Toddler Capsule Wardrobe


We were graciously given lots of hand-me-down clothes from friends when we had Philomena. I needed to buy a few items here and there to fill in the gaps, but overall for the last three years she has been able to wear the clothes we were so generously gifted.

Size 4 has approached though, and what was left from friends either just wasn’t our style, or the outfits were uncomfortable for her. (The main outfits for this size from friends included turtleneck shirts and they really annoy Philomena and she won’t wear them.)

So for the first time I needed to do major shopping for this fall/winter’s clothing, and I was so excited to create a capsule wardrobe for Philomena from scratch.

I am pretty minimalistic with clothing because for one, Philomena just doesn’t care about accessories anyway, and she always just picks the same couple favorite outfits and wants to wear them all of the time. Add in the fact that we live on a budget and are in a two bedroom duplex with limited space, I just can’t deal with a gazillion outfits for the girls.

I accomplished her full wardrobe for around $55 by going to the children’s resales at local schools last weekend. (I talked all about these sales earlier this week in this post here).

Make The List

I made sure to think about what I would need until the next round of sales in the spring. Right now it’s still warm and humid here in Cleveland most days, so it’s hard to visualize needing winter gear or a Christmas dress. Really pausing for a moment to think about what needs are going to come up will save us from making more expensive last minute purchases later on.

I also took stock of what we had to make sure I didn’t over-buy from what we already owned. We already had:

  • The beautiful navy cardigan Philomena wore for my sister’s wedding this summer to wear with winter church dresses
  • Snow pants
  • Several sweaters
  • Two pairs of pajamas
  • Two winter church dresses
  • Snow boots
  • Two long-sleeve play dresses

The Haul

In order to keep things coordinating, I built the wardrobe using solid colors (mostly pink since that’s her favorite and she usually wants pink anyway), and then throwing in white, black, and denim for layering.

Not pictured was a baggie full of like-new socks for $1

A few of these items are Zelie’s: The coat and blue snow pants on the far left, the little gray mittens and one of the big pink gloves, and the two top right pairs of shoes.

We ended up purchasing:

Two play dresses. These can be worn with the black or white leggings underneath. These dresses were $2 each.


7 shirts for $1 to $2 each. I look for shirts that have durable details if there is some sort of decoration on it. I hate logos that fade really quickly in a couple washes.


3 skirts for $1 to $2 each that can be worn with any of the tops.


6 pairs of leggings for $1 to $2 each to layer under the dresses or skirts.


1 Christmas dress for $5 and two other winter church dresses for $5 and $3 each.


3 pairs of tights for $1 each for layering under the church dresses, or under her play skirts if she’d like.


1 winter coat for $5. I thought this one was so pretty it can easily work for Mass and for regular use.


Finally, she has a new hat ($1), gloves ($0.50), church shoes ($2), and play shoes ($1). Like I mentioned above, she has a great pair of snow boots from her cousin for this winter already.


I am really pleased so far with the capsule wardrobe. I am sure I’ll see a gap here or there, or figure out a thing or two I’ll do differently in the spring when I buy those clothes. I love having a lot less clothes and yet everything coordinating enough to make plenty of outfits for her.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, plant, outdoor and nature
Modeling one of her favorite outfits from the capsule wardrobe!

Have you ever done a capsule wardrobe for your kids?

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