Your children's wardrobe on a budget

Constantly updating your growing children's wardrobes every season is both time consuming and expensive but what if you could simplify the process while also helping your children gain independence and develop a healthy relationship with clothes? Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to creating a capsule wardrobe for your children that saves time, money and maximises wear:


1. Choose a colour palette.

I like to keep it simple. Choose 1-2 pop/accent colours and 2-3 neutrals. I always ask my children to choose the pop colours, think pinks, blues, greens, purples, yellows etc. My daughter chose pink (I should have guessed) as her pop for winter. For neutrals, these are colours that can match back with any pop, for example white, black and grey (cool shades) and creams, beiges and browns (warm shades). I also like to add navy as a neutral as I feel black can be too harsh on children. I selected navy, grey and white for my daughter’s neutrals.


2. Write a shopping list.

Keep in mind, once your children are at school they won’t get the wear out of a never-ending wardrobe, especially for the winter season. Your list will vary depending on your child’s needs but this is what my daughter had on her shopping list:

- 3 x long sleeve tops

- 2 x long thick pants/leggings/jeans

- 1 x pair of trackies

- 1 x knit jumper

- 1 x hoody

- 1 x dressy jacket

- 1 x parka

- 1 x long sleeve dress

- 1 x pair of boots

- 1 x pair of trainers


3. Set expectations.

Explain everything to your child. Before you hit the shops let them know the colour palette and why we have neutrals (so everything will match back) emphasising the fact that their chosen colour/s are on the list! Explain that when you go shopping you’re buying the items on the list in the colours you’ve chosen together. Hopefully this will make sense to them (most likely for 6-7 year-olds onwards).


4. Go Shopping.

Yes, with your child! Choose a store within your budget. Department stores are best as they will have the variety. Tell your child to choose anything they want that’s in the colours you’ve both chosen. You do the same, which I’m guessing will be a whole lot more practical than what they choose. If they don’t want to go shopping that’s fine (and possibly less of a headache for you).


5. Try everything on.

Yep, everything, if your child is up for it. I most often find they end up loving the things you choose the most. Most likely they will have selected things outside the list but that’s ok, you can talk them through it in the change room. If your child is that way inclined they will have fun checking everything off the list! Just make sure that you don’t have too many items in their pop colours as this is where you’ll have trouble matching everything back (and end up buying more in order to do so). I usually choose 1 pop colour item in each category, i.e. long sleeve tops, pants, outerwear and shoes. Which brings me to the topic of patterns!! Patterns can drive any parent crazy as there are a lot in the market place, particularly for girls. Here are a few points to adhere to when buying patterns:

- Stick to the colour palette as much as possible, chances are there will be a few extra colours thrown into the mix and that’s fine. Patterns CAN be worn top to bottom, the key here is to make sure you have a LIKE colour in both the top and the bottom. E.g. navy pants with black stars will match a grey and black dress or a white t-shirt with a navy, pink and silver print. The shoes have so many colours that they tie in as well without clashing.

- Don’t buy too many here either, keep to one in each category i.e. long sleeve tops, pants, outerwear.


6. Break the rule for one item, if you need.

In order to minimise tears and boost your child’s confidence make sure you let them choose their most favourite item they have tried on. It will most likely NOT be on the list (if it is, bonus!) and NOT be practical but hey, they have done all the hard work so why not give them a boost with the piece they most adore. For my daughter it was a fluffy short-sleeved bolero (which she has managed to match into most outfits!).


THE OUTCOME: should be a small capsule wardrobe where the majority of items will match back together (possibly excluding the pop colours if worn head to toe!). The idea is that your child will be able to choose for themselves what they wear every day and they will match, increasing their independence and self-esteem. Sometimes they’ll still get it a little wrong, but if you can resist tweaking their outfit you’ll be helping them along the path to a healthy relationship with their bodies and clothes!


5/4/17, 9:32 PM

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I decided I needed to see a stylist because I’d had 3 babies in 5 years, my body shape had changed and I was stuck in a rut buying baggy unflattering clothes in black because I believed I needed to hide my tummy and that black was slimming.

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Sally - Part-time professional, mother of 3