My kids have capsule wardrobes. Maybe that sounds fancy, but it’s not. It means they have a few pieces of carefully selected clothes that are simple to mix and match.

Making a wardrobe capsule is actually the easiest thing you can do in the way of buying clothes for your kids.

All my kid’s clothes, pajamas included, fit into one drawer. That’s because a kid capsule is smaller than an adults (read about my grown-up version here). Kids grow fast and we need to replace clothes quickly–so from a financial and sustainability perspective, it’s important to buy less to waste less.

A kid capsule ideally includes between 12-14 items of everyday wear. That means each season they need roughly 6 tops, 5 bottoms, and a dress for girls. 

I know what you are thinking–that’s not enough clothes! Read my laundry disclaimer at the bottom of this article. 

The important thing to remember is that to build an effective small wardrobe for your kids, you need to be intentional about the choices you make. That means you need to consider the following six factors: buy smart, simple, sustainable, comfortable, flexible, and affordable.

When we give careful consideration about purchases for our kids, they are learning from our ways. It all starts with us–so let’s teach about kids how to be conscious consumers.

THE SIX FACTORS FOR DESIGNING A SIMPLE KID’S CAPSULE

Smart

I want my kid’s clothes to be smart. Whether we like it or not, our clothes speak for us. As an adult, a well chosen outfit for a trip to the grocery store says, “I’ve got it together.” Sweatpants at the grocery store says “I’m still working on getting it together.” When we first meet a new friend, when we shop at the mall, when we head to the gym–clothing is one of the first things that others see.

I am very aware of this language that clothing speaks for us. Our kids are no exception. This is why I am intentional about what I choose for my kids. We skip the sparkly dress that garners superficial attention from complete strangers. We skip t-shirts that say “Cool Dude!” (because my dude already knows he’s cool–he doesn’t need the shirt to tell him that). I want my kids to seek out compliments based on their good character, not on their pretty clothes.

My kids are beautiful on the inside, I don’t want all the attention on clothes distracting from that inner beauty and intelligenceTherefore in our family we choose smart, basic clothing. 

Before preparing the capsule, give some thought to what you want your kid’s clothes to say.

Simple

When I shop for kid’s clothes it needs to be easy. I pick only one or two stores to purchase all the capsule items. In today’s market there are so many options for kid clothes–far more than I care to spend my time perusing.

Each brand of children’s clothing has dramatic variation in size. Who has time to order clothes from 4 different stores and ship back what doesn’t fit? Likewise, have you ever tried to wrangle a small child in a dressing room to try on multiple different sizes and pieces of clothing?

#torture

That’s why I choose to buy clothes from one or two clothing lines. Streamlining the purchases from as few brands as possible makes it easier to coordinate the style of the pieces and assures that you can get the size right on the first try.

Sustainable

When I buy clothes, I think about the entire lifespan of the piece. After my children outgrow it, where will it go?

Did you know the average American throws away 70 pounds of clothes each yearAn overwhelming 85% of used clothing goes into the landfills.

Pre-capsule I bought my kid’s clothes at Target. Don’t get me wrong, Target has some really nice-looking basics. However, once I switched to a capsule and was washing the clothes more frequently–I found that this gear would barely last through a single season of my kid’s active wear. Therefore I am leaning less on Target these days. Nowadays we are buying fewer clothes, but we are buying better clothes. 

This is because I want these clothes to live on past the short period of time that my kids can wear them. That means they need to hold up to some vigorous wear and tear in my home and leave in good enough condition to  be passed on to at least two more families.

Being a conscious consumer means thinking about the impact of our purchases even beyond the time they spend in our home.

Comfortable

I want my kids to be comfortable. That means finding clothes that fit well. This is a struggle in our house as I have a hard time finding pants that stay on my skinny boy.

Watching him yank up his pants all day long makes me a little batty. A good fit goes a long way for comfort for our kids.

But these clothes also need to be soft, cozy materials that I would want to wear myself. Therefore I stick to 100% cotton if at all possible.

Lastly, comfortable clothes also need to promote independence and be conducive for active play. Soft, stretchy cotton makes it easy for my 3-year-old to put on his own shirts. Elastic waist bottoms make independent potty trips a breeze.

It’s an added bonus when I find a brand that leaves the itchy tags off.

Flexible.

First, pick a loose color scheme. Pastels, brights, neutrals, chambray-every-day, hipster black, whatever–but pick one and stick to it.

The only hard and fast rule of a simple kid’s capsule: All of the tops and bottoms have to match each other. Everything needs to go with everything else. 

