A Crack at Capsule Wardrobing for Kids


Well it happened, folks.

Those baby shower outfit gifts . . . outgrown, awesome hand me downs from friends . . . dwindling.  We are now in the toddler years, where clothing needs to be built like a Chevy, to last.  LIKE A ROCK.  It was time to hit the store.

The thought of having to put together not only one, but MANY outfits for my child, stressed me out. 

How many pants do I need? What kind of pants?  What size pants?  Should kids wear pants?  I should also mention here that we have a girl.  I say that because my husband experienced a run-in with glitter that has hindered our household from having said item since 2013.  I don’t think the stores are aware that we are not allowed to have glitter, so they decided to douse every little girl’s clothing item in it.

My husband’s mission to keep glitter out of our home, mixed with a little bit of google-searching, led us to “capsule wardrobing.”  

Basically, capsule wardrobing is all about building an effective small wardrobe for your kids.

According to the Google-Gods, ideally a kid’s capsule would be 12-14 pieces of clothing.   That means each season they need roughly 6 tops, 5 bottoms, and a dress for girls.  WHAT?  “My kid can go through that in a day,” you say?  Me too.  My disdain for laundry led me to be a little lax with true-blue capsuling. Just remember, this is about making your life easier and making it work for you.  

My first crack at capsule wardrobing was with sets, which was a fail.  We have a string bean of a child, so no-can-do on the sets.  On to separates.  I tried a lot of the go-to stores (with occasional success at Carters), but I was running into a lot of glitter, name-branding, and “girly” stuff.   

Memphis Moms Blog Capsule wardrobe 2
Attempt 1: Carters Capsule.

At the point of total defeat, second-guessing capsuling, and almost sending my toddler to daycare in her pumpkin Halloween costume, the wonderful Mark Zuckerberg tracked my data (and my desperation) and sent me Primary in my Facebook newsfeed.  

Primary is my heaven and a gold-mine when it comes to capsuling. 

Why I love them:

  1. They have the same clothes available all the time
  2. The clothes are built for toddlers-soft but sturdy.
  4. Plus, it is mom-owned, and those mommas cited all my frustrations with kid clothes in why they started Primary! 

With Primary in hand, we identified clothes to get us through a week and a half, as it allows for a lag in laundry time if we are having a busy week, and also builds in those inevitable 2 or 3 outfit days when you are having a good time outside!  I just did a round of ordering, so I’ll list out what our winter wardrobe looks like: a winter hat and mittens (not pictured), a vest (it is our first winter in the South, so I thought a vest was necessary – also impulsively adorable), three pairs of leggings, a dress, two tunics, three long sleeved shirts, and a zip-up hoodie. 

Memphis Moms Blog Capsule wardrobe
Attempt 2: Primary capsule

Already on hand we had a winter coat from last year, a pair of sweats, and two pairs of jeggings.  Bringing us to 17 items!  (We do have other not-so-basic items on hand.  Sometimes I can’t resist the cute.)  I have to say the hardest part is finding the clothing that works for your kiddo, and then deciding what you need. But it is smooth-sailing once you get the hang of it!  It is definitely still a work in progress for us!

Have you tried a capsule wardrobe for you kids? What worked for you?

Happy capsuling!

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Erin is a native cheese-head (GO PACK GO!), who, in the academic pursuit of a tenure-track position, chased her husband from Wisconsin, to Indiana, to Ohio. The journey they lovingly call the “Tour de Midwest” ended in June of 2018, when they landed in the 901 for Patrick’s position with Rhodes College. While the Midwest holds a special place in their hearts, they are happy to be planting roots in the South with their daughter, Nola (May 2016) and insane rescue dog, Toby. A social worker that loves research, Erin works at St. Jude in clinical research. You can usually spot her with a coffee (heavy on the creamer), ‘second-day hair’ that is tossed in a bun, attempting to bake, or talking about how she would like to bake but doesn’t have time, all while using humor to take on the day. Erin’s excited to use her Midwestern “doncha’ know” in conjunction with the southern “ya’ll.” Doncha’ know, ya’ll? It’s gonna catch on.