Kid Uniform–A Spin on the Kid Capsule Wardrobe

Kid Uniform–A Spin on the Kid Capsule Wardrobe

Back to School Clothes shopping can drain your energy and wallet. But it doesn't have to! Learn about our Kid Uniform-A Spin on the Kid Capsule Wardrobe!

Back to School Clothes shopping can drain your energy and wallet. But it doesn’t have to! Learn about our Kid Uniform-A Spin on the Kid Capsule Wardrobe!

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We are in the thick of all the Back-to-School craziness. One thing that I love not having to worry about as much are the big clothing shopping trips. I remember as a kid looking forward to getting all the new clothes. At the same time, I was bugged that most new clothes were for cooler weather so I still had to wait a few months to wear them to school!

As a mom, the thought of dragging kids around in store after store to find endless amounts of cute clothes and spend a fortune doing so is less than appealing. We have fluctuated over the years in what does and doesn’t work for our kids and clothes and I think I have finally created a system that truly works for us. Let’s call it “The Uniform” (for lack of a catchier title).

Create a Uniform

Capsule Wardrobes are all the hype these days. I guess we have our own method or idea of a capsule wardrobe. With as many little kids as we have, we stand out in a crowd. I try really hard to keep everyone looking neat and clean in well-fitting clothes. I don’t have the time or patience to pick out or approve each child’s outfit every day, and not every child has the desire to change their outfit to something that matches each morning. Thus, the ‘Uniform’ was born.

How a Uniform Differs From a Capsule

Back to School Clothes shopping can drain your energy and wallet. But it doesn't have to! Learn about our Kid Uniform-A Spin on the Kid Capsule Wardrobe!

In most capsule wardrobes (a great example above from everydaysavvy.com) you are focusing on building your base of neutrals and then adding a couple of accent colors. Using layers to mix and match and create many new and different outfits with only a small number of items. It’s genius! When my kids get a little older and have a bit more of an opinion on what they are wearing, we will totally switch to a capsule wardrobe. The only change I would make for our capsule wardrobes is to make them last

A Uniform on the other hand, takes the simplicity one step further. Accessories and layers are kept to a minimum. Bottoms match with every top so there is no mix and match option. I also try to limit my shopping to twice a year for kids. One big shopping trip for cold weather, and one for warm weather. I feel that this has worked best in size 2T and up. That is when clothes are more easy to find as separate pieces, rather than sold as outfits. Here’s our guidelines on purchasing clothes:

Pants:

I mostly buy dark blue jeans for all my kids. Jeans wear well and most importantly: they match with everything! There are some mornings that are so crazy that I don’t get a good look at what my kids are wearing with enough time to have them change into something different. There are also those bad days where I heavily debate before bringing up something like an outfit change. Dark jeans will fade over time, but overall look more dressy (if jeans can look dressy) than the faded or light colored jeans. Plus, when the jeans get holes in the knees, we simply cut them off and make shorts!

I will also buy cargo pants for the boys and jean-type pants for girls in different neutral colors (usually grey or black). I don’t buy too many pairs of leggings for the girls since they tend to wear out and fade in the knees more quickly than other pants, and usually come in patterns that are harder to match.

Shirts:

Timeless, dark colors with stripes and other designs are what I am on the lookout for. We do sometimes purchase lighter colored shirts, but they are harder to pass on to younger siblings as stains are more visible. I want my kids to enjoy recess and art rather than worrying about ruining their clothes.

What to Avoid:

  • Shirts that have a print on the front that will fade or peel off over time. I like to be able to wash and dry all the laundry the same. If a shirt is going to be ruined by being washed normally, we don’t buy it.
  • Girl shirts that have sparkles or jewels that will eventually fall off are not purchased either.
  • Shirts with lighter colored stripes or sleeves on a darker shirt. The colors may bleed or the white will turn dingy over time.

Carry an Updated List

I keep an updated list of the shoes that I have on my phone at all times so I can stock up on clearance shoes while I am out and about. I have a paper list that I update and then take a picture that I keep in the notepad section of my phone. I recently started doing this with kids clothing too. I try to stock the kids’ wardrobe for the entire year as follows:

Girls:

Back to School Clothes shopping can drain your energy and wallet. But it doesn't have to! Learn about our Kid Uniform-A Spin on the Kid Capsule Wardrobe!

