I wish my kids wore uniforms.
If you take to Pinterest for some kids capsule inspiration, you’ll find pin after pin of perfectly coordinated and trendy layouts. To be fair, I have found these pins to be pretty helpful. For all my love of things minimal and beautiful, I’m just not great at putting things like this together. I have enough trouble dressing myself, so seeing the pins truly helps me get an idea of what I can do for my kids.
I’ve written a post about kids clothes and how to keep the whole process simple. In that post, I talk about taking lifestyle and life stage into consideration. This post is for school age kids and prepping for the school year. In some ways school age is easier and in some ways its harder.
The reality for our family is that I cannot and will not go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe for my kids’ school year for several reasons.
Financially we are not able. Kids clothes are expensive. Even second hand, it can add up quickly. I also don’t want them to come to expect an entirely new set of clothes every school year. We use what we have. We get creative and make things work. In the grand scheme of things, what we wear is not as important as many other things, so in this world of fast fashion I want to set a precedent that we’re not buying into that.
They have clothes that fit. Even though the weather will soon be turning cooler, there are plenty of ways to extend wear into the next season.
I should also confess that I do not enjoy shopping. I also am not super detailed or a big planner in general, but this is one area where I try to be pretty calculated. So, if you’re like me and are not going to be purchasing an entirely new wardrobe for your kids, but want things to work together, get the most use out of few pieces, and for the kids to feel confident, here’s a few tips I’ve discovered.
1) Take inventory. As tedious and awful as it sounds, it really does help to know what your kids have. Most likely the kids have accumulated a few extra things this summer; clothes from grandma, free t-shirts from camp. We also occasionally receive hand-me-downs which I am so grateful for. They’ve also probably outgrown a few items and lost a sock here and there.
2) Have a plan. After taking an inventory of what they have and what they need, I like to ask what they like to wear. With my six year old son, it goes like this, “Nolan, what kind of clothes do you like to wear.” “Uh…I don’t know. Comfy shorts.” “Are there certain colors you like best?” “I like my hockey shirt.” With my nine year old daughter, I block off about two hours for her answer. We usually end up on Pinterest together pinning color schemes and styles.
With a little help from them and the experience of years past, I make a practical plan for what is needed. My son, who obviously likes sports and comfortable clothing and thinks wearing the same color shorts and shirts is “matching” needs EASY clothes. I’m hoping to even eliminate having any shorts and shirts that are the same color so that we won’t have the battle of how they’re actually not matching. So I’ll go with mostly navy bottoms and other colored tops.
3) Make a list and prioritize. I like the idea of lists, but I’m not always great with them, but with planning clothes, I highly recommend it. Knowing what you need will help avoid impulse buys and make the shopping trip easier. Prioritizing what’s most needed and what will be needed right away also helps. For example, you can probably wait on winter boots, but not on a light jacket.
4) Acquire the items. My friends and I have made a Facebook group for swapping – not selling – items. While the items are for any and everything, a similar group could be helpful in getting things like rain boots, jackets, and other items that are fine to use second hand.
Last year, was my first attempt at doing a capsule for my kids and I really loved it. I felt like we had just enough, and it seemed to make life easier.
Here’s exactly what I have for my son.
2 pants – one jean, one other. I’ll be purchasing another pair of jeans when the weather cools
1 athletic pant – I will also probably purchase one more pair.
3 athletic shorts
4 shirts with buttons
He does have a few other article of clothing, but they’re not in regular rotation or will not be worn in school like some worn out jeans for playing outside this fall.
My daughter’s capsule is still in progress. I’ll post pics of both of their over on Instagram when I wrap it up.
Do you do a capsule wardrobe for your kids? Or at least try to streamline? I’d love to hear thoughts and tips or questions from you!
To see other posts in the “Back to School” Series, click the picture below.