Capsule wardrobes are great for babies and kids! They allow you to have a small number of pieces that you can mix and match for a variety of outfit combinations and since little ones grow so quickly having a limited number of items not only is more budget friendly but also more sustainable.
It creates a organized and clutter-free closet where you can put outfits together with minimal thought, because decision-fatigue is very real as a parent.
Plus capsule wardrobes are also perfect for Dads, kids who dress themselves, or anyone who might not be the best at putting together outfits. 😅 I’ve definitely had a few “you put her in that?” moments will my husband, but a capsule wardrobe offers a pretty foolproof way of dressing.
Planning the Capsule
The first step is to see what you have – what still fits and if you have any gifts or hand-me-downs that are the right size. This is a good base to build your capsule around.
Also be sure to clear out anything that no longer fits so it’s not taking up space and adding unnecessary clutter.
Plan for the Weather
The temperature and weather is of course key to what clothing you’ll need. Start by making a list of the types of items eg. long/short sleeve tops, layers, snowsuit, etc.
How Many Items?
This will depend a lot on how often you do laundry. We do laundry about once a week so I need at least 7 outfits, plus it’s good to have a couple extra options as well in case she gets something dirty and needs to change.
Here’s the breakdown I used:
- 7 tops (3 short sleeve, 4 long sleeve)
- 2 dresses (1 dressy tunic, 1 dress)
- 7 bottoms (3 leggings, 3 pants, 1 overalls)
- 3 layers (1 hoodie, 2 cardigans)
- 2 outerwear (1 coat, 1 snowsuit)
- 3 shoes (1 slippers, 1 outdoor boots, 1 snow boots)
So there’s a total of 24 items including shoes and outerwear.
This will be a learning process though and as you use the capsule you will get a better sense of the number of items that works best for you.
Decide on a Colour Palette
Pick your neutrals and any accent colours, this might be guided by pieces you already have and in that case think about colours that can best tie them together to give you lots of combinations.
The easiest method is keeping accent colour and patterns to either tops or bottoms and neutrals in the other areas, however you can also mix colour in different, it just requires some more planning. Try to choose patterns that incorporate a few of your colours so they can go with a lot of items.
For this capsule I decided on greys and whites as neutrals, and yellow, rusty-orange, and dark green as my colours. I also have a purple and navy piece which are pretty neutral and still work.
Pick your Pieces
As you’re selecting items keep in mind the kinds of activities your child will be doing, what they like wearing, and any clothing needs they have (for example if they often wear out the knees in pants look for items that have reinforced knees).
As you select each item, make sure that it goes with the majority of other pieces – you don’t want to end up with items that can only be worn 1 or 2 ways.
B’s Fall/Winter Capsule
Here is the capsule wardrobe I put together for my daughter for fall/winter. She is 13 months so hopefully all these pieces should fit until it’s time to get ready for spring.
Most of the items I got secondhand however when I do get clothes new, I love being able to support responsible, eco-conscious and ethically-made brands.
Sustainable/Ethical Brands in the Capsule
(note: some of these items were kindly gifted and this list also contains a few affiliate links)
Soft Soul makes lovely cork slippers/baby shoes – the cork is sustainable and more durable than cloth slippers, her feet can stay warm, and the flexible and grippy sole is perfect now that she’s walking and developing her balance. I was also very excited to find a vegan/non-leather baby shoe option!
This adorable woodland jumper is from Pure Colour Baby – a Canadian brand who creates clothing in house with their beautiful custom prints. They use organic cotton and eco-friendly lyocell.
Her rust-coloured romper/overall has already been getting a lot of wear, it’s a linen blend from Beya Made and is the perfect statement piece for the wardrobe. Their clothes are made in the US and designed to grow with your child!
I love the organic cotton harem pants from Parade Organic because they work so well over cloth diapers, plus they have some great colours and prints.
We also got an adorable pom-pom hat from Myssy to keep B cozy in the winter months. Our whole family now has Myssy hats – their pieces are all knit from local wool by the grannies in the community!
Finally one of my favourite places to get secondhand clothing is Mini-Cycle. They have a circular business model and will buy-back any items they’ve sold. You can get lovely and high quality pre-loved garments through their “re-cycle” section, but you have to stay on top of their weekly drops, because items can go fast!
I also visit my local Once Upon a Child (a consignment store with locations all over the US and Canada) to fill in any gaps in the capsule.
Pajamas & Sleepers
For bed I have 5 sleepers and prefer to stick to organic cotton since it’s in close contact with her skin for so much of the day. We get some of these secondhand and I also really like the ones from Pact , Parade and L’ovedbaby. Then we also use a sleep sack from Nest Designs.
After 6+ years of doing a capsule wardrobe my biggest lesson is that it is an ongoing learning process – every capsule you can learn from what did and didn’t work and use that knowledge for the next one. So I definitely don’t expect this wardrobe to work out perfectly and since it’s the first one I’m sure there will be a lot to learn.
I’m very much looking forward to the ease and simplicity of getting dressed though!
Check out our updated 2021 toddler capsule here.