baby capsule wardrobe

IMG_5239about a year ago, i wrote a post about creating a capsule wardrobe for myself. even though neither pierre nor i own a lot of clothes (limited as we are by space), i still owned way more than i actually wore and at least a dozen aspirational items — pieces i was hanging onto on the off-chance i would wake up one day and be the type of person who wore fabulous, too-small grey italian leather bootie heels (picked up for $40 at a seattle thrift store).

figuring out how many items of clothing i really needed and deciding on a colour palette made it super easy to toss about two garbage bags worth of clothing (and by toss i mean take to a clothing swap), leaving me with a smaller number of things i really liked and that all went together. of course, four days after this big closet edit i went and got myself pregnant and these carefully selected pieces of clothing did not fit for very long. (eight pounds still to lose and i’m hoping all of this stuff fits again by summer!)

i didn’t buy too much maternity clothing — i wasn’t willing to spend the money on really nice stuff since i’m only having one child and the cheap stuff didn’t really inspire a shopping spree — but i didn’t exert the same willpower when purchasing newborn clothing for my little girl. early on in my pregnancy, i consulted many “minimalist” baby shopping lists, which eschewed the diaper wipe warmer, exersaucer, change table, etc. by adhering to a short list, we  managed to fit all our baby’s things into a 54 square foot nursery and so far we haven’t experienced overflow into other areas of the house. most of the minimalist shopping lists included clothing as a category and suggested you might need about 12 sleepers and a few “dress-up” outfits for each age (e.g., newborn, 0–3 months, etc.). i really should have heeded this advice as closely as i heeded the advice about the diaper wipe warmer, because, as it turns out, 12 sleepers and a few dress-up outfits really is all you need. but children’s clothing can be so cheap, and it’s cute, and so tiny… it really doesn’t take up any space. in the early days of pregnancy i just wanted to shop for our tiny human and tiny clothing was an easy, inexpensive fix.

i know better (i really, really know better), but, between my own shopping and all the gifts people brought once frankie rose was born, i ended up with over 100 pieces of clothing for my newborn — onesies, sleepers, pants, sweaters, hats (so many hats), tops, sleep sacs, socks, shoes, etc. most of which she promptly grew out of in the first three weeks. now, a lot of my personal purchases had been second-hand (all the souvenirs from our trip to copenhagen were thrifted pieces of baby clothing…that, and a cookbook that contains oatmeal recipes only), but, money aside, it still felt so wasteful. too many clothes meant extra laundry, extra folding (and refolding), then the process of packing it all up, taking it to the consignment store, and eventually getting rid of it all. (one of the many pluses of only having one child means not having to store baby clothes.)

so, for the next age ranges (0–3 months, 3–6 months, etc.) i wanted to experiment with creating a baby capsule wardrobe. (i googled it and it’s a thing, so there.) people recommend about 50 clothing items for a baby and as few as 10 clothing items for a toddler, but frankie rose does not spit up very often and rarely has diaper blow-outs, so i felt about 30 items was the right amount for her:

  • 10 tops (onesies, shirts)
  • 6 bottoms (pants, shorts, skirts, fancy diaper covers)
  • 2 sleepers
  • 4 dresses
  • 2 sweaters
  • 2 hats
  • 2 sleep sacs/nightgowns
  • 2 miscellaneous seasonal items (bathing suit, snow suit, etc.)

based on this list, i had way, way too much clothing for the first year already (and she’s only 7 weeks old!). somehow she already owned 22 onesies for 6–12 months? so, like i did with my own clothing, i just started editing for the things i liked best and a colour palette emerged quickly. surprise, surprise, the pieces that remained were all pale pink, white, grey, and denim. (so, yes, once my regular clothes fit again, we’ll be all match-y.)


one of the most important things about a capsule wardrobe is you have to buy quality — clothing has to be able to withstand a lot of wearing and washing. frankie rose is still growing quickly so i’m reluctant to spend $30 on a onesie, but that’s where thrifting is really handy. i’m letting other mamas spend $30 on onesies their kids will wear three times and then i’m picking them up for $6. luckily for me, a beautiful children’s upcycled and vintage clothing store just opened at the end of my street… but i need to restrain myself from doing any shopping for at least six months or so.

what do you think?

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