Zero Waste Living for you and your family

How to Build a Winter Capsule Wardrobe for Kids

How to Build a Winter Capsule Wardrobe for Kids

Have you heard of Project 333? What about a capsule wardrobe?

Minimalism has become trendy and thankfully it is one trend I can get on board with! Our family tends not to engage in trendy, new and popular "things". Fads come and go and as a result so do the products related to the fads, which in our eyes is wasteful and harmful to the planet. Fidget spinners? None in our home! Latest fashion style? Not happening here. 

While it may sound over top to some, our family believes in supporting businesses, brands and products that are built to last through the years. What does that mean? That means we aren't jumping on bandwagons all that often!

Luckily the minimalism bandwagon is one that is at the centre of our core values - use less, waste less. 

Project 333 and capsule wardrobes are a way of organizing your wardrobe so that it is seasonal and includes a small amount of pieces. The number is less important in our family (in Project 333 they suggest 33 pieces) but the concept is vital to moving forward in a hugely harmful industry! The fashion industry is a huge drain on our system. Did you know that it takes more than 700 gallons of water to produce a single cotton t-shirt? Learn more about the impacts of the fashion industry by checking out "Fast Fashion a burden on our planet".

In the past we have talked about ways to Minimize the Clothes your Kids Own and How to Choose Brands and Styles of Clothing that Will Last. Today we are going to talk about how to implement those concepts and create a capsule wardrobe for winter!

Key features of a capsule wardrobe for kids are:

- Gender neutral colors

- Unbranded, plain pieces

- Long term wearability (how many seasons can you get out of it?)

- Clothes that can be played in. Forget the fashion pieces for kids and stick with clothes they can get dirty in and play in!


Here are some suggestions for keeping a capsule wardrobe simple along with some brand recommendations:

2 Sweatshirts: Warm, well made sweaters will get you through a season. Buy a size larger to save for next year and roll up the sleeves!

1-2 Hoodies: Hoodies are ideal for layering, especially in the winter. 

4 Long Sleeve Shirts: Purchasing non branded, plain gender neutral colors is your best bet for building a capsule wardrobe since they will all match nicely and can be used for multiple children.

3 Short Sleeve Shirts: For layering under sweaters and hoodies on cool days. My children need layers especially at school. They may be cool at one moment and the next they are running around playing and sweating. 

5 Pairs of Pants/Leggings: Reinforced knees are key here, especially for active kids. While I typically don't prefer corporate brands, I have had great success with Land's End Iron Knee Pants and have yet to find an alternative. Otherwise, we prefer a cotton, bamboo or organic cotton pant in simple prints or plain colors. I tend to steer my younger children away from jeans since it can be hard to play well in tight fitting clothes. Comfy, cozy and flexible clothes are ideal for playing in.

2 Dresses/Skirts (for girls, OR 1 extra Pant for boys): Long sleeve dresses or jumpers are ideal here. 

6-8 Pairs of Underwear

4-6 Pairs of Socks: Merino wool or wool socks are ideal since they will keep toes warm and will also wick moisture! FYI Smart Wool offers free replacements within 3 years if they wear out. 

3 Pairs of Pyjamas: Cotton and organic cotton are best. Wee Woollies are merino wool under clothes that are breathable and will keep your little ones warm. Hatley also offers cotton pyjamas that are trim and breathable. 

1 Pair of Slippers: Padraig slippers are fantastic - made with wool, sheepskin and leather these slippers are built to last.

1-2 x Indoor Shoes for School/Daycare and/or Home: Depending on activities your child is involved in you will need at least one pair of indoor running shoes for daycare or school and one pair for your home. Choose brands that support your child's feet and are comfortable to wear while actively moving about. 

Outerwear for Winter

1 Snowsuit: For kids less than 6 I recommend a one piece snow suit. MEC and Patagonia both have quality, long lasting snow suits. 

1 Fleece or Lightweight Jacket or One Piece Suit: For vehicle use since "puffy" jackets are unsafe when children are restrained in car seats/boosters (Patagonia and MEC). 

2 x Winter Hats: A wool balaclava is handy as it keeps the neck warm as well, along with a second wool hat. Wool hats will keep your child's head warm while still allowing breathability through play

2 x Mitts: Warm Mittens (like these Stonz ones). Babies can wear woollen mittens to keep their fingers dry and warm!

1 x Boots: Babies will love our Stonz Boots that can easily be put over top of liners or Padraig Slippers. We have had success for our older children with Bogs and Sorel boots. We appreciate the multi season use of Bogs but at times our children have complained of cold feet. They also hold moisture more than two piece style boots like Sorel where the liners can be removed. 

Why are capsule wardrobes beneficial?

They will save you time and frustration in the morning when trying to choose clothing for yourself or your kids. With less options, people are able to make better and quicker choices! Plus you know as well as I do that we often wear the same outfit because we have preferences for certain pieces. Why have all the extra if they never get worn?

Is only one snow suit practical for winter with kids? What if it gets wet?

We have found that one snow suit has been enough with all 4 our kids! We have our snow suits in the evening over a register and they almost always are dry the next morning. If need be we throw them in the dryer on low heat for a few minutes. We wash dirty mitts, hats and snowsuits on weekends so they have longer to dry. Having two of everything for the rare times that you may need an extra is not necessary. The less you have the more ways you find to work with what you have. Be sure to put the boots and mitts over a register as well so they are dry in the morning! 

How do I get started?

Do an inventory (use a spreadsheet if you have to!) of what you currently own each season (either for yourself or your kids). Go through the clothes, save pieces that can still be used for the upcoming season and add in any additional pieces that you may require based on the above list. Don't just go out and start buying without knowing what you already have. This is a common mistake!

Where is the best place to shop for all my pieces?

Second hand shops or local small businesses. Second hand shops will have the majority of pieces you require. At times it can be challenging to find the exact pieces you may require; therefore, searching out small, local business is an eco friendly alternative. 

There are so many cute pieces everywhere, I just want to buy it all!

Yes of course there are! There are lot's of "things" out there that we can buy at any moment of our lives. Does that mean you should always buy what you want? Of course not! It will be hard to curb your shopping habit at first but both your wallet and the planet will thank you later for your choices. Think of all the activities, mini vacations, dinners out with friends or extra groceries you could have if you spend less on clothing!

1 Response

Kyla Wiesner
Kyla Wiesner

November 01, 2017

Thank you for this. His will help me guide my 3.5 yr olds wardrobe. Can you help or provide a link for a 6-12 month old ? We have a 10 month old as well. He has way way too many clothes.

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