Unless you've been living under a rock, you are well aware that capsule wardrobes are hot AF, and for good reason. The key is, that all the items fit well and go together, for unlimited outfit making potential. I usually do a version of this with my own wardrobe, due to my day job, which when I am back at it, I hope to share more details about, and I've ALWAYS done it for the kids. I never buy in "outfits" i.e. one pair of pants that only goes with one shirt, and it makes life so much easier! I swear. There is a little more effort and money put in upfront, but you can be sure your kid will
never rarely look like a nightmare, no matter who dressed them, because it all goes together. It saves time, money and sanity in the long run. So here's how to do it.
1. Pick your favourite stores. I shop value brands exclusively. Joe Fresh, Carters/Oshkosh, and Old Navy. I find the prices are similar to buying used, but this way, I can curate the wardrobe online, wait for a sale, and try it all on at home(which with a toddler is pretty freakin' key). Obviously, you can buy whatever brands you like, I just find this to be the most practical for my budget. I would say, to eliminate being overwhelmed with options, pick a max of three or four stores and stick to them for the big buy.
2. Shop seasonally. Although it may seem like a larger investment up front, I rarely buy the kids clothes outside of the big buy unless there is something specific that we need. Over the winter I've needed to purchase new mitts (lost), new sneakers (worn out), and pyjamas (outgrown), but that's it since fall.
3. Figure out what you need. Go through your kids closets and dressers. I purge regularly, so I rarely have items that no longer fit, are stained or are worn out in the kids' rooms, but if you do, chuck, store or give away this stuff now. Each change of season I will see if anything fits from last year (so, right now I'm assessing rain boots, splash pants, coats, swimwear, footwear(sandals, park shoes), and shorts) so that I don't over buy and I know what I absolutely need to make sure I get. I also plan if there are upcoming special events that I might need fancier outfits for (Easter, parties, school function, etc.)
4. Pick a colour scheme. Each season, stores have a few different collection options based on style and colour story. Chose the one you like best and start from there. We've been doing Coral, light pink, olive green, and navy blue for most of Lilah's wardrobe, and Vaughn is navy blue, light turquoise, gray, and orange. This makes adding things in season-to-season easier, and they are the colours that look best on them.
5. Pick all. the. things. At first. On-line shopping has made this so much easier. When Lilah was a baby I used to grab everything I liked in her size and literally curate my capsule in-store. Yup, I'm that guy. I still do the same thing on-line but now I'm sitting on my couch, with a beer, and there are no judging eyes wondering WTF I'm doing. You can either save everything to Cart or save pictures to a file on your desktop (this is what I do, because I tend to shop from different stores, I can see everything in one place).
6. Curate. Once you have all the pictures of things you like, you whittle it down. Anything that doesn't match the overall colour scheme or isn't overly practical, gets the boot. I sometimes have to pick favourites to make it within budget, which I establish before I start. If necessary include socks and accessories, too. Nothing worse than a mismatched sock, I tell you! Make sure everything can be mixed and matched, that you don't have too many of a specific item (no kid needs 10 pairs of shorts), that you have enough to last the season (you might need more than 2 shirts), and that you have included versatile, comfy shoes and outerwear, if needed.
Ta-da! There you have it. A curated, seasonal, kids capsule wardrobe. I fancied up Lilah's Spring picks in PicMonkey to show you the end result. I think I might even print off the outfit inspirations for us to reference on busy mornings. In case your wondering, I do run everything by Lilah first and make sure she's on board before I buy, and anything she doesn't like or find comfortable when we try it on, goes back. I'm not a wardrobe tyrant ;)
A couple things I personally don't do.
1. Buy off season. I find it too hard to gauge what the kids sizes will be. I've always missed the mark when I've done this (too big or too small) so I stopped.
2. Buy Clearance. It's way too easy to be lured by the low price and end up with too many items that don't match. If it's something you've been needing/wanting by all means, go for it, but don't wait for high clearance if your hoping to build a cohesive wardrobe.
3. Buy expensive items with the intent to hand them down. I have so many items that are value brand that are still kicking around and many that have been long trashed. I wouldn't be able to relax if I was worried that something HAD to make it through all three kids and, like I said, most of the value brand stuff has held up phenomenally.
Phew, did you make it? Don't worry. I'll be sharing the boys capsules soon, and in case you thought I forgot, Swimwear!
P.S. I realize that a sweet wardrobe does not equal happy kids, and I don't think it's at all necessary. If this is not your jam, that's totally ok, and probably more normal ;)