How to Create a Back-to-School Capsule Wardrobe for Toddlers

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

The last few weeks, I’ve been shopping the back-to-school sales building the perfect capsule wardrobe to get Scarlett through her first few months in preschool. (Trust me, I still can’t believe she’s starting school – even if it is just a few half-days a week! – and we’re now shopping back-to-school clothes at places like Carter’s when we used to be buying up ALL of the baby clothes there. Time flies!)

So what exactly is a capsule wardrobe?

If you haven’t jumped on the capsule wardrobe bandwagon, here’s why you just might want to:

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothes that typically doesn’t go out of style (think classic clothing), that pairs well (a.k.a., can be mixed-and-matched with a variety of different pieces from the “collection” creating all new wearable outfits.) Really, it’s just shopping for a handful of outfits that can be paired in many ways to make many outfits. As a parent, shopping for a back-to-school capsule wardrobe can be so beneficial – and most parents have been shopping some variation of this for ages. (I can remember my mom shopping this way for the four of us all throughout childhood.) Shopping with a capsule wardrobe in mind is a great way to save money on back-to-school shopping and to extend the life of the outfits you buy for your kids. The more wear your kids can get out of the pieces, the more value you’re getting.

How to Create a Back-to-School Capsule Wardrobe Collection for Toddlers (a.k.a., how to get the most bang for your buck when shopping for your kids this season!)

Toddler Girl Tops // Toddler Boy Tops // Toddler Girl Bottoms // Toddler Boy Bottoms // Toddler Girl Layers // Toddler Boy Layers // Toddler Girl Shoes + Accessories // Toddler Boy Shoes + Accessories

A few tips for shopping a back-to-school capsule wardrobe:

  1. Comfort. When shopping clothes that are really going to last, and get worn, comfort is key. You want your little one to reach for clothes again and again, and as they’re really learning to express themselves, often through clothes, the hope is to give them the pieces you know they’ll love and get plenty of wear out of.
  2. Wearability. I’m a big fan of dressing our little girl in clothes that are wearable; a.k.a., clothes she can play in. As much as I’d love to put her in a dress everyday, it’s just not practical. Tunics and leggings are a great alternative, for example. I’m also a big fan of leggings and jeggings because they’re easy to put on and pull off (great when we start potty-training) and they protect her little knees as she still stumbles and falls a bit. (The clumsy gene runs strong in my family!)
  3. Durability. Durability is also so important. There’s nothing sadder than washing a piece you love for the very first time, only to find it’s lost it’s color or shape in the wash. Carter’s is our go-to for truly durable kids clothes that our little one wears again and again.
  4. Layering. Think layering. Because back-to-school season marks the end of summer and soon-to-come fall, buying pieces that can easily be layered for a little added warmth is key. I also try to shop with fall in mind when picking patterns, colors, and textures. (i.e., I love eyelet, but it probably doesn’t make sense for the upcoming fall months.)
  5. Mix-and-Match. Shop both the boys and girls’ sections. I love all of the pullover sweaters and denim chambray shirts in the boys’ section for our little girl, particularly because they’re such classic pieces that can be paired with many outfits. Solid colors or subtle patterns, sturdy fabrics that will wash well, pieces that are comfortable and classic – those are the pieces to add to a good capsule wardrobe.
  6. Choosing the right shoes. There are so many cute baby and toddler shoes out there, but I try to stick to shoes that my little one can slide on and off with little help from me. I also tend to buy her one or two pairs at a time and let her really wear those out. Her feet seem to grow so fast, I’d hate to stock up on shoes only to find they don’t fit a couple of months later.
  7. Accessories. Socks and tights are another great way to add a little warmth to an outfit. For girls, pair tights with summer shorts and skirts that still fit your little ones as the temperatures start to drop in the fall.

How do you back-to-school shop? Are you a fan of creating a capsule wardrobe for your baby clothes and kids clothes?

Psst … You can find your closest Carter’s using the store locator.


1 comment

  1. Gma

    great advice! and super cute clothes!!

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