  • 8 shirts (both long and short sleeved)
  • 8 pairs of jeans
  • 5 pairs of shorts
  • 2-3 dresses for the girls
  • 2 light jackets or sweatshirts
  • 1 swimsuits
  • 3 pajamas
  • underwear
  • socks (white ankle socks for the summer, white crew socks for the winter)
  • tennis shoes
  • dress shoes
  • sandals
  • coat and snow boots

Boys:

Back to School Clothes shopping can drain your energy and wallet. But it doesn't have to! Learn about our Kid Uniform-A Spin on the Kid Capsule Wardrobe!

  • 8 shirts (both long and short sleeved)
  • 8 pairs of jeans
  • 5 pairs of shorts
  • 1 Sunday outfit (slacks, white shirt and tie)
  • 2 light jackets or sweatshirts
  • 1 swimsuits
  • 3 pajamas
  • underwear
  • socks (white ankle socks for the summer, white crew socks for the winter)
  • tennis shoes
  • dress shoes
  • coat and snow boots

There is a a spot next to each article of clothing to give a description of the color, or any other defining feature.

Stock UpBack to School Clothes shopping can drain your energy and wallet. But it doesn't have to! Learn about our Kid Uniform-A Spin on the Kid Capsule Wardrobe!

I try to stay stocked up a size ahead of where my kids are. Whenever I am out shopping, I will quickly glance through and see what is on clearance that I can add to my stockpile.

Buying New:

By shopping for clothes on clearance at the end of the season, I get the clothing for MAJOR discounts. I often get a shirt for $.50-$2.00 rather than $5 or more. Same shirt, same quality, just a different price!

Thrifting:

Stores like Savers have Back to School sales where you can get major deals on kids’ clothing. Be sure to also check out what the color of the week is! Savers will have a tag color of the week. All items with that tag color are 50% off. By checking only that color throughout the year, I have usually pre-stocked most everything I need before my kids grow into that size.

Pros and ConsBack to School Clothes shopping can drain your energy and wallet. But it doesn't have to! Learn about our Kid Uniform-A Spin on the Kid Capsule Wardrobe!

Cons:

  • There have been times where my kids have wanted to get the types of clothing that I try to avoid (super heroes that would peel off, and sparkly cat shirts). I used to give in, but we have both learned that those clothes won’t last as long. If it was a favorite shirt, it is especially hard to give it up.
  • I usually do the shopping for all the kids by myself. I feel like my kids are still young enough that we would walk out of the store with only sparkly cat shirts (I kid you not, there is something about those cat shirts…), and shirts with interesting sayings…So, there are many times where I buy something that the kids don’t love. Luckily we benefit from many hand-me-downs too, so I don’t feel too bad passing the clothes that my kids don’t love on to other people who will love them. With my oldest, I take pictures of the clothes and text them to my husband who will have her give her approval or not.

Pros:

  • Laundry is kept to a minimum. We have a great laundry system and do at least one load of laundry every day. Even when all the laundry is done (for 5 minutes) the drawers and closets are never overflowing. Sticking to mostly dark clothing keeps the laundry simple without special washing instructions for any clothing.
  • Clothes always match. The jeans for bottoms are a must! I also go over any accessories (cardigans, sweatshirts, etc.) with the kids and teach them the basics of matching. We go over exactly which shirts match with the jackets. As the kids get older, I’m sure we will branch out to different colored bottoms, but for now, this works great for us.
  • There are not a whole bunch of ‘not favorite’ clothes hiding out in the backs of drawers and closets or under beds. By having the number of items kept to a minimum, it is easy to choose what to wear.
  • A benefit that I have noticed just recently is that you feel like you really get your money’s worth out of the clothes. By the time the kids have outgrown that size, the clothes usually are pretty worn out. When I am sorting the clothes out to store for the next kid, I would rather store only a few good quality clothes, rather than a whole bunch of okay clothes that are on the verge of being worn out and starting to have stains show. It is also frustrating when you have a few nearly brand new shirts that were not considered favorites so they just got shoved to the back of the closet.

How do you shop for kids clothes? 



2 thoughts on “Kid Uniform–A Spin on the Kid Capsule Wardrobe”

  • What an awesome idea!!! My kids are juniors in high school and have to shop at the department stores. They raise their own money to purchase the expensive clothes, that way they understand how much it takes to buy a shirt!

    • What a great idea! I am hoping to incorporate something like that into our family when our kids are a little older. Thanks for sharing!

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