I got this crazy idea last year when it was time to buy fall clothes: coordinating family capsule wardrobe. I executed it, loved it and knew I would do the same for future seasons! So I just purchased Spring/Summer wardrobes for my kids and couldn’t be more excited!
Remember my post about “Faking it ‘til I make it”? Capsule wardrobes made that list! SO I thought I’d dedicate a whole blog to it and give you some tips for curating your own family capsule wardrobes!
1. Decide who is participating
My biggest goal is to have my children coordinate. Since they usually need whole new wardrobes each season right now it’s easy to ensure all of their clothes fit my capsule rules.
I am not a fashionista, but nothing thrills me more than to have my entire family coordinate, especially for worship. So if my husband and I need new things, I make sure they coordinate with what I’ve selected for the kids so we can coordinate occasionally.
2. Choose your color palette
I pick a few neutrals, then add in a few pops of color. For fall and winter, we did black, gray and navy with olive green, burgundy and blush pink. This gave me plenty of options to keep the clothing choices masculine for my son and feminine for my daughters.
For spring and summer, I focused a little more on color. This means it’s not quite as versatile but still plenty of options! But I knew I didn’t want to be a neutral heavy as I was for the cooler months. So our colors are gray, navy, white, coral/light pink, aqua/light blue with a little red for my son.
I will also say, that I do generally pick up a few outfits intended for play outfits. I opt for buying new because I’ve been able to get good deals. But this may be a place you want to stop in your local thrift store and grab some play clothes. I use play clothes as a time to break from our color palette. My 6 year old LOVES color. So this is when I let her experiment with color. Otherwise, I’d probably be tempted to stick to the rules here too. Ha!
3. Decide what items you’re looking for
Capsules help you simplify. You will not be buying all the things! Yay, for your budget but you do have to plan ahead and decide what’s needed.
I decide what is the minimum I think we need and buy that capsule style. That usually leaves room for me or grandparents to pick up a few fill in pieces throughout the season. Because we all know Target likes to show us things we can’t live without!
This was my list for my son:
- 2 pairs of nice shorts
- 5-6 nice shirts in a mix of button-up, polo, and nice tees
- 3-4 athletic shorts to play and sleep in
- 3-4 coordinating t-shirts for play and sleep
- 1 more pairs of jeans
- Flip flops
- Maybe a pair of Croc type shoes to play in
(He already has 2 pairs of dress pants, a pair of jeans, and boat shoes.)
This was my list for my girls:
- 3-4 dressy dresses
- 3-4 casual dresses (good for Wednesday night Bible study and just out around town)
- 3-4 pairs of coordinating bike shorts for under dresses
- 3-4 shirts that also match the bike shorts for around town
- 1 pair of denim Bermuda shorts
- 1 pair of brown cowgirl boots
- 1 pair of sandals (probably silver or gold)
- 1 pair of play shoes (usually slip-on canvas shoes or jellies)
We stay home a lot and we can hang out in play clothes a lot. If your family is more social, you may want to up the nicer outfits. But I try to shoot for about a week’s worth of clothes.
4. Shop no more than 3….4 stores, tops
There are so many options of places to shop, it would be easy to become overwhelmed. But another bonus is that stores tend to put out collections that already coordinate. So that’s a little less work for you!
I typically shop at Kohl’s, Target, and Old Navy. This season I also grabbed a few of H&M’s jersey dresses for the girls!
For what it’s worth, I find Kohl’s works best for my girls. Especially since they still enjoy coordinating. I have one daughter still in toddlers and one just moved into the big girl sizes. Kohl’s is really good about having similar styles and fabrics across the sizes. This may mean that the girls have something in the same fabric, but my older daughter has a bit more mature style or they will have the same style, but different fabrics. I like this because we don’t want to be 100% matchy, matchy, but also because I know my 6 year old will hand down some of her wardrobe to my now 2 year old. This avoids years and years of the same outfits, ya know?
I was able to purchase my son’s entire wardrobe from Target which is great because I LOVE the Cat and Jack line! It’s always cute and it’s inexpensive but I haven’t found it to be cheaply made! While I haven’t ever tried to take advantage of it, C&J has a 1 year guarantee! So I feel even better about my purchase.
No matter where you decide, try really hard to buy the bulk from a few stores!
5. Shop online
I know, I know, there’s a certain thrill of going out and shopping in person. You can touch and feel and get it all done without waiting for shipping. But here’s a few reasons online is better:
1. You can take your time and make good choices.
Remember one goal in this is to have a carefully curated wardrobe full of stuff we love. Not stuff we bought because we kind of liked it.
It took me 4 days to finally decide what I wanted to buy. I shopped back and forth between websites until I found exactly what I wanted. I also was able to remove a few items from my cart once I saw they didn’t fit my rules, I couldn’t find coordinating pieces, were more expensive than I wanted or just weren’t needed. This really cut back on impulse buying and therefore, shopper’s remorse.
2. You can compare items and pricing between stores.
Some staple items can be bought at multiple stores. Like girls’ bike shorts. We buy these to go under dresses and I usually buy t-shirts to coordinate too. They were $10 at one store and $4 at the other. And knowing both brands, they’re the same quality. So I can save that $6 to buy a t-shirt!
Also, some items like t-shirts, those bike shorts and my sons pull-on shorts, are available in special 2 pack deals online only. This usually saves about $1. Just be sure you need both colors otherwise it’s not really a deal.
3. You can use coupon codes and cash back websites.
I never ever make an online purchase without Googling codes. This time the pickings were slim but I was able to find a few. Some stores like H & M will offer you 25% and free shipping for signing up for their newsletter.
I also use Ebates when I remember. I forgot to with Kohl’s but I think I did end up getting about $5 cash back from the other stores. Not a ton but it adds up and better in my pocket than theirs!
6. Make sure every item can be worn with at least two other items
This is really what makes the difference in a family capsule wardrobe. This is why you choose that tight color palette. Things need to be versatile. So shorts are worn with a tank and a tee for my son or a dress and t-shirt for my girls. But I also make sure each shirt can be worn with multiple bottoms: jeans, shorts, pants, etc.
This also really helps kids who are learning to pick out their own clothes. They can freely mix and match without you worrying about them looking silly or wearing the wrong pants. It also helps when you are behind on laundry. Those pants are dirty? No problem, wear the other ones!
7. Keep shoes simple
Were you shocked at how few shoes I buy for my kids? We have 5 people in our family. If we have more than a few pairs of shoes we’d have to build a house for our shoes!
My girls get brown Cowgirl boots. They look super cute with dresses, keep their feet and legs warmer during the cooler spring days and dry during April showers and can be worn into the fall and winter too. The girls really get their wear out of the boots!
I choose silver or gold sandals over white because not all outfits look good with white. Silver and gold just seem more neutral and let’s face it, who doesn’t like shiny shoes?
We get jellies or Crocs for play shoes. These clean easily and can also double as water shoes when they play with the hose or go to the splash pad.
My son gets canvas boat shoes and has since he was tiny. They look nice for worship but also look great with shorts! He can wear them without socks and most of the time are super cheap.
I also usually get him a pair of brown flip-flops. Again, versatile and easy for him to slip on as we run out the door for our various summer activities.
8. A few final tips if you’ve never had a family capsule wardrobe
1. You will wear things over and over. That’s the point. So make sure you love them and get over the fact that people might notice.
2. Pay attention to how you launder. Since your choices are fewer, things will get washed more often. Choose laundry soap that isn’t harsh on your clothes, re-wear things when you can and maybe even hang some things to dry to prevent fading. This is something I wish I had paid more attention to with our fall/winter things. Some are looking pretty worn.
3. Don’t over-analyze things. Don’t over plan. Don’t wait too long for the perfect deal or perfect outfit.
Wanna see what I bought?
I posted everything on Pinterest! Be sure to follow me in case I add more!
Have you ever done a family capsule wardrobe or a minimalist wardrobe?
If not, I hope this encourages you to give a family capsule wardrobe a chance! It’s been great for our family! Be sure to tag me on IG with your shopping haul (@intentionallyunplanned)!!!