How to build a kids capsule wardrobe - a step by step guide

If you already know what a capsule wardrobe is, and you’re ready to simplify your kids clothing by starting one (if you’re not convinced yet, check out our previous post of 7 reasons to create a kids capsule wardrobe), this step by step guide should help you with the process of how to start building your kids autumn / winter capsule (mix-n-match) wardrobe for a boy or girl.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a smaller intentional wardrobe of quality pieces that you love, that mix and match well together, and that you (or your kids) look forward to wearing.

Here's our simple step by step guide on how to create a kids capsule wardrobe


1. Think about your situation / lifestyle

  • Are the kids at home all day, in child care or in school (and do they wear a uniform at school)
  • How often do you do the washing, or want to do the washing (other than just less often than currently!)
  • What season are you shopping for? These steps will work just the same for whichever season you are in. We split it into a spring summer and autumn winter capsule wardrobe but aim for some cross over, like t-shirts that can be worn with a jumper, or dresses that can be worn with tights underneath.


Wild Island Apparel's step by step guide to create a capsule wardrobe: Step 1. Think about your lifestyle


2. Decide on the number of items you want.

  • If you wash once a week, and your kids are ok with wearing the same pants a few times in a week, that will different from if you’ve got a toddler who gets food / paint / mud / who knows what on all their clothes at least daily.   A good rule of thumb is to go for just over a week's worth of clothes.

  • We find these numbers are a pretty good guide as a minimum, but it will vary depending on your situation and your kids.

    • 4-7 pairs of shorts or pants or overalls (or skirts)
    • 6-8 tops – mix of long sleeve tops and short sleeve tops
    • 1 dress for girls 
    • 1 dressier outfit
    • 2 jumpers
    • 1 jacket
    • pjs or onesies
    • three or four pairs of shoes – we like to go with a pair of sandals for summer, closed shoes that are practical and comfortable but also look great with everything (to avoid the white runners and jeans look!), and one pair of gumboots and or water shoes. 
    • Accessories – a hat, a beanie, a bunch of socks (let’s face it they go missing a lot!), depending on the age of the child possibly bibs, sunnies etc.


    Wild Island Apparel's step by step guide to how to create a kids summer capsule wardrobe - step 2. decide on the number of clothes


    3. Decide on the style of clothes.

    • Choose clothes that are easy. Especially for toddlers who are still learning to dress themselves, we like to choose clothes that are easy for little hands to put on and off themselves, like elastic waists on shorts and pants, avoiding tops that do up at the back, and having buttons or studs on the neck of jumpers to give more room to get them on over the head.
    • Choose clothes that they like. Does your daughter like tights or pants with elastic waistbands instead of jeans, does your son struggle with buttons? Observe what they naturally like to wear, and choose things that are going to be easy and that they will love wearing – this makes life easier for you and them, and less struggles in the busy morning routine.
    • Choose good quality clothes.  You want durable fabrics that will stand up to being worn regularly.  This is especially so if you and your family get outdoors and adventure a lot (or if you are aiming to get outdoors as a family more!)
    • Choose clothes with washing instructions you can handle. If you know you never get around to hand washing anything, choose clothes that can be machine washed.


    Wild Island Apparel's step by step guide to create a capsule wardrobe: Step 3. Chose a style of clothes


    4. Choose a colour palette

    • This is key to making the outfits look well put together, even if you let your child choose their clothes themselves (hopefully avoiding those pink ballerina skirt, red t-shirt and blue socks kind of days).

    • It’s safest to go with mostly solid colours, possibly made more interesting with a contrast section, interesting artwork or a self patterned print, and then match these with a few pieces with a print that still goes with the rest of the wardrobe.


    Wild Island Apparel blog: how to build a kids capsule wardrobe - step 4: chose a colour palette


    5. Look at what you’ve already got

    • You may have some clothes that have been handed down from older siblings or friends, or some things you already have for the season you’re moving into. Keep the pieces that could be part of the capsule, that you love to put your kids in or that they love to wear. Depending on their age, they could be involved in deciding what they want to keep.

    • Tick those off the list.

    • Remove the ones that you have decided not to keep.  See if you've got a friend who wants them, or take them to your local op shop to be passed on and worn by someone else. 

      Wild Island Apparel's step by step guide to create a capsule wardrobe: Step 5. Check what you've already got


     6. Choose some brands you love

    • You’re going to want to pick a few brands you love, who you know focus on quality materials and durable pieces, so that these limited number of items will last the rough and tumble of being worn regularly.
    • Sticking to a few brands helps with the colour palette, as brands often release a range that goes together, which means less research and guesswork, saving you time.
    • This also helps as you will get to know the sizing and fit of those brands, and can keep going back to the same brands each season, making clothes shopping easier and faster each season.
    • Check out our outdoor adventure gift guide for a few brands of kids clothing, footwear, sunnies and accessories we love.


    Wild Island Apparel's step by step guide to create a capsule wardrobe: Step 6. Chose some brands you love


    7. Next is the fun part: Shop!

    Check out the kids wardrobe staples from Wild Island Apparel’s range which feature gender neutral clothing in earthy, nature inspired colours. There’s a few prints, plenty of block colours (with interesting features like contrast sections), and lots of easy dressing features like elastic waists. Plus everything is machine washable making it easy to care for.


    Wild Island Apparel blog: how to build a kids capsule wardrobe - step 7: shop!


    What next?

    Make sure you subscribe to our journal below, to receive more tips on outdoors adventure with kids.

    If you're ready to find some autumn / winter staple items of clothing for your kids capsule wardrobe, visit the Wild Island Apparel store to shop our range of gender neutral kids clothing. 

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