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Schoolwear opinion: Andy Grace
Schoolwear retailers discuss the issues surrounding larger size schoolwear

By Laura Turner

21 February 2012

Image: Andy Grace, owner, WearAbouts, Southampton

Laura Turner: What items of plus-size schoolwear do you offer?
Andy Grace: For plain items we stock across all size ranges, the usual basics, sweatshirts, polos, shirts, blouses, blazers, PE gear, trousers and so on. For badged items, specifically for infant schools, we stock up to age 10, for juniors up to age 13, and for senior schools up to adult XL. We are always able to get larger sizes, again to order.

LT: Do you feel suppliers adequately cater for the plus-size schoolwear market?
AG: All of my suppliers have recognised there is a demand for larger sizes and have introduced suitable styles or added larger sizes to their offer. We stock a full range of official Scouts and Guides Association uniforms; they also have added larger sizes in many of their items over the last few years.
While larger sizes are catered for, however, it would make life easier for all if an industry standard could be introduced for sizing when marking in ages – or parents were better educated in how to measure a child. At the end of the day, 28 inches is 28 inches, but how big is a seven to eight year old?

LT: Do you feel demand for plus-size schoolwear is on the increase?
AG: The bulk of our business is in the infants/junior school age group and it is definitely noticeable that we order a higher proportion of large sizes for these age groups than we did 10 years ago.
This applies to boys and girls. Our “sturdy fit” elastic-waist boys’ trousers, for instance, are possibly our bestselling line, both in-store and online. It’s the taller than average but slim boy or girl that we consistently find the most difficult shape to cater for.

 

 
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