Back-to-school uniform shopping can be a nightmare. Everybody has bad memories of their own school uniforms, writes Tamsin Blanchard. Wearing it was shameful enough, but having to spend a day each August - when there were far more interesting things to do, such as going to the beach or bouncing on a space hopper in the garden - trying on shirts, blazers and horrible box pleat skirts was too much to take. I remember being dragged around John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, sulking at the thought of wearing a shirt and tie and an acrylic V-neck jumper over the top.

No doubt remembering their own school days, those clever fibre technologists at Courtaulds have had schoolchildren in mind this autumn. They promise they have taken the itch out of school jumpers with a new, improved fibre, called Courtelle. It is still good old acrylic to you and me, but re-engineered to improve its "easy wear, easy care" properties. It is also softer. Unlike the old-style acrylic, new-generation Courtelle knitwear is designed to retain its shape after machine washing and not go bitty and knobbly after a week's wear. Gone are the days of shaving your jumper to get rid of the bobbles. Look out for the Courtelle label at John Lewis and other children's departments.