I have three young boys at home, and let’s face it – kids are expensive! The food, the extracurricular activities, the toys, the birthday parties, the school supplies…it all adds up quickly, so saving where I can is definitely important.

One area I refuse to spend a lot on my kiddos is on their clothes. Sure, the occasional splurge on something they “have to have” will happen from time to time, but in general I’d like to save that money for things that matter, like experiences for them. They’re also at an age where they will either grow out of or ruin their clothes in only a few months, so spending a lot on clothes is like throwing money right out of the window. Instead, I choose to buy the majority of my kids’ clothes secondhand at my local Goodwill NCW store. I also like to try to build capsule wardrobes for them.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

You have probably heard of a capsule wardrobe before, but you may not be quite sure what it is. A capsule wardrobe is a seasonal grouping of clothes that contains a minimal amount of pieces that all work together. The idea is that you could close your eyes, reach into your closet, and come out with a coordinated outfit. It’s a great way to save money AND time. Creating a capsule wardrobe helps me to stay focused while I’m shopping, and less likely to grab something just because it’s cute (at least most of the time!). It also makes it easier for the little guys to put together their own outfits. So how exactly do you create a capsule wardrobe?

Pick a Color Scheme

Start building a capsule wardrobe by choosing 4 to 5 colors that work well together, including a few neutrals that go with everything. My boys’ colors are pretty “basic” – black, white, gray, tan, and olive green. I don’t count blue jeans as a color because they go with everything! You can choose to change your color palette seasonally (think pastels for spring or earth colors for fall) or stay with the same general color scheme all year round. Make sure your littles have some input too. Your neon-loving kiddo won’t be too happy wearing all black and gray!

Capsule Wardrobe item sweater.

Consider Lifestyle

Are your kids super athletic? Are they little and still in their “floor stage”? Are they outdoorsy? Artsy? Choose clothes that fit their lifestyle. Depending on the child that might mean you need to find clothes that are easy to wash, have reinforced knees, are easy to layer, are comfortable to move in, etc. Often you will be looking for clothes that check more than one of these boxes.

Building a Capsule Wardrobe with simple color schemes like this gray shirt.

Set Boundaries

Capsule wardrobes have a limited number of pieces in them, so take the time to plan what you need ahead of time. An example of a capsule wardrobe might be three pairs of pants, a pair of shorts, four t-shirts, one button-down shirt, a sweatshirt, and a jacket. Again, take into consideration their lifestyle. Your child may have hobbies or interests that require dressy clothes more frequently, or they may need more or less of a certain item if they wear uniforms to school. However, having an idea of what you need ahead of time will help with impulsive purchases that ultimately will get minimal wear.

Building a Capsule Wardrobe with sport coats.

Have fun!

Challenge yourself to create as many outfits as you can! Lay out your child’s clothes and mix and match them to create different looks for a whole week. Taking pictures of each outfit can be helpful. Get your kids involved and see what they can come up with too!

Building a capsule wardrobe may take a little more thought (and restraint!) up front but is such a money and time saver in the long run. Let us know if you give it a try!

About Lauren: Boy mom to three and a vintage, antique and home decor enthusiast. Favorite phrases include “honey, I was thinking…” and “thanks, I thrifted it!”. You can find her on Instagram @portlandrowliving.