think that what was interesting about their corporate responsibility that there was nothing about about paying a living wage (apparently M&S have a commitment to ensure suppliers pay workers a living wage (although the Guardian notes no one seemed to know what M&S consider a living wage!). It's a difficult area – well done you for raising it in the first place and thank you for taking the time to do the digging. Lets see what Aldi say! Personally, as others have pointed out, it could be a loss leader, but for me it just too cheap for me to be comfortable with. But that's just my view.