Kids Capsule Wardrobe - Summer Essentials


With summer just around the corner, many of us are considering whether our children have a basic functioning wardrobe for the warmer months, or perhaps for a holiday in the sun.

This year, I've found myself having to buy a complete capsule wardrobe for two of my children as they've outgrown all of their previously purchased summer clothes! In an effort to ensure they can be adequately dressed on a minimal budget, I set about writing down the essential items they would need for the summer, which we can always add to later as necessity or finance see fit.

Here are my suggestions for capsule summer wardrobe items for both girls and boys, which should be suitable for children aged 2-12.

Girls Summer Capsule Wardrobe

  • 3 basic cotton T-shirts
  • 2 pairs shorts (one to be denim)
  • 1 (slightly longer) pretty top
  • 1 pair neutral colour leggings (or denim effect jeggings)
  • 1 pair 3/4 length lightweight trousers
  • 1 pretty cotton summer dress
  • 1 cardigan
  • 1 pair of canvas shoes
  • 1 pair of (substantial) sandals

Boys Summer Capsule Wardrobe

  • 3 basic cotton T-shirts
  • 1 cotton polo shirt
  • 2 pairs shorts
  • 2 pairs 3/4 trousers
  • 1 short-sleeved cotton shirt
  • 1 pair chinos
  • 1 lightweight jacket
  • 2 pairs of canvas shoes (one slip-on, the other with fastenings)

With these selections, we've pretty much got every occasion covered, from playing on the beach to dressing smartly for a wedding. We're going for clothes in a rather limited palette, ensuring all items can be mixed and matched and layered on cooler days (leggings worn under dress; shirt worn over T-shirt, etc).

Of course, you may need to swap out some of the suggestions to suit the tastes and needs of your own children (some girls prefer leggings or skirts to shorts, for example), or add a few more essential items such as swimming costumes, hats and flip-flops. Generally speaking though, the number and type of clothing (tops, trousers, etc) should be sufficient for wear the whole summer through - provided you're able to launder frequently!

Where to buy a children's capsule wardrobe

Even on a tight budget, you should try to find the best quality items you can when building a capsule wardrobe for your child. While Primark may be a good choice to purchase holiday clothes, you shouldn't expect them to look so good after a few runs through the washing machine!

George at Asda do a wonderful selection of children's clothes with a 100 day guarantee which speaks volumes about the quality of the garments on offer. With a "high street" budget, opt for Gap or Marks and Spencer whose cotton T-shirts are of excellent quality. I also love Monsoon (particularly for their adorable selection of clothes for girls) and the quirky boys shirts available at Next.

What would you recommend?

Which shops would you most recommend for those building a capsule wardrobe for their children? Have I missed any important garments on the lists? Please feel free to elaborate on my suggestions by leaving your comments below.

Photo credit: Pink Sherbert Photography, via Flickr