As parents we need school uniform that is washable, needs little or no ironing, will put up with lots of playground games and still look good....and all at a budget price.
For "basic" colours, Asda and Tesco have an extensive range in August, and then cut back dramatically to skirts, trousers and jumpers in September. If these shops do the colours that you need, then I would suggest buying extras in August, or better still waiting until September and buying the next size up in the sales.
If like me your daughter attends a school with a less popular (but I think prettier) colour, then finding the uniform can be a nightmare. Our school has grey skirts and trousers, which is easy, but has pink gingham dresses for the girls summer uniform.
Whilst I think this colour is lovely, buying early is essential as I only found Marks & Spencers that stocked this colour in our town, and had sold out very quickly. Other stockists said that it was not a popular colour and so they would not stock it. The only other option is to search popular sites like ebay and google to try to find an internet retailer that stocks it.
I managed to find my own supplier and added it to our range ensuring that my daughter can always get stock of this uniform, and to be honest she wears has worn it all through winter with her jumper and tights.
My daughter wears the dress and a grey pinafore - as a busy Mum I find it a lot easier to clean a grey pinafore dress and the slightly dirty blouse underneath compared with a skirt and very grubby blouse.
I would advise making yourself popular with other parents if you find a stockist of hard to get uniform. Simply leave a note with the school secretary or PTA so that they can pass this on to other parents, especially the ones who will be starting their little ones that year, as these are the ones who need help most in finding their feet.
Retailers are often happy to help with larger orders, and may be able to reduce the postage costs if several items are ordered at once, so again, it may be useful for a few people to join together and put one order in, thus enjoying some postage savings.