Many private schools, especially Catholic campuses, have

Plaid or khaki, polos or button downs, bow ties or long ties: The look may vary, but the back to school clothes shopping experience in the New Orleans area is almost, shall we say, uniform. Many private schools, especially Catholic campuses, have required students to wear identical clothing longer than anyone canada goose remembers. Most public schools caught on in the 1990s.

That makes them an anomaly. Nationally, less than 19 percent of canada goose coats public schools required uniforms in 2009 10, the most recent academic year for which statistics are available.

It also can canada goose outlet nyc make for some confusion. Families wonder how many special shirts their child really needs, and why a uniform size 6X bears so little resemblance to an ordinary 6X.

But even if the sizing varies, proponents agree on the value of requiring uniforms. Identical clothing unites the school community, reduces distractions and creates a professional environment Canada Goose Parka free from competition and canada goose uk shop peer canada goose outlet canada judgment. It promotes discipline, ends the fashion show, helps identify outsiders and saves parents money.

“I believe if you look good, you feel good. And first impressions are always lasting impressions,” said Sivi Domingo, co leader of Arthur canada goose outlet toronto factory Ashe Charter School in Gentilly.

Politics and price

With private schools that require uniforms, parents are accustomed to paying tuition and know what they’re getting into. It can be expensive. The smallest sizes of the mandatory blazer for St. Katharine Drexel Preparatory High in Uptown cost $87 at Schumacher’s in Metairie. Some schools also mandate school monogrammed socks or specific shoes such as saddle Oxfords.

Is that pricey? “Oh, it is! Very much. Very, very much,” said Debra LeBeau, who sends her daughter to St. Katharine, the new name of Xavier Prep. “I’m not OK with it. But what are you going to do?” At least the material is good canada goose outlet black friday and the clothes last, she said.

Low income parents who send their kids to private schools through the state funded voucher program are responsible for the cost of the uniform.

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At public schools, plainness and affordability are more the norm. In St. Tammany and Jefferson parishes, parents at each school choose the look, and most go for school color polo or Oxford shirts and khaki pants. Often there’s no embroidered or screen printed school crest adding expense to the shirt.

Some New Orleans public schools are plain as well. Most schools that are part of the KIPP charter network require a Canada Goose Outlet logo embroidered polo costing $10 to $15 per shirt, plus ordinary khakis available at any clothing store.

But some schools show a little more flair: In Canada Goose Coats On Sale the late 1990s, Oretha C. Haley Elementary (now closed) was among the schools where the uniform incorporated kente cloth. Warren Easton High students went for a custom purple and yellow plaid in 1989.

Today, some schools stand out even more. Miller McCoy Academy goes full on prep school with blazers, vests and ties. Lycee Francais puts prekindergarten girls in blue gingham smocks with red piping.

“A lot of other schools use khaki, but that’s not the theme of the school,” said Paige Saleun, founding board member of Lycee. She was overruled on one of her ideas: red berets for student field trips.

All this style comes at a cost, however, especially beyond children’s sizes. According to the Schiro’s website, the adorable Lycee Francais smock costs canada goose uk black friday $45. In the New Orleans Parents’ Guide, McDonogh 35, Carver and Warren Easton high schools and Alice Harte cheap canada goose elementary school estimate the cost for a single uniform at more than $70.

Oxford shirts might look dressier than polos, but they’re also more expensive. A Landry Walker High button down runs $27 at Step N Style in Algiers. Teen sized plaid skirts for several schools cost $40 at the same store.

Plaid is “not the most cost effective” for uniform companies either, said Ricky Sadhwani, co owner of Logo Express in Gentilly. They must order it six months in advance, and often for a single school because of the specific design.

Nicole Marshall knows the hit that plaid takes on the pocketbook. She canada goose outlet online uk used to send her kids to Samuel J. Green Charter. When the school community voted canada goose outlet reviews to “spruce up” from polo shirts and plain pants to button down shirts, plaid bottoms and plaid ties, she could buy only one uniform per child. “I washed clothes every night,” she said.

Kevin Buckel disapproves of moves like Green’s. His Adopt a Family charity raises money for school uniforms, mostly for New Orleans public school students. With the $50 he allots per recipient, he hopes to buy two shirts, one or two pairs of pants and a belt. But now, even at a wholesale rate, “Some schools you can only get one uniform because they’re so expensive,” Buckel said.

“I ask the counselors why do these schools choose such expensive uniforms.” They canada goose outlet jackets tell him it starts with the charter board.

Sadhwani, in fact, agrees: “In my opinion a lot of schools go over the top.”

Help for parents

“We stress to schools, ‘You have to think about the parents,'” Sadhwani said. If they want a blazer, he suggests a uk canada goose vest and tie instead. “We try to give them the prep school look at a regular price, I guess, a decent price.”

There are efforts to make up for the cost. Adopt a Family’s 2012 school uniform drive raised $33,800 for 675 needy canada goose outlet sale students. The counseling group Communities in Schools spent $17,000 for uniforms last year in the 10 schools it serves, President Sara Massey said.

Some stores offer layaway. The Isidore Newman School, which requires uniforms for its lower school, and Lycee Francais are among the many schools that have “recycling” drives, collecting old uniforms and re selling them at a big discount. Thrift stores, too, sometimes stock school uniforms. And some schools offer options: khaki or plaid.

Many parents and school leaders consider uniforms cost effective, saying official canada goose outlet it’s cheaper and better to have one up front bill rather than spending over the course of the year. Button downs cost more, to be sure, but they hold up better, said Tarence Davis, operations manager at Landry Walker High School in Algiers.

Parent Elizabeth Ehrensing buys uniforms for her older son at Stuart Hall then passes them down to the younger. “I wouldn’t change uniforms for anything in the world,” she said.

And while uniforms may be more expensive than bargain bin T shirts, they cost canada goose outlet uk less than the fashionable items kids canada goose outlet online would want.