Baby Capsule Wardrobes explained
(and how to create one with minimal effort or stress)
What is a minimalist baby capsule wardrobe?
- Why a owning just a week’s worth of baby clothes will change your life
- What is the BARE MINIMUM of items that should go into a minimal capsule wardrobe
- How to actually choose a color palette even if you’re not artistic
- Where to shop for your capsule items quickly and smoothly
- How to choose high quality, sustainable capsule components
- How to care for your baby’s clothes so that they last long enough to hand down
- What to do with your child's capsule wardrobe once it's been outgrown
You’ve probably heard a lot lately about capsule wardrobes, they seem to be everywhere these days. You may have even tried one for yourself, given that it’s kind of a no-brainer; a set amount of clothes you can mix and match almost infinitely that will allow you to look put together with hardly a thought? Sign me up!
But what if I told you that capsules aren’t just for grownups? A baby capsule wardrobe is a variation on this concept, with a few adjustments to account for the fact that, well..babies have this annoying habit of growing. And a minimalist baby capsule wardrobe is a SMART capsule wardrobe. With a little bit of up-front planning, you can vastly simplify your life and your kiddo’s closet–saving you time, space, and precious mental energy.
A typical baby capsule wardrobe will consist of a base assortment of tops, legging/pants, and rompers or onesies but we are going to keep it EXTREMELY SIMPLE.
If you do this with intention, it will be easy to layer and accessorize around this basic set with coordinating sweaters, socks and shoes.
Why a baby capsule wardrobe will change your life.
If you already have a capsule wardrobe for yourself, then you already know how quickly you can throw on something chic and walk out the door, how much tidier and more peaceful your closet is, and how much money you save avoiding impulse buys.
BUT WHY IMPLEMENT A CAPSULE WARDROBE FOR YOUR GROWING BABY OR TODDLER?
Toddlers aren't famous for their agreeable-ness, and any parent can tell you that many (most?) days begin with a fight over what to wear.
One time my daughter refused to get dressed at all and I had to take her to daycare in her birthday suit. True story.
A well-planned capsule wardrobe will allow your child do the choosing--and STILL come out looking put together. Say hello to peaceful mornings!
This almost goes without saying, but when you stick to a capsule wardrobe for your baby, you don't wind up with thousands of outfits of varying sizes bursting forth from every dresser drawer. You won't have a bag of outgrown clothes sitting at the bottom the closet just waiting for you to find the inspiration to drive it to Goodwill (which, by the way--please don't do)
A tightly edited wardrobe takes up very little space, leaving your child's room clean, clear and calm.
No one really tells you before kids just how much energy you will put into planning for and managing your child's clothing. From making sure you've got what you need, to keeping the sizes straight, to updating for the seasons, to ALL. THE. LAUNDRY. It's yet another thing standing between you and what really matters--time with your little ones!
A capsule wardrobe doesn't just save time and space, it saves mental energy, which can be every bit as draining if not more so.
When you know what you have, and you have what you need...you're not susceptible to impulse buying each time you stop by Ta**et for your essentials. Capsule dressing allows you to buy fewer/better quality outfits, and eliminates the temptation to keep adding more, and more, and more...
How to plan a baby or toddler capsule wardrobe (without losing your mind)
You may have seen Pinterest how-to guides like the first one below, telling you that your capsule must contain these things. I don’t know about you, but just looking at this graphic gives me a headache.IT’S TOO MANY THINGS!
Especially for a child who is going to outgrow them in a matter of months. So let’s figure out what we really and truly need to buy/procure for a truly minimalist baby capsule wardrobe, considering the inevitability that you will either already have some of these things, and that people are going to force more stuff on you whether you like it or not.
THE ABSOLUTE MOST MINIMAL BABY CAPSULE SHOULD CONTAIN:
- 5 tops OR bodysuits, depending on age
- 5 bottoms
That's it. That's literally it. Feel like you need more? Add a few more. And as long as you choose your colors carefully you can add in accessories and layering pieces like cardigans, socks and shoes without too much thought.
How to choose capsule wardrobe colors
I always laugh when this is the very first thing every other article about capsule dressing tells you to do, like as if you have the time to pick your favorite color scheme and then hunt down a bunch of clothes that somehow fit into that scheme.
But here's the truth.
As long as you choose "neutral" colors, your core capsule wardrobe will be perfectly coordinated AND will match literally any color you choose to pair with them.
And you won't need an art degree to know what neutral colors are because I'm about to tell you. Neutral colors are:
Beige or Brown
(yes, I said turquoise. Don't believe me? Test it out--I tripe dog dare you to find a color that doesn't look cute next to it!)