This is most easily accomplished by staying within a color scheme. For us, this varies by season. In the summer I tend to buy brights and in the winter I lean towards neutrals.

To maintain an effective kid’s capsule, every piece must work together.

Affordable

As parents, we have to buy kids clothes frequently. Therefore it needs to be affordable. I am prepared to pay a little more than Target prices. Although I swoon over the pajamas patterns and organic fabrics at Hanna Andersson, a H.A. capsule is financially out of reach for our family.

Find a clothing line that provides good quality within a price range that works for your family.

WANT TO SEE WHAT A KID’S CAPSULE LOOKS LIKE?

I am going to show you a capsule sampler platter that meets all these factors: Smart, sustainable, simple, comfortable, flexible, and affordable. In this post you will find two Spring/Summer capsules for girls (Brights/Lights) and two Spring/Summer capsules for boys (Bolds/Neutrals).

All of the pieces I have selected are from Primary.com. I chose to stick with Primary because that is what my kids are wearing (almost exclusively) this season. If you haven’t tried Primary, you should.

They have not sponsored this post, but their easy to coordinate basics made from high quality, uber-soft cotton are worth writing about. They get an extra bonus because everything is under $25.

Total Cost of Girls “Light” Capsule (with 20% off code AFF20PCT)=$149.60

  • Row 1: Short Sleeve Dress in Lilac/ Capri Legging in Slate Gray/ Midi Chino Short in White/ Tank in Pool
  • Row 2: Capri Legging in Heather Gray/ Slim T-Shirt in White/ Picnic Top in Lilac/ Slim T-Shirt in Petal
  • Row 3: Slim T-Shirt in Sky/ Bow Dress in Pool/ Tank in Mint/ Midi Chino Short in Khaki/
  • Row 4:  Hoodie in Heather Gray

Total Cost of Girls “Bright” Capsule (with 20% off code AFF20PCT)=$144.80

  • Row 1: Slim T-Shirt in Sunshine/ Midi Chino Short in Khaki/ Tank in Azalea/ Capri Legging in Slate Gray/
  • Row 2: Polo Shirt in Raspberry/ Capri Legging in Navy/ Swing Dress in Grass/ Slim T-Shirt in Cobalt
  • Row 3: Tank in Grass/ Pocket Skirt in Sunshine/ Slim T-Shirt in Raspberry/ Midi Chino Short in Navy
  • Row 4:  Cardigan in Cobalt

Total Cost of Boy’s “Neutral” Capsule (with 20% off code AFF20PCT)=$148.80

  • Row 1: Poplin Shirt in Button-Down Blue/ 4 Pocket in Slate Gray/ Classic T-Shirt in Slate Blue/ Tank in Heather Gray
  • Row 2: Gym Short in Slate Blue/ Hoodie in Heather Gray/ Polo in Spruce/ Short in Navy
  • Row 3: Classic T-Shirt in Olive/ Short in Khaki/ Classic T-Shirt in Heather Gray/ Sweatpants in Slate Blue

Total Cost of Boys “Bold” Capsule (with 20% off code AFF20PCT)=$145.60

  • Row 1: Baseball Tee in Sunshine/ Classic T-Shirt in Cherry/ Polo in Grass/ Short in Khaki
  • Row 2: Short in Slate Gray/ Tank in Cobalt/ Sweatpant in Black/ Classic T-Shirt in Tangerine
  • Row 3: Classic T-Shirt in Olive/ Short in Khaki/ Classic T-Shirt in Heather Gray/ Sweatpants in Slate Blue

Have you ever thought about starting a capsule for your child? Do you have any hard or soft rules that you follow?

This post is not sponsored by Primary, however it does contain affiliate links. That means Simple Families will receive a very small amount of revenue when you order–I appreciate your support to help keep this operation running. Also to note: I purchased the vast majority of my children’s capsule myself. However, when I told Primary how much I love their stuff–they sent me a few free things to try. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. 

LAUNDRY DISCLAIMER: I do laundry everyday–and it’s amazing. In a past life, I used to do laundry once a week. This meant our family needed a lot of clothes to make it through the week. It also meant that the mountain of laundry was a massive undertaking. Once-a-week laundry meant there was plenty of time for dirty clothes to end up on the floor in the bedrooms, on the floor in the closets, and littered across the sofa and living room during the day-long folding marathon.

Switching to a daily laundry habit has been an excellent decision for our family. Everything is clean, everyday. This includes my favorite chambray shirt and skinny jeans (a.k.a. my uniform). Best of all: we are officially free from the clothing clutter.

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