capsule wardrobing

I'm not sure if "wardrobing" is even a word but we're going with it anyway! ;) I have shared in the past about our pursuit of minimalism, which really started after Olivia was born in 2013. Over the past 4 years I have learned more about what it means to live with less and more simply, and it has changed our life for the better in so many ways. We own less stuff now, with 3 little girls, than we did when we got married 5 years ago and it was just the two of us. You can find lots of information on why we love this lifestyle and finds lots of my favorite articles on my minimal living page here.

One area I have really loved keeping minimal is our girls' wardrobes. I would describe them as a cross between a minimal + capsule wardrobe and I get lots of questions about what I buy, where I shop and how I do it so I thought it would be so much fun to share here on the blog, especially with the Fall season ahead!

Right now we keep all of Olivia's clothes in her dresser, which is 4 drawers, but the bottom drawer is her blankets & animals and the top drawer is pajamas, socks & linens (extra sheets, pillowcases, etc) so it's mainly two drawers occupied with her actual clothing. Penelope and Adaline share a 6-drawer dresser, which contains 1 drawer of daily essentials (combs, socks, toiletries, medicine, etc), 1 drawer of bows and 1 drawer of blankets. All of Adaline's clothing fits in one drawer and all of Penelope's clothing fits in two, her pajamas & play clothes in one and then her daily outfits in the other. All of the girls' bedrooms have large closets but we use them for storage of diapers, wipes, seasonal books, toys, and then some of our clothes.

It's important to me that I have a handful of high quality, classic pieces for each of my girls that transition through all seasons, can be dressed up or down and will last from one to the next. I'd rather invest a little more in 5 pieces, for example, than buy 20 cheaper ones that will have holes or wash wear after a month. I use accessories like shoes, bows, bonnets and tights to create different looks while still keeping the staple pieces pretty simple.

Below is what I have in each of the girls' wardrobes right now...


Olivia is almost 4.5 and has the most clothes out of all 3 girls. She has a mix of small shop pieces (my favorite clothing to dress her in) and then simple, inexpensive staples (mostly from Gap, Old Navy & Tea) that are great for everyday wear, school and trips to Nana's house (because she always seems to spill something when she is at Nana's).

Dresses // I counted the other day and she has 14 total Alice and Ames dresses, which seems like a lot, but they have been purchased a few at a time over the past 18 months and she wears them every day. I usually add 2-4 to her wardrobe per season (I picked up ivory dot and dutch blue this Fall) and keep a variety of long sleeve & short sleeve ones so that they work for all seasons. In the Fall, she wears them with tights or leggings. In the Winter, she wears them with vests or coats and leggings & boots. In the Spring, she wears a jean jacket over them, and then Summertime she wears them just by themselves. They can be dressed up for photo sessions or special events but also make a great everyday staple for school, playdates and are even cozy enough to nap or lounge in. She also has a few heirloom dresses (we love Wren & James pinafores) which have been used for photo sessions or very special occasions. These are very special to me and pieces I always hold on to for her baby sisters.

Childhoods Pieces // We love Childhoods brand clothing. It is SO cozy, made in the US and is created to last. She has one hoodie, a slouch tee and then two ribbon skirts. I will be adding a few pieces this September when they release their new peplum crews and ribbon dresses, two of our fav styles! In the Fall/Winter, I can throw the skirts on over leggings or tights, the sweatshirt works year round to put on top of whatever she is wearing if it's cool out and the slouch tee, well she lives in that and it's pretty much my favorite too.

Tops // For Fall I've picked up a few simple, neutral tops and sweaters (mostly from Gap & Old Navy) that she can wear to school and I don't mind if she spills paint or glue on ;) I keep 6 or less tops on hand at all times for her, because she primarily wears dresses. She is in a 5T right now but also fits XS in Girls clothing, so I made sure to get pieces that she will be able to wear again all next year. This summer she wore the tops I had purchased last Summer and now she has just begun growing out of them, so I either pass them along to friends, donate or resell. I rarely hold on to clothing that my girls have outgrown, unless it is handmade heirloom dresses, bonnets or really special pieces that I know I want to pass down from sister to sister. 

Bottoms // Olivia has 3 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of joggers/lounge pants and about 6 pairs of leggings, all of which are super neutral (black, gray, simple stripes etc). This allows me to pair them with any top or dress year round. She also has 3 pairs of cartwheel shorts, 2 black and 1 white (super inexpensive from Old Navy) which she wears under dresses in the Spring and Summer and one pair of overalls (here; seriously such a fun piece!).

