With summer coming to a close soon and back to school on the horizon I’ve been thinking a lot about the tradition of back to school shopping. Sometimes it’s hard to think about creating a minimal closet for yourself, let alone a child. My older son has recently taken an interest in shopping for clothing so I devised an activity to do with him to help him define what he likes. Today I’m sharing that with you, along with a free downloadable back to school capsule worksheet. The worksheet will help you define what your child likes and their exact needs for a back to school capsule or even year-round wardrobe.
Dowload the Kids Capsule Wardrobe Worksheet here or click on the image above.
Back to School Capsule Wardrobe Kids Worksheet Notes
- Clothing favorites?
This section is to help you find out what your child’s favorite type of clothing is. It’s broken down into sections so you can make specific notes about each type. It may be easier to have them pick out examples of their favorites from their current closet to give you a better idea. You may be surprised with the results!
Does your child prefer plain t-shirts, v-necks, henley shirts, or ones with a collar? What sleeve length do they prefer? Fabrics that stretch or are more structured?
Ask about both pants and shorts here, does your child like bottoms that are easy to pull on or button? Ones that are tight or more loose? Pockets? Jeans? I learned that my older son loves flat-front chino shorts and jeans the best.
Shoes will be a little more seasonal, so feel free to ask both about summer and winter shoes. Does your child like a slip-on or more athletic style shoes? Since my son has to wear shoes that work for both P.E. and normal school classes, he prefers an athletic-style year-round for school and Teva Sandals in the summer.
While traditional accessories like hats and gloves are great, this section refers to clothing such as jackets and other items that don’t fit into the other 3 categories. My older son really likes lightweight down jackets to help keep him warm, but not too hot during our mild California winters.
- Favorite colors or prints?
This section is pretty straightforward. Ask your kids favorite color or print, then ask for 2 more to support it. Choose clothing in their favorite colors so they feel great wearing it. If they have a hard time describing a pattern, ask them to show you from their own closet or a catalog.
- Favorite accessories:
Does your child like to wear hats? Jewelry? What kind of backpack would they love? My sons usually carry the same backpack until it no longer functions, but they also love to pick out pencil cases and decorate their goodbyn lunchboxes too. I try to help them choose items that will last longer than a school year so they aren’t wasteful with their choices while still allowing them to feel free to have their own personality.
- Wardrobe function:
This is more of a parent question than a child one. What function does your child’s wardrobe need to serve? Are they active at school or do they participate in sports? They may need clothing that is more sporty than nice. Be honest with yourself about your child’s personality.
I know it can be so tempting to dress them in clothing that is adorable, but will it serve your child’s needs well?
- Wardrobe needs:
Now that you’ve identified both your child’s wants and wardrobe function, you can take some time to go through it and identify anything that is missing or doesn’t fit correctly. Write it down here so you know what to search for when you’re shopping. Ask for their input as far as any wishlist type items.
Dowload the Kids Capsule Worksheet here.
After my son and I answered some of these questions together we took some time to browse around online together at items that fit the bill. We chose some favorites together and added them to a secret Pinterest board so I can shop for them later or keep an idea of what he likes in mind.
Favorite Shops for Kids
How do you know when you have enough?
I don’t like to put hard numbers on capsule collections because each one will be unique to the person who wears it, but there are a few factors that can help you decide. If your child seems to be messy or isn’t able to wear clothing more than once, you might need to have a few more on hand. The climate where you live will be a factor as well.
I usually keep around 3 bottoms for my boys, as well as 7-10 tops to mix and match with them. Some items like swim shorts can be worn both as regular shorts or for swimming. Jeans can be worn multiple times before being washed. I always have enough undergarments on hand for each day of the week. One heavy jacket is enough for winter here, while they have multiple swim items since we are often at the pool everyday in the summer.
Ultimately the amount of clothing will vary per person, but keeping in mind function, uniqueness, ability to mix-and-match, and durability will help you to narrow it down.
Do you use a minimal closet for your kids? Have any tips to share?