I am excited to share with you today, my favourite part of the kids capsule wardrobe – how-to! This is the planning stage. It is time to figure out what items you have, what you need, and how to stay organized when designing your kids capsule wardrobe. I’m going to walk you through a few simple steps to help you answer those questions, and will have a free printable at the end of this post. Lets go! [Revised and Updated January 2021].
If you haven’t already checked out Part One of this blog series, you can read it here.
*Note- I think that capsule wardrobe planning looks a little different for each family. I simply wanted to provide a guideline for getting started! As my wise mentor always says – “take what you like, and leave the rest”.
Step 1 – Take Inventory
Taking inventory is essential in preventing the overbuying and overspending on clothing, due to forgetting what you already have in your closets! This is my method to doing an “inventory” of the clothing my kids already have:
- Try clothing on. Over the next few days, take out all the clothing from drawers/closets and have your child try on the items to see what fits. Keep any pieces that still fit, and that your child enjoys wearing. Put the rest in a pile to box up, sell, consign, swap, or donate. (Note: you can take your time and do it over a week, instead of all at once.)
- Make note of measurements. Jot down your child’s current measurements including height, weight, inseam, waist, hips, and chest. Keep the measurements in a handy spot (don’t forget to update their baby/milestone books!), and you can refer to them when needed. Make note of what ‘size’ clothing they will need for the next season so you can start shopping when ready.
- Use a planning page. Grab my free printable below and record the items you already have. I find these lists especially helpful when shopping for swim stuff and winter clothes; as I often grab these items on sale or clearance the year prior, then forget that I bought them already! You can start a new page for each season, then tape them in your planner or hang in their closet to refer to when needed.
Now you are ready to start planning and filling in the gaps!
Step 2 – Seasonal Planning
If you live in Canada, where the temperatures that vary greatly from day to day, this part of planning in the wardrobe is huge! The weather can fluctuate so quickly and is often unpredictable. Having pieces that can be layered together is pretty important. I don’t include outerwear and shoes in my number of capsule wardrobe items needed, but have included that section on the printable to help you figure out what you might need to buy for the season. Some of the items we typically need by season are as follows:
Fall – light/windbreaker jacket, running shoes, boots
Winter – warm waterproof coat, snow pants, warm and waterproof boots, mittens, toque, scarf
Spring – rain boots, light/windbreaker jacket, running shoes, toque, gloves
Summer – water shoes, sandals, running shoes, light/windbreaker jacket, rain boots, sun hat
In planning your capsule wardrobe items, season is taken into consideration to determine the style and amount of items needed. You may also need to consider the developmental season your child is in (ie- potty training). Every 3-4 months or so, I go through my kid’s closet to determine what pieces can still be used in the coming months; and which are no longer needed or no longer fit. The items you already have can be added to your planner, and used as a foundation to build the rest of the capsule wardrobe around.
We will explore clothing options more in depth in Part Three!
Step 3 – Number of Items
I have done lots of research on kids capsule wardrobes, and find this to be a very individual preference for each person. But there is a general consensus that kids capsule wardrobes should be simple, and contain around 12-30 items. Now 12 items does not seem like very much, but keep in mind that this does not include sleepwear, swim wear, underwear, or specialized clothing for activities your kids might be in like gymnastics or karate. I find that 14-16 items provides plenty of options for mix and match outfits, and gets us through at least a few days before needing to do laundry (potentially longer if we have a great week with no accidents or exceptionally messy meals!). You can read more about the benefits of keeping the capsule small in Part One of this blog series.
I’ve added boxes in the inventory section on the planning page, so you can keep a running count of items you have for each category.
Here are a 2 samples of clothing amounts in a basic kids capsule wardrobe:
- Girls: 6 Tops, 4 Bottoms, 1-2 Dresses, 1 Cardigan or Hoodie
- Boys: 6 Tops, 5 Bottoms, 1 Hoodie
Step 4 – Color
This is the really fun part about capsule wardrobe planning, choosing a color scheme. Maybe you don’t mind your kids having a rainbow closet of clothes, and potentially being a little mismatched at times. For our family, I find it really simplifies getting dressed when each child’s wardrobe color palette is already coordinating, as our kids have confidence in choosing outfits independently.
If your child/children love color and prints like mine do, this step can be a bit tricky. I usually start by choosing a couple of brighter/printed items that my kids really love, and building from the colors found in them. It also helps if you stick with just a few favourite brands, as they often have already coordinating color schemes. If you have many favourite shops, you should have no trouble creating a cohesive kids wardrobe! Sticking with a color palette of 3 brighter colors and then adding in neutrals will ensure that you have lots of pieces that work together well.
Another way you can plan your kids capsule wardrobe colors, is to choose all neutral bottoms, and all colored/printed tops (or vice versa). This means that no matter which pieces you child chooses to wear together, they will always match!
Which ever method you choose, try to involve your kids in the process. Choosing one or two special clothing items around their favourite colors or things (ie: unicorns, dinosaurs, cars, donuts) makes getting dressed much more fun! If you’d like to see some sample color palettes, check out Part Three here.
Step 5 – Comfort
What kinds of clothing is your child comfortable in? Do they always complain of being hot or cold? Do you need to stick with cotton blends or look for elastic waist pants? These are all things to keep in mind when shopping for your kids capsule wardrobe. Every parent knows that even the cutest clothing will not get worn if you have to fight with your child to convince them to wear it.
Step 6 – Lifestyle
Each kids capsule wardrobe will be unique based on a family’s lifestyle. If your child goes to school or daycare you might need to look for clothing that will hold up to the active and messy activities they might enjoy there. For those that live on a farm, you may need to find more play/work clothing. If you attend church regularly, you will need to make sure you have at least several options for dressier attire. These activities might also help you determine what colors will or will not work with your lifestyle. Light colored clothing may not be ideal for some kids who enjoy getting messy, though I find modern laundry solutions able to get out so many tough stains!
Now that you have got this far, you are ready to put your ideas to paper!
You can download my free printable kids capsule wardrobe planner below.
You can click here to read part three of the blog series. If you are looking for items to build your capsule wardrobes with, there will be some great practical suggestions, plus a link to the kids section of my shop.