Shoes // Olivia has one pair of tennis shoes (here), two pairs of everyday boots (these brown boots are our fav if you are looking for an heirloom quality and want to invest a little more; then I picked up these more inexpensive black ones for this Fall), one pair of neutral brown and white color block sandals and one pair of "park shoes" as we call them, which are breathable, comfortable and sturdy and those are a staple all Spring and Summer long. She also has a pair of Uggs for Winter which she has worn the past two Winters and now they will be given to Poppy and we will get her a new bigger pair. I live in my Uggs all winter long and hers still look brand new after 2 years of wear so investing in a more expensive winter boot (and one that is WARM!) has been totally worth it for us instead of spending $30-$40 ones every Winter that don't last long or keep her feet warm.

Jackets & Outerwear // She has a classic light denim jean jacket (perfect for throwing on in Spring and Summer, even into early Fall over whatever she is wearing), a lightweight fleece Columbia zip up (here; this is great for cool weather or under vests in Wintertime...Poppy has the same one and they LOVE them), an army green lightweight jacket (older but similar here) and two heavy winter coats, which I purchased last Winter and she will wear all Winter again and then give to Poppy. One benefit of having 3 girls is that whenever I invest in something, I know it will get wear for 4+ years, especially bulkier pieces like jackets, snow pants, winter boots, etc, that you don't love to buy but that are necessities.

Other // Olivia has a handful of our favorite sailor and oversized schoolgirl bows from Wunderkin Co., socks and underwear from Mini Boden and some random pairs of tights. She has two "play" dresses ($5 each from Target) that I pair with black cartwheel shorts; these will be tossed at the end of summer because they are so worn, but we got so much use out of them for the past 6+ months. Last but not least, pajamas. Our favorite places to get them are Boden and Old Navy and when I can match her and Poppy, even better!

Because she's younger (turns 2 in less than 2 weeks!), Poppy's wardrobe is even simpler:

Rompers // Poppy has 3 rompers; one is black & white (Tea Collection...on sale here), one is light denim (Gap, passed down from Olivia) and the other is dark denim (Gap, passed down from Olivia); again, all of them are super neutral and easy to pair with sweaters, jackets, tights, accessories)

Dresses // Poppy has a few small shop dresses from last Summer/Fall that she still fits and then a few from this Spring/Summer. She also has a few handmade dresses which she has worn in photos and that she wears for special occasions. We love ribbon dresses from Childhoods and Alice and Ames (Size 2T) dresses for Poppy too. I got her the ivory dot this Fall.

Tops // My absolute favorite tops for her are Childhoods Peplum crews (above). She has peplum crews in 3 colors and I pair them with shorts, leggings, bloomers or even throw them on over rompers and dresses. They are definitely a staple in her wardrobe and are so comfy. You can size up and they wear more like dresses. She still fits hers from last Fall and it has probably gone through 100 washes and is still the piece I reach for most often when it's cool out.

Bottoms // Poppy has 8 pairs of leggings, most of which we just recently got for Fall from Tea Collection. They are our absolute favorite leggings and come in so many fun patterns. The taffy stripe is one of my favs and the quality can't be beat! She also has classic black leggings, inexpensive Cat & Jack brand ones that she can wear out with no loss. She has a few pairs of black cartwheel shorts, one pair of Childhoods shorties (here) and one Childhoods skirt (here).

Jackets & Outerwear // She has this fleece jacket like Olivia, a lightweight green jacket (older but similar here) and then one warm winter coat. 

Shoes // Poppy has a pair of park shoes, brown boots (here) and a few pairs of our favorite Freshly Picked moccasins, which she wears every single day.

Other // Poppy has pajamas that match Olivia's, two play dresses (Cat & Jack brand, same as Olivia's) and then for accessories, bows & hair clips. Our favorite clips for the girls are here (above).

Bonnets & onesies are staples for Adaline, and she has the smallest wardrobe of all 3 girls, go figure ;) Our favorite bonnets are Briar Handmade and we love Mini Boden for long sleeve onesies, I have found those to be the best quality. 95% of her clothing was Penelope's so I really haven't purchased hardly anything for her since she was born other than a few super inexpensive tank top/short sleeve onesies that she wore day in and day out all summer long. 

Adaline also has a few tops and bottoms from Tea Collection which we love (bloomers and leggings to match Poppy), and then three pairs of Pine and Honey Handmade bloomers that I pair with onesies or dresses. She wears onesies by themselves all Spring & Summer and then I love putting them over leggings for Fall/Winter. I also get onesies at Gap, Old Navy and then sometimes small shops like the one above (here). For Della's pajamas and cozy clothing, our favorite brand is L'ovedbaby. We have been obsessed with their footed rompers since she was born and they are great for babies of all ages and hold up so well even wash after wash. We love their thermals for Fall and their new dots line... seriously polka dots are my favorite!

She has a few pairs of shoes (our favorites are Freshly Picked and Mon Petit) and then I got her this lightweight coat for Fall on sale. She is still so tiny so I don't envision her needing a puffy winter jacket but it does get pretty cold here so we will see! 

I buy all of the girls' "big box" clothing (Gap, Old Navy, etc) on super sale...so I wait until I can get it at 40% off, then get an extra 10% for being a card holder and often have "10% on top" codes that I can add on top of that. THEN I use my Gap rewards to get all their clothing for free or very close to free. I earn the rewards by buying necessities like gas, groceries, etc and using my Gap card. I pay it off each month, then buy their clothes with the rewards. I have a rule that if I am not shopping small, I will never pay full price for anything ;) On the flip side, shopping small is a bit more of an investment but I love knowing that clothing is made in the US by hand and supporting families like my own, so it balances it out. 

If you are looking at setting up a minimal / capsule wardrobe for your child, consider the following...

+ What pieces are going to transition from season to season? 
If you have daughters, dresses are a must because they are so easy to modify for any type of weather. For babies, long sleeve onesies are a great transitional piece because you can easily add leggings, sweatshirts or tights.

+ What pieces are worth investing in and which are better buying inexpensively?
Keeping inexpensive pieces on hand like black cartwheel shorts, black leggings and a few play shirts that you don't care much about in turn keeps your more expensive clothing nice because you won't be reaching for that for playdates or going to the park. Pick a few pieces from your favorite small shops that you know you will get tons and tons of wear out of and splurge on those. Think 1 small shop hoodie instead of 4-5 big box store ones. Think 2-3 small shop dresses instead of 6-8 big box store ones. Keeping it simple not only saves you money but so much time and stress too.

+ What can I pass down?
Obviously, the higher the quality of clothing, the better for passing down from child to child. If you find a piece that you aren't going to be able to give to younger siblings (say, the season is off by the time it will fit them), make sure you're not spending much on it. If I am going to splurge on a handmade dress, I will make sure that all 3, or at least 2 of the 3, can wear it. If I am going to be sending Olivia to school in it, I make sure it didn't cost much and doesn't matter if it comes home dirty or worn.

+ What can I get rid of?
This is a huge key in keeping a minimal/capsule wardrobe. It's not just that you don't buy many pieces each season, it's that you get rid of what you no longer want or need, regularly. About every 2-3 months (or every season change), I go through all the girls' clothing and look at what they aren't wearing regularly, what no longer fits or isn't going to last, and what I can't pass down. Then I get rid of it -- by reselling, donating or passing along to friends who will use it. If I held on to every piece of clothing my girls had ever worn, I assure you it wouldn't fit in just a few drawers like their clothing does now. I keep one plastic tub of clothing I have held on to in my closet...a handful of special newborn pieces (all of Della's l'ovedbaby rompers!), clothing that Poppy or Della will grow in to but that don't fit yet and a few cherished pieces that I'd rather keep than sell. But everything else, I get rid of.

+ Do I really love it?
Being that I have been moving toward minimalism for over 4 years, I am really getting to know my style and what I love dressing my girls in, which that has helped me to only buy clothing I truly love. I think long and hard before I purchase clothing for them...I consider the cost, the versatility, the quality, the brand, the likelihood that it will get worn by more than one of my daughters and the overall style of it. Is it something that I'm going to get tired of looking at after a few weeks?? It sounds so silly but when you keep a minimal wardrobe, your kids' outfits get repeated A LOT. You want to make sure the pieces you are bringing in your home and putting in their closets are pieces you truly love. For me, that means timeless, classic, neutral pieces that work for all seasons, transition easily and pair well with their other clothing. 

Wow! That was a lot of information and way more in depth than I planned. But so many of you have been messaging me about this so I hope this is super helpful! This is just what works for us and is only meant to be a guide if you are interested in minimizing your childrens' wardrobes. In our hoe, living this way takes the stress out of shopping, getting them dressed and even laundry and minimizes the financial burden of buying clothing for multiple kids. Every single outfit that I put my girls in is an outfit I love. The pieces I splurge on are ones that I get 1-2+ years out of wear and can be passed down when they are outgrown. I find creative ways to make staple pieces work for all seasons and I make sure what they are wearing is not only darling on, but also super comfortable and functional for all their adventures!! XO


  1. Hi there! Where do you find Winter Coats for the girls? We are in Upstate NY and I am trying to look for a coat for my daughter (who just turned 2). I was looking at a wool coat, but then felt that the material probably wouldn't be good for playing in the snow in!

  2. Hi. This is a great post. may I ask what region you are in? I'm near NYC and I feel like a capsule wardrobe is impossible here


Back to Top