How to Create a Basic Capsule Wardrobe for Kids

My kids have capsule wardrobes. Maybe that sounds fancy, but it’s not. It means they have a few pieces of carefully selected clothes that are simple to mix and match.

Making a wardrobe capsule is actually the easiest thing you can do in the way of buying clothes for your kids.

All my kid’s clothes, pajamas included, fit into one drawer. That’s because a kid capsule is smaller than an adults (see my grown-up version here). Kids grow fast and we need to replace clothes quickly–so from a financial and sustainability perspective, it’s important to buy less to waste less.

A kid capsule ideally includes between 12-14 items of everyday wear. That means each season they need roughly 6 tops, 5 bottoms, and a dress for girls. 

I know what you are thinking–that’s not enough clothes! Read my laundry disclaimer at the bottom of this article. 

The important thing to remember is that to build an effective small wardrobe for your kids, you need to be intentional about the choices you make. That means you need to consider the following six factors: buy smart, simple, sustainable, comfortable, flexible, and affordable.

When we give careful consideration about purchases for our kids, they are learning from our ways. It all starts with us–so let’s teach about kids how to be conscious consumers.



I want my kid’s clothes to be smart. Whether we like it or not, our clothes speak for us. As an adult, a well chosen outfit for a trip to the grocery store says, “I’ve got it together.” Sweatpants at the grocery store says “I’m still working on getting it together.” When we first meet a new friend, when we shop at the mall, when we head to the gym–clothing is one of the first things that others see.

I am very aware of this language that clothing speaks for us. Our kids are no exception. This is why I am intentional about what I choose for my kids. We skip the sparkly dress that garners superficial attention from complete strangers. We skip t-shirts that say “Cool Dude!” (because my dude already knows he’s cool–he doesn’t need the shirt to tell him that). I want my kids to seek out compliments based on their good character, not on their pretty clothes.

My kids are beautiful on the inside, I don’t want all the attention on clothes distracting from that inner beauty and intelligenceTherefore in our family we choose smart, basic clothing. 

Before preparing the capsule, give some thought to what you want your kid’s clothes to say. That statement may be unique for each family and child.


When I shop for kid’s clothes it needs to be easy. I pick only one or two stores to purchase all the capsule items. In today’s market there are so many options for kid clothes–far more than I care to spend my time perusing.

Each brand of children’s clothing has dramatic variation in size. Who has time to order clothes from 4 different stores and ship back what doesn’t fit? Likewise, have you ever tried to wrangle a small child in a dressing room to try on multiple different sizes and pieces of clothing?


That’s why I choose to buy clothes from one or two clothing lines. Streamlining the purchases from as few brands as possible makes it easier to coordinate the style of the pieces and assures that you can get the size right on the first try.


When I buy clothes, I think about the entire lifespan of the piece. After my children outgrow it, where will it go?

Did you know the average American throws away 70 pounds of clothes each yearAn overwhelming 85% of used clothing goes into the landfills.

Pre-capsule I bought my kid’s clothes at on the cheap. However, once I switched to a capsule and was washing the clothes more frequently–I found that this gear would barely last through a single season of my kid’s active wear. Therefore I am leaning less on bargain brands these days. Nowadays we are buying fewer clothes, but we are buying better clothes. 

This is because I want these clothes to live on past the short period of time that my kids can wear them. That means they need to hold up to some vigorous wear and tear in my home and leave in good enough condition to  be passed on to at least a few more families.

Being a conscious consumer means thinking about the impact of our purchases even beyond the time they spend in our home.


I want my kids to be comfortable. That means finding clothes that fit well. This is a struggle in our house as I have a hard time finding pants that stay on my skinny boy. Watching him yank up his pants all day long makes me a little batty. A good fit goes a long way for comfort for our kids. But these clothes also need to be soft, cozy materials that I would want to wear myself. Therefore I stick to 100% cotton if at all possible.

Lastly, comfortable clothes also need to promote independence and be conducive for active play. Soft, stretchy cotton makes it easy for a young child to put on his own shirts. Elastic waist bottoms make her independent potty trips a breeze. It’s an added bonus when I find a brand that leaves the itchy tags off.


First, pick a loose color scheme. Pastels, brights, neutrals, chambray-every-day, hipster black, whatever–but pick one and stick to it.

The only hard and fast rule of a simple kid’s capsule: All of the tops and bottoms have to match each other. Everything needs to go with everything else. 

This is most easily accomplished by staying within a color scheme. For us, this varies by season. In the summer I tend to buy brights and in the winter I lean towards neutrals. To maintain an effective kid’s capsule, every piece must work together. Keeping the bottoms in neutral shades makes my life very easy.


As parents, we have to buy kids clothes frequently. Therefore it needs to be affordable. Find a clothing line that provides good quality within a price range that works for your family. Also, most clothing lines offer significant sales at the beginning of seasons.


I am going to show you a capsule sampler platter that meets all these factors: Smart, sustainable, simple, comfortable, flexible, and affordable. In this post you will find two Spring/Summer capsules, one for boys and one for girls.

All of the pieces I have selected are from I chose to stick with Primary because they have a variety of options that fit the criteria [smart, simple, sustainable, comfortable, flexible, and affordable]. This post is not sponsored. Get 20% off your first order at with code AFF20PCT

Get 20% off your first order at with code AFF20PCT

Have you ever thought about starting a capsule for your child? Do you have any hard or soft rules that you follow?

LAUNDRY DISCLAIMER: I do laundry everyday–and it’s amazing. In a past life, I used to do laundry once a week. This meant our family needed a lot of clothes to make it through the week. It also meant that the mountain of laundry was a massive undertaking. Once-a-week laundry meant there was plenty of time for dirty clothes to end up on the floor in the bedrooms, on the floor in the closets, and littered across the sofa and living room during the day-long folding marathon.

Switching to a daily laundry habit has been an excellent decision for our family. Everything is clean, everyday. Best of all: we are officially free from the clothing clutter.

This post is not sponsored by Primary, however it does contain affiliate links. That means Simple Families will receive a very small amount of revenue when you order–I appreciate your support to help keep this operation running. 

Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.