Thousands of pupils will sit behind a desk for the first time today, and they have to look the part.
Though the National Guidelines on School Uniform states that a pupil cannot be turned away from school for not having a uniform, it still forms an integral part of the school environment.
The guideline highlights items such as trousers, tracksuit pants for both boys and girls, a skirt or tunic for girls and golf and button- up shirts as basic school apparel.
Ties, socks and sunhats are optional items. Pupils are not limited to wearing jerseys and shoes to school, and can therefore wear a "suitable top for colder weather conditions", takkies or sandals.
Emphasis is put on affordability, comfort and decorum.
Schools and their governing bodies are encouraged to set up secondhand shops to help those parents who cannot afford to get their children kitted.
The prices of school uniforms vary according to stores and age. Kitting a grade 1 pupil with a pair of socks, a shirt, a tunic, a pair of shoes and a jersey costs about R200 at Pep Stores.
Parents pay more for extras such as bags, blazers, ties and sports gear.