How much do uniforms really cost? A lot less, perhaps, than you think. Here is a rundown of three schools requiring uniforms and the price breakdown:

Potomac School, McLean, Va. (pre-kindergarten to ninth grade) -- Uniform requirment for grades 4-9, for whom P.J. McEnfoy Uniform Co. of Baltimore and Bladensburg is the supplier.

Girls : Required to wear a blue plaid jumper ($17) and a white blouse ($6.50), plus blue knee socks and brown oxfords. Older girls wear a blue plaid or navy corduroy skirt ($16), and Oxford shirt ($10), and a plain navy pullover they can get anywhere. Everything is machine washable.

Boys : Don't have to buy an exact uniform, but must wear khaki-colored pants (any brand, from discount designer), light blue Oxford shirt, and any jacket and tie. No jeans.

Holy Trinity Elementary School, Washington, D.C. (nursery school to eighth grade):

Girls : Older girls wear blue plaid skirts with kick pleat ($15) or plaid pants ($14-$16) and a white blouse ($7-$8). According to the supplier, Top Uniform Co., Riverdale, Md., girls can get by on as little as one skirt and three blouses, all machine washable, which would make the initial investment for a year of school clothes about $36.

Boys : The navy pants, light-blue shirts, and navy cardigan sweaters can be purchased anywhere, although Top has versions available. The regulation navy and gray striped tie is $3.

Elizabeth Seton High School, Bladensburg, Md. (grades 9-12, girls only): Uniforms from McEvoy are similar to interchangeable sportswear separates: maroon checked skirt ($15.50), white blouse ($8-$10), maroon cardigan sweater ($12.50), maroon blazer ($36), maroon-checked slacks ($14.75), and maroon V-neck sweater-vest ($9.25). Students can buy the pieces they want and change them around. All, including the blazer, are machine washable. w

An informal poll was taken here showed that students would vote to keep their maroon uniforms if they had a choice.