Monday, 2 October 2017

Creating A Minimal Wardrobe For Children.

I started the task of downsizing the children's wardrobes earlier in the year. This isn't something that you can just do over a weekend and is very much about changing shopping habbits more than anything else. It is a process, just like anything, filtering out the things that arn't needed but not being wasteful. We do not waste and that is quite an important thing to point out at the beginning. I would happily say I buy my children too many clothes but over the last year I started to really take into consideration the waste that comes with that. One off outfits: that's a good place to start. Everything is just too cute right? You can instantly imagine your child in that absolutely perfect outfit. so you buy it. It is perfect the first time they wear it, Then the second time. But then you want to switch it up, but you don't have anything that goes with it so you go out and buy more items. Are they really needed or does it just begin to add to the sea of items you already have that are sat unworn because of this most recent purchase? Also, do you find that really you start repeating yourself? I used to, all the time, especially with Etta. Girls are really different to boys only because I could buy so much more for Etta than Raph and she has a lot more items that were standalone outfits which I couldn't interchange easily. Basically, I stopped. I stopped buying just loads of random items and I started really sourcing a certain look I wanted to create for both children.
Now this sounds ridiculous. A 'look' for children? But it's not as clinical as that. I am not making the perfect instagram wardrobe, I am just doing what I like and in turn know the kids will like. 

So I have sifted out small clothes, In fact for Etta this summer she mainly wore last summers dress and tops with just a few new shorts and blouses which I bought with a thought to use the tops into the autumn/winter. That is key, I have started only buying things I know can work across seasons. Whether that is t-shirts you can layer or dresses that can be worn with or without tops underneath. The only thing that is seasonal now in the kids' wardrobes is shorts. They are just a necessity for summer and can't be worn across seasons. Like I said, I have sifted out things by not replacing them, so I have had the kids wearing stuff out and now we have passed it on as hand me downs to family or to the charity shop. 
The point of this was to clean out, get rid of the single items {but wear them out first} and get the kids' clothing collection streamlined. If you want to get to the point I am at now, it will take you a while. If you don't care about waste, you can start when you want but I haven't just thrown out good clothes. We have worn them and this is now the point where I have been able to culminate my clever buying with a few new pieces to create their minimal wardrobe.

To create the minimal wardrobe you need to choose a theme. I have always loved Raph in blue. He suits skinny jeans, and I love layering tees and shirts together. This builds his wardrobe. Tops; short and long sleeved, shirts and jeans. Obviously as a layer you need jumpers and Raph's are now all sweatshirt style. Colour combinations vary but everything is either red, blue or mustard yellow. There are a few rogues, like army green and caramel but that is because they both match well to the other colours. That's it. He has one pair of black jeans and two blue pairs, some shirts, some sports wear as he has additional clubs and then some blazers and formal wear from weddings, etc. that would fit him still if the occasion came up so I have kept them. Other than that, that is now it. And his actual wardrobe is built up of cotton tops, shirts, jeans and sweatshirts.

{Raph's current collection}

Etta is harder. But in a way, she doesn't wear jeans often so she has dresses and skirts which take up most of her space. For a few years now I started to only buy her specific styles. Mostly denim dresses, striped or pink tops, and a range of caramel/pink coloured jumpers. This was because I like the combination and wearing them everyday, well, denim stained the least so it just became a popular choice for me. Also, I love how denim looks with pink so that built up a lot of her choices. Last summer I was conscious I was wanting to streamline so I brought a few dresses from Zara in different checks and I actually brought them a size bigger which was fine then, and great now to just wear with leggings. I can't believe they still fit her but knowing I had them has stopped me buying anything like them this past summer and they will be great into the autumn. It was just having it at the forefront of my mind that has helped me with that. When it comes to dresses Etta has mostly denim dungaree type ones. She then has 3 different striped tops and a few pink and cream ones. It means that all the styles can just cross over with each other. Her skirts have always been tutu style, and nothing changes. She has one she had last year that still fits and I got two new ones which will give here plenty of cute looks again with all her striped or pink tops. I have a few stand alone dresses but I have picked colours that go with her jumper selection so that over the winter they can all be mixed up. One thing for girls I find important is tights. Etta pretty much lives in grey tights and now she is at school she will probably end up wearing them every day. I love grey and navy tights, and only now buy them as they go with all her colour combinations. 
Another thing I wanted to mention is about buying items that don't date. Just like you would do as an adult, find the cuts that are classic. The kids both have items from last winter which they will be wearing again as they are still in great condition and they go with everything I have recently bought. This is great and means that I am not wasting as much money on replacing everything. They have grown, but some things they (Etta especially) can still pull off!

{Etta's current collection}

Gosh there is so much to say. I think if I had to give you advice it would be:
* Choose a colour theme.
* Buy seasonally and try to avoid doing it through the season. Time passes quickly and things won't get worn.
* Don't buy repetitive items. Especially if the kids are at school, you will have time to wash them between wears. Etta had quite a few striped tops but was wearing them most days. now she is at school that will be one thing I will be able to minimise!
* Only buy items that you can match to at least 5 other items the chld already owns. 
* This isnt for everyone, enjoy what aspects you can of it!

What I am finding is that now they are both at school I need to minimise more. They don't need all the tops mainly; you end up with a collection that does get unworn and I totally recognise that really, our kids' wardrobes are still so full, it's still a process that I need to perfect but between now I am conscious the only thing Etta needs is a coat and nothing else and I really want to stand by that and not purchase anything else for either child between now and the new year. Is it possible? Let's see.

I also just wanted to say that the clothes I have included in this are all ones I have purchased. Items the kids are gifted aren't included as I obviously don't have as much of a say on them when brands ask me to share the items. I do genuinely love these items and keep them as extras but inevitably usually hand them on hardly worn to people who need them more than me. I class that as work and wanted to keep it separate from things I spend my money on.

Hope this helps you think about decreasing the size of your child's wardrobe and get the best out of the clothes you have before buying more and forgetting about them!



  1. Hi Emily, I SO agree with you. Your last post regarding this subject was the push in the right direction that I needed. The waste that I have always had with the kids clothes at the end of the season has always been so wasteful. Mine like your kids are in a uniform during the week so there is not a huge need for "street clothes" especially when the weekends are usually taken up with lounging at home or going to the pool or soccer games. I have taken your advice and so far have 5 outfits for each for the fall/winter season not including sweats, lounge wear and sweaters. I guess it's really 6 outfits if I included their Christmas church outfits. I'm going to really try to not over shop this season. Thanks for the advice!!!

  2. Hi again! Update-- After 2 boxes arrived yesterday (I had totally forgotten about them) I'm up to 9 outfits each. So I think I'm still going in the right direction and improving, but I'm not being as "good" as I previously mentioned. Ha!!


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