The shape of our kids is expanding so dramatically
school uniform manufacturers are now making outfits as big as a
girls 34 and a boys 7XL, writes Lanai Scarr, Senior Writer
with News Corp Australia Network
But rather than alerting supersized students to their true size,
some manufacturers have adopted "vanity sizing" where a former size
12 uniform is now badged as a size 10.
Many other school uniform manufacturers are making sizes 4
through to 16 and then from size 18 onwards badging them as Small,
Medium and Large.
News Corp Australia can reveal the changes that have been made
in the uniform industry to accommodate the expanding waistlines of
While many are making the same dimension uniforms as three
decades ago and even some more petite and tall sizes, their largest
uniforms are bigger than ever.
News Corp Australia directly compared a size 10 high school
uniform from 1982 with one from today and the 2018 size 10 was more
than 4cm larger.
Some of the country's biggest suppliers and retailers have told
us of kids crying in change rooms over the size uniform they fit
And some angry parents with larger kids - rather than making
changes to their diet - are storming into uniform shops demanding
larger sizes be stocked on the rack all year round.
In one shocking case a nine-year-old in Year 4 last year had to
get a custom-made uniform measuring 118cm around the hips.
This is close to double the standard 60-70cm measurement for
children in that age cohort.
More than one in four Australian children is overweight or obese
with the number of kids in an unhealthy weight range continuing to
Gloria Gavranic from SKOLA, who has been in business since 1986,
said she made the decision to "downsize" her uniforms.
"I noticed some of the girls in particular they didn't like to
be a big size so we downsized the blouses and other clothes -
making a size 14 now a 12 and so forth," Mrs Gavranic said.
"To be honest I don't really think it should have happened. It's
important for people to know what size they are so they can make
changes if they need."
Mrs Gavranic said she had made a size 34 blouse for a high
school girl last year - at 152cm across the chest - and had made a
7XL for a boy.
"When we first started up the largest size we would make was a
size 18 but now we make up to 24 regularly," she said.
Ian Hampel owner of Niceline said he also downsized his uniforms
in line with the broader fashion industry.
"About six years ago we changed it to a women's size clothing,
more to go in line with the fashion industry," Mr Hampel said.
Annie Taleb from Taleb Australia said in some cases schools had
redesigned their uniforms to make them less body hugging for the
"They may have decided they want to remove the belt or make it
less fitted and adjust the style to make it more forgiving for
everyone" she said.
However, larger sizes have been added, as too have more petite
"There is a much broader cross-section of cultures now so we've
got some really petite children in kindergarten but then there is
the other side of students whom we accommodate for," Mr Apps
Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon said
manipulating uniform sizing for children could be masking the issue
"It is not always the case that there is insight into this from
a family and by changing the sizing ... there is the potential to
mask the problem," he said.
Dr Gannon said parents were largely to blame.
"It is very rare that a nine-year-old will be the judge of the
diet that goes into (their) mouth. There is parental responsibility
And some parents agree.
Vericka Cegaivuna, mum to 10-year-old triplets Cooper, Isaac and
Olivia, said she didn't agree with "vanity sizing".
"It's so hard because everywhere is different sizing now and
there is no generic sizing," Ms Cegaivuna said.
"We shouldn't be squishing the issue away. If a child is a
certain size a parent should know that."
Quirky Kid childhood psychologist Kimberley O'Brien said parents
were often not raising weight with their children because they
didn't want to hurt their feelings.
"I think parents might be treading too carefully," Dr O'Brien
She said uniform shops could have information about healthy
eating and weight on hand so if a child is upset the opportunity is
taken to talk to them.
"If someone is crying in a change room as their parent that's a
great time to say let's get some help with this."