Minimalist Wardrobe for the School-Aged Boy

I’m always a little startled to see that capsule wardrobes haven’t spread much beyond the scope of adult women’s closets. This wardrobe solution is an extremely useful tool.

A capsule wardrobe has specific benefits for school-aged children:

  1. As tops and bottoms are bought with the collection in mind, any combination a kid comes up with won’t garner outfits of questionable taste. That is, it gives the child