Kaylen Tucker, NAESP

Molly Hawkins, Lands’ End

National Survey of School Leaders Reveals 2013 School Uniform Trends
Lands’ End School Uniform and NAESP Partner to Report the Rise of School Uniforms

ALEXANDRIA, VAJuly 30, 2013—Long associated primarily with private and parochial institutions, school uniform policies have become a part of the natural landscape in public schools across the country. In fact, according to a recent survey of principals and other school leaders conducted by Lands’ End School Uniform in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), school uniforms or a formal dress code policy in public schools are on the rise as nearly half (49 percent) have a policy in place or have plans to implement one – more than double from 2000 (21 percent).

“In a constantly changing educational system, we often hear about non-uniform schools looking to transition to a more structured dress code,” said John Maher, senior vice president, Lands’ End Outfitters. “Through our partnership with NAESP, Lands’ End School Uniform is happy to provide schools and parents with valuable information as the want for school uniforms continues to grow in their communities.”

The steady growth of school uniforms or formal dress code policies in public schools may be due, in part, to students who struggle with wanting to wear the latest clothing looks in order to fit in at school. Unfortunately, many do not have the means to do so and may fall victim to peer pressure or bullying. In fact, surveyed school leaders with a school uniform or formal dress code policy in place believe their current policy has made a significant, positive impact on peer pressure (86 percent) and bullying (64 percent).

The survey also revealed there are other areas where positivity prevailed when it came to school uniforms. Leaders stated they believe their school uniform or formal dress code policy has made a positive impact on the following:

  • Classroom Discipline (85 percent)
  • Image in the Community (83 percent)
  • Student Safety (79 percent)
  • School Pride (77 percent)
  • Student Achievement (64 percent)
  • Attendance (44 percent)

“Principals are charged with developing and maintaining a positive and safe school culture,” said Gail Connelly, NAESP’s executive director. “We know that a school uniform policy can help reduce instances of classroom discipline and bullying, as well as improve student safety and attendance. The use of school uniforms, whether in public or private schools, has a powerful influence on school culture in ways that contribute to greater levels of student achievement.”

Another reason for the rise of school uniforms could be the budgetary benefits they offer parents, especially in the current state of the down economy.  Of the school leaders surveyed with a uniform or formal dress code policy in place, 77 percent estimated the average cost of school uniforms per child, per year, was $150 or less. With that said, it was not surprising to uncover that eight out of 10 survey respondents (86 percent) believed one of the main benefits to parents is that school uniforms are more cost-effective than regular apparel.

Besides budget, school leaders surveyed also believe parents benefit from the following as a result of having a school uniform or formal dress code policy in place:

  • Eliminate wardrobe battles with kids (94 percent)
  • Easier to get kids ready in the morning (92 percent)
  • Time saving in the morning (93 percent)
  • Easier to shop for school clothes (90 percent)

School Style

Today, the majority of school leaders (90 percent) prefer to keep it casual, with polos and chinos, rather than dress casual (oxford dress shirts, blazers, plaids, skirts, ties, and/or chino pants) when it comes to their school uniforms. Apparently, the choice for casual over dress casual uniform styles is also on the rise as only 55 percent of school leaders surveyed in 2000 held a casual uniform policy.

Additional School Uniform Survey Findings:

  • Long Lasting – Many survey respondents stated their uniform or formal dress code policy has been in place for 20 years or more (12 percent). Overall, eight out of 10 (85 percent) plan to continue the uniform policy as is in the upcoming school year.
  • The City and Suburbs SoarEighty-seven percent of school leaders at schools with a uniform or formal dress code policy are in the city and suburbs.  When reviewing those surveyed that do not have school uniforms, the majority fall in rural areas (42 percent).
  • You Be The Judge – When it comes to purchasing school uniforms, the majority of school leaders surveyed (66 percent) are allowing parents to shop at a retailer of their choice – as long as they follow the formal dress code guidelines (i.e. navy blue polo and khaki pant).
  • Channeling ChinosSeventy-six percent of school leaders said chinos best describe the pant choice their students wear as part of the school uniform or formal dress code policy.
  • Tried and True – The classic navy polo is the go-to color of choice for 38 percent of school leaders when requiring students to wear polos as part of their school uniform or formal dress code policy. White is the runner up at 23 percent and red rolls in at third place (15 percent).
  • Must Match – More than half (58 percent) of school leaders revealed the color of their school uniforms represent their school colors.  
  • Logo Love – Sixty-four percent of school leaders said their uniforms do not currently feature a school logo; however, over half (53 percent) would like to see a logo on uniforms in the future for reasons ranging from school brand awareness to elevating school spirit.

About the National Association of Elementary School Principles
Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) is the leading national association representing elementary and middle school principals in the United States, Canada, and overseas. NAESP supports principals as the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning through policy development, advocacy, and resources for effective instructional leadership. NAESP seeks to advance the principalship and address issues in pre-K–3 alignment, principal preparation and evaluation, and building the capacity of new principals.

About Lands’ End School Uniform
Lands’ End offers uniforms and school-appropriate clothing in sizes for children, young adults and adults that are designed to meet dress-code requirements. Lands’ End School Uniform includes phys-ed wear such as tees, shorts, sweatshirts and sweatpants, plus spiritwear that can be personalized with logos. Lands’ End School Uniform apparel is available year-round in sizes including slim, plus, husky, junior, young men and tall.  Lands’ End School Uniform products offer the same quality, value and guarantee for which Lands’ End is legendary. To help schools, the Lands’ End School Rewards program gives participating schools up to three percent cash back on the net sales of school uniforms. Lands’ End School Uniform is available online at and via the Lands’ End School Uniform catalog. To request a catalog or order by phone, call 1-800-469-2222.

About Lands’ End
Lands’ End is a classic American lifestyle brand with a passion for quality, legendary service, real value and a simple two-word promise to stand behind everything it sells: Guaranteed. Period.® Lands’ End delivers timeless style for Men, Women, Kids and the Home at, 1-800-800-5800, the Lands’ End Shops at Sears and around the world. Lands’ End is a proud member of the Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD).

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Editor’s Note: 517 U.S. school leaders participated in the Lands’ End School Uniform and NAESP State of School Uniforms survey. The survey was fielded via Survey Monkey from May 31, 2013 to June 17, 2013.