Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Daughter's Minimalist Wardrobe

Over the weekend our weather changed and it began looking a little more like summer around here. I dug out the bin of summer clothes for my girls and quickly realized my oldest had grown significantly over the winter months.

For the first time in 6 years of parenting, I found myself in a new place. I needed to buy her some clothes. When she was only 6 months old, a friend generously gave me five 30 gallon garbage bags full of clothes (swimsuits, snowsuits, winter coats, summer clothes, winter clothes, pajamas - up through size 5). It was an amazing gift, and I quickly set about buying storage bins and organizing it all.

I also got into the habit of shopping end of season clearance sales and garage sales. When a new year rolled around and there was need of a bigger size, I simply got out the next bin and rummaged through.

Then I became a bit of a minimalist. I stopped buying ahead. You see, buying ahead frustrated me. I would buy here and there, not caring how interchangeable everything was. When I sorted through the next size I would find many "holes" to fill - which would send me on a mission to shop. It also resulted in closets full of clothes.

Last year I vowed to stop doing this. I even decided to stop buying clothes altogether for my girls, to see what would happen. But this weekend, I realized I actually needed to get my girl some bigger sizes. We had a couple new things already from Grandma, but not enough to get us through summer.

Yesterday we went shopping and we were able to create a wonderful, interchangeable, minimalist wardrobe for summer. It includes:
  • 5 pair shorts
  • 10 shirts
  • 5 nicer outfits (dresses, skirts)
  • 2 zip up sweatshirts (left over from spring)
  • 3 pair pants (left over from spring)
I love the simplicity of versatility of it. Now if only I could get my younger daughter to minimize her dress collection!


  1. I try to stick with several neutrals for pants, suits, skirts, capris and shorts then use several colors in tops in my colors. After summer and winter I go thru clothes and anything not worn that past season gets donated as it won't be worn next season. Coats, jackets and several suits, shoes (athletic and dress) are gone thru once a year if needed.

  2. I have had a similar experience with my two children. We were given many hand-me-downs and gifts when they were young. It has only been in the last year or so that I have had to buy them the bulk of their clothes. I tend to shop most at goodwill and garage sales which tempt me to buy more then they need. But I am trying to have a simple wardrobe for them and myself. -Beth

  3. This is a timely post for me. I have two girls ages 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. I've been saving the eldest's clothes for her baby sister but have decided there's no need to save every stitch of clothing! Now I mostly just keep the staples and fill in the rest with other hand-me-downs.

    I've also learned to skip sizes. My little one is wearing a 3T bathing suit this year... surprise, surprise, it fits pretty well. I have a feeling it'll fit again next year (sans diaper). :)

  4. also never know how different their tastes might be. From now on I will be saving very little to pass on from my oldest to my youngest. My youngest is very particular about what she will wear and almost always wears dresses and skirts - my oldest rarely wants to wear a dress or skirt!

    The skipping sizes thing is so true, too. I think I was hoping this would be the case for my oldest and is part of the reason I hadn't bought her summer clothes. But alas, she grew - outgrew everything we had for her!

  5. Hi, I'm new to your blog.
    I have found the same, that there are gaps in my daughters wardrobe, which results in me having to still go shopping to buy more.
    So what I have done the past season, now that she is eight, is that i do a quick look as to what she alreay has that still fits. Then I set a limit on tops, skirts, pants, jeans, shoes etc, and take her with me for 1 shopping trip for that season. She helps select, with the constraint that the tops have to go with the pants, skirts etc., and within the number stated.
    Eg 7 tops, 1 pair jeans, 1pair pants, 1 denim skirt, 1 other skirt, 3 dresses, 2 jackets, 1 pair boots, 2 pair shoes, 1 pair sports shoes, tracksuit.
    And because she has help to choose them, everything then gets worn well until she outgrows it.

  6. littlgreenvillage...

    I like your "setting limits" idea....I'll have to remember to implement this. I'll be doing a shopping trip for fall with my oldest. Thankfully she doesn't care too much what she wears, but I think she'd probably like to help choose her wardrobe. She seemed to have fun picking out her summer wardrobe. Thanks for commenting....

  7. I have stopped buying ahead, too, for the same reasons. My goal has been 6 shirts and then keep up with the laundry :) It's working so far!

  8. I find ten tops and five shorts a huge amount of stuff for one summer. What about 3 shorts 6 tops and 2 dresses?.I love the blog!