Another benefit of these colors? They're GENDER NEUTRAL. So if you've got another bb on the way, you can pass this wardrobe right on, regardless of sex.
I don't mean to insult anyone's intelligence BUT...I do have to advise that bottoms and pants should be dark colors, and tops can be lighter shades.
Where to buy baby capsule wardrobe basics
Now that you know what you need, where are you going to get it?
Since you're sticking to neutral basics--solid colors with minimal embellishment--you won't have to search far and wide to find exactly what will fit into your guardrails. But you do want to make sure you're investing in quality clothes that are made from sturdy fabrics and built to last.
I recommend shopping online for these. You'll be able to keep your thoughts organized and are less likely to be distracted. Here are some of my favorite places to shop for baby and toddler capsule basics:
Beya Made makes a ready to order, done-for-you capsule wardrobe that meets all of the specifications AND each piece is expandable, designed to fit 3x longer than traditional outfits.SHOP NOW
Best fabrics for baby capsule wardrobe
If you want the items in your baby's capsule wardrobe to last as long as possible, you need to choose your fabrics with care. While plastic fabrics like polyester, spandex and microfiber last forever (like, literally...they don't break down,) they also shed plastic into the air, water and your baby's lungs. NOPE.
So stick to natural fibers for the health of your child and the planet. Here's a list of fabrics you should look out for while building your collection:
THE MOST DURABLE FABRICS FOR BABY CLOTHES
Linen is a magic fabric--naturally organic (it needs only rainwater to grow and is naturally pest-resistant) plus it's 30% stronger than cotton and resists stains.
Because organic cotton is less chemically treated, the fibers are stronger and will hold up better to rough and tumble play. Plus nothing beats cotton for softness!
Twill is a type of weave, not a fiber, but the technique allows the yarns to be packed more tightly together. It's perfect for pants and bottoms.
Naturally antibacterial, moisture-wicking and insulating, wool is a fantastic material for baby and toddler basics. And much of it is machine-washable, but check the label to be sure!
How to care for your baby capsule wardrobe
Did you know that most people are doing their laundry ALL WRONG??? And it's causing their clothes to wear out faster than necessary. Don't be those people.
LAUNDRY...THE RIGHT WAY
Turn down the temp. Detergent companies now design their soaps to work BEST in cool water, and if you're washing your laundry in warm or hot water you're actually making them less effective. And also using more energy than necessary.
Snap, button, zip. Before you throw your clothes in the laundry bin, snap, button and zip them back up so that hard edges don't snag other things in the machine. Every time I do this I hear my grandmother's voice in my head saying "a stitch in time saves 9!" She was right. About everything.
Use less detergent. HE machines are pretty magical, so follow the instructions on the bottle. MORE IS NOT BETTER in this case, in fact it's worse--too much detergent builds up in your clothes and breaks down the fibers faster.
Avoid fabric softener. It can stain whites and leave residue buildup on your clothes over time. If you feel like you need it, just add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle for equally light and fluffy laundry.
Skip the dryer. All that heat is bad for natural fibers, especially--they'll last a lot longer if you throw the on a rack or line to dry, promise!
What to do with your child's capsule wardrobe once it's outgrown
You've chosen so well, and taken such great care of your baby's first outfits...now what? If you've got another baby coming, that's easy! Just store them in a tupperwear box somewhere dry until you need them.
But if not, please PLEASE don't donate them. 84% of donated clothing still winds up in a landfill and there are so many better ways to handle your baby's precious outfits that you can be sure they stay in circulation.
Yes, I said that. When you shop with Beya Made, you can return your outgrown items for a credit towards the next size up, and your child's old clothes will them go into their partner brand Romp + Tumble's rental eco-system, to be enjoyed by many more well-heeled kiddos.
GIVE THEM AWAY
OK, OK, you know this. But seriously if you can identify just ONE friend or family member with a child 6-12 months younger than yours, make them your "person." Usually your person will come over and pick things up right from your porch, making this the #1 most convenient way to move your child's clothes along.
If you don't have a person, search Facebook for your local "Buy Nothing" group. You'll likely find LOTS of parents who would be overjoyed to take your capsule off your hands.
Busy parents often don't have the time or energy to assemble their own capsules, so selling a complete, coordinating capsule wardrobe on an app like Kidizen or Poshmark can fetch a surprisingly hefty sum. And shipping them all at once is way easier and less time-consuming than selling them piece by piece.
And that's it! You know all there is to know about baby and toddler capsule wardrobes...the minimalist way! Don't overthink it, keep it simple, and have fun!