Capsule Wardrobes for Littles
This is about the time of year that the weather app becomes the most distracting app on my phone. By mid-September I'm checking multiple times a day to see if there is some faint hope of cooler weather coming our way. I'm pulling out sweaters, jackets, woolly socks, and scarves in the same way that the grocery store has already put up pumpkin displays despite the temperatures in Birmingham still stubbornly reaching into the 90s day after day. I love everything about Fall. And after a record-breaking HOT summer, I am so ready for it to get here.
Except I'm not actually ready.
Because as I've (prematurely but irresistibly) started pulling out some of my cool-weather wardrobe favorites, I'm realizing that both my girls (ages 1 and 2.5) have just about doubled in size since the last time it was cold enough to wear socks. Thankfully, Laurel, the baby, is set with hand-me-downs. But my toddler, Olivia, is starting from scratch.
This realization has naturally got me thinking about how a capsule wardrobe would translate to a toddler wardrobe. In actuality, for most families, a kid's wardrobe ends up being pretty similar to a capsule wardrobe anyway. Because kids, especially toddlers, usually can only wear clothes for a short period of time before they grow out of them, their wardrobes are going to be limited and seasonal anyway. But here are some of my thoughts about the kind of focused capsule wardrobe that would work particularly well for toddlers/young kids.
Coordinated colors make for easy dressing
Olivia loves anything that gives her independence and autonomy. Most days she has fully dressed herself before breakfast just because she loves picking out her clothes and getting dressed by herself so much. It's awesome and I love her independent spirit. But, there are some days when her outfit choices are so ridiculous that it borders on neglect for me to let her leave the house without some intervention. We're not just talking wacky pattern combination choices, but skirts layered over dresses, multiple socks with sandals, socks on her hands, pants over shorts . . . I have a feeling that no amount of coordination would completely reign her in, and I'm okay with that, but I like the idea of sticking to a few, coordinating colors and patterns so that she can create outfits with a little more grace and less intervention.
Versatility is key
My favorite kids clothes are pieces that can be just as easily worn for play as for occasions like church or a special family gathering. Cotton dresses with neutral leggings are our go-to, but anything that is comfortable and can be washed frequently can go both directions if the print/fabric choices stay neutral and tasteful.
Fewer clothes means more manageable laundry
Lets be real. Laundry is my nemesis. Even in an average-sized household it feels nearly impossible to avoid the sensation that our house is being overrun by piles of clothes and towels at some stage of the laundry process (there are just so many steps). If you have invented an amazing, painless system that would work for the laundry-impaired, please, do share. In the meantime, I'd like to aim at keeping the girls wardrobes at about a week's worth of clothes hoping that, among other benefits, the laundry will be a little more manageable.
While quality in a capsule wardrobe is important, no one wants to break the bank on a kid's wardrobe that will be outgrown of by the time that season rolls around again. It's easiest to find colors or patterns that coordinate by catching your favorite kid's clothing retailer when there is a big sale and getting several pieces from the same place. You could also stick to simple neutrals. I have a few friends who tend to dress their kids in neutrals like gray and ivory and they always look so sweet.
If you're in a position to look for some more pricey pieces, or are thinking about what to save for Christmas lists, I think it makes sense to go for a pair of really versatile, neutral shoes that can stand up to the weather of the season for the whole season. A quality, versatile piece of outerwear is probably another good choice. Anyone have any favorite items or brands?
I also like to hit up a consignment sale twice a year and I look for the dressiest pieces in my girls' wardrobes there for several reasons. 1.) Special occasion clothes are worn less-frequently and therefore have endured less wear and tear for a second-hand buy. 2.) There is a drastic difference in the prices you will pay for nice second hand clothes verses new special occasion clothes. 3.) I have found some really sweet, smocked dresses at consignment sales that I am so happy to have had for my girls even though I don't typically shop for those kinds of dresses new or have someone in my family who makes them.
Have any of you tried/thought about a capsule wardrobe for kids? I'm new at this, so I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice.
In the meantime, I'll just be over here baking pumpkin bread while my kids are playing in the sprinkler.