MATERIAL GIRL : Jodie Bruton on the long and short of sock season

ODDS on by mid-year there are even fewer matching socks in the southern hemisphere.

I keep putting single socks back in our drawers in the hope their “sole-mate” will turn up in the next wash.

Roll up, roll up, roll up! They rarely do.

When I recently returned a pair of sports socks I'd been carrying around in my handbag for a month to my friend's teenage daughter I should have known they had been missed.

"Great!" says my friend.

"We’ve been looking for them everywhere."

They, like us, were getting by on the minimal sock to people ration.

The same goes for school uniforms. Every holidays I tell our daughters to let me know what they need for the next term because I'm only going to the uniform shop once.

During the Term 1 break the eldest needed beige school socks, short sports socks and long school pants. The youngest didn't need anything because there was no way in the wide world she was wearing the pants.

"I'm absolutely, definitely, positive I'm wearing the dress," the youngest says on the Friday before Term 2 resumes.

In order to get the three items on our eldest's list – two of them were out of stock – I made four trips to the uniform shop.

"Still happy to wear the tunic?" I ask our youngest during the fourth visit to the shop. I was happy because her $10 tunic from the school’s second-hand shop had got our eldest through kinder and grades 1 and 2 as well as our youngest through kinder. On a cost-per-wear basis this was my best purchase ever.

"I'm NOT NOT NOT wearing the pants," she says, once more with feeling.

By the second morning of Term 2 and in a tumultuous tangle of tunic, tights and tie, our youngest made a spectacular about-face.

“I really want to wear the school pants now,” she says.

Though I could see the time-saving benefits of her wearing the pants I was perturbed about the sudden change of heart.

She immediately rattled off five or six friends who had opted to wear pants instead of the tunic this term.

The school uniform shop told me they couldn’t get their hands on any size 6 pants for at least three weeks but the beige socks were in stock. Small wins.

After two consecutive mornings of the youngest in a tussle with her tunic, tights and tie, I distress-texted a couple of school mums. No luck. One mum thought she had donated her daughter’s pants to charity just 48 hours ago.

Meanwhile, the uniform shop called to say the pants had come in, two weeks ahead of schedule.

Back at the shop with our youngest in tow, I was reminded that she had only one pair of short sports socks unlike big sister who had three.

As the shop assistant wrote up my new order for sports socks, I thought about how much time I’d spent in the store over the term; I was surprised shoppers were not yet asking me for help.

It’s been four weeks since my last visit to the uniform shop. My text friend found her spare pair of Size 6 pants and a couple of extra shirts for us too.

We now have everything we need to get through Term 3 without a trip to the uniform store. Everything except possibly sports socks. I still don’t know where they go.

My only suggestion is to secretly check your bestie’s handbag because there’s sure to be a pair in there!