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Capsule Wardrobe Planning for Babies and Kids 101

“Capsule Wardrobe.” It’s a term we are seeing more and more of these days, but what is it exactly? And should we, as busy moms, give a damn? I think so. Let me explain…

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a seasonal collection of clothes made up of practical basics, timeless classics, and a few on trend pieces that complement the season and your individual lifestyle. A solid capsule should contain pieces that flow and pair well together in order to get the most versatility out of your wardrobe.

It should also contain the pieces that help you enjoy your lifestyle to its utmost potential. For instance, are you and your family frequent travelers? Do you spend lots of time outside? Does it snow a ton during your winter?

When it comes to kids, a capsule wardrobe should be chock full of basics your baby, toddler, or kid wears on the daily. It’s essential that you have a few occasion outfits for the season, and functional weather wear. Kids’ wardrobes should be workhorses - fun and easy, but also practical and functional.

Benefits of capsule wardrobes:

More options. The irony is that while less clothing hangs in the closet, you will feel like there are more outfit options. This is because you will more clearly see what you have and the pieces that work together.
Conscious Consumption. Another benefit to capsule planning is that you have a chance to think more intentionally about where you are sourcing your clothing. Are you a bargain hunter? Plan around your favorite brands’ yearly sales. Are eco and ethical standards important to you or do you prefer to support local when possible? Instead of making a rash big box purchase because you are in a pinch, buy from apparel makers whose values align with your own.
Less Stress. It makes getting dressed SO much easier, which makes mornings SO much easier, and what parent doesn’t want that? Digging your way around mountains of onesies, footies, or tees you keep but never put your baby in, or are the wrong size but still lingering around, is frustrating, unproductive, and feeds anxiety. There is already so much that is chaotic and unpredictable about parenthood. Getting dressed and navigating your little one’s closet shouldn’t be a source of stress.
Teaching Moment. Well planned wardrobes teach our kids from the start how to have a healthy relationship with stuff. Kids that grow up with cluttered closets tend to become adults with cluttered closets. As parents we have a lot of power to stop unhealthy lifestyle habits before they even start which is both empowering and terrifying, right?
Money. While you might find yourself spending more at one time, you will spend less money on the whole because you aren’t spending on the fly in a reactionary/impulsive way. For all the financial trackers or budget nerds out there, it makes tracking and planning the monthly/quarterly spend on your little one so much easier.
Fewer meltdowns. As our babies become toddlers, they start to have “opinions” on what to wear. Having a streamlined wardrobe where you, as the parent, like all the options and know all they are appropriate for the season will take a lot of the stress out of your toddler “helping” choose their “OOTD” (outfit of the day).

Less meltdowns = happy tot and happy parent.

How do I start?

“Capsule” should really be a verb not a noun – TO capsule vs. A capsule. While there are plenty of capsule wardrobe challenges and purported rules around creating capsule wardrobes; building seasonal wardrobes should be thought of as a tool or exercise, as opposed to a final product. (Although the organizational nerd in me does loves seeing a clean closet chock full of useful and fun clothes that I love and feel good about putting my little one in).

A friend once told me that when she first started creating capsule wardrobes she used a planner and adhered to strict parameters around how many and what pieces she included, but now capsuling has become second nature and a way of thinking about clothes and she no longer needs the boundaries or rules. This should be the goal. Absolutely follow a program or planner in the beginning to learn how to capsule and what works and doesn’t work for you. Take what works and let it become second nature.

Most capsule planning programs generally include the following steps:

  1. Figure out what you have
  2. Get rid of what doesn’t serve you – i.e., what you don’t like or need
  3. Figure out what you still need
  4. Shop for what you still need

Basal Baby, was born of my love and appreciation for streamlined baby and children’s wardrobes, so when we launched I created a capsule planner for the first year, because I found that a baby’s first year has some specific considerations that are unique to this fleeting time, including rapidly changing size seasons and developmental considerations.

Millie's Capsule

Size Seasons

As adults, a “seasonal” collection generally means a three-six month set of clothes worn during a particular weather season – i.e., Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter. However, when it comes to babies 0 – 18 months, seasonality really should be considered at two levels. The first being baby’s size. The second being the weather seasons during which baby is that particular size. The reason for this is that babies grow like weeds. During the first year a baby will triple in size from his or her birth weight, which is why as mothers we find ourselves having to refresh our baby’s closet with clothes every three months.

    “During the first year a baby will triple in size from his or her birthweight.”

Take this example – a baby born April 1 will have the following seasons in their first year:

0 – 3 months: April 1 – June 30 (Spring/Summer)
3 – 6 months: July 1 – September 30 (Summer/Fall)
6- 9 months: October 1 – December 31 (Fall/Winter)
9 – 12 months: January 1 – March 31 (Winter/Spring)

 

Depending where you live in the country some of these three month stretches may include two very different seasons of weather, which is why it is important to consider the size season first, followed by the weather season.

Once a child turns two, you can switch to traditional seasonal wardrobes, planning out six months at a time.

Developmental Milestones

Baby’s size seasons generally correspond with certain developmental milestones such as sitting up, eating solids, crawling, and walking. Each of these stages has a few wardrobe needs to consider such as uptick in bibs or onesies for new eaters, leggings for crawlers, and soft soled shoes for new walkers to name a few. Our planner outlines the major milestones associated with each size season, so you can keep in mind when planning out their wardrobe needs.

Mamas-to-be

Utilizing this planner has been quite helpful for mamas-to-be. You  can plan for the clothing needs of their baby’s first year and register accordingly, ensuring you get exactly what you want and need.
I hope you will give capsule wardrobes a shot for your little one’s closets this season and that some element(s) of “capsuling” become the new normal in your yearly shopping and wardrobe planning routines. If you already capsule plan your little’s wardrobes, we’d love to hear some of your tips and tricks! 

Download our capsule planner for baby’s first year HERE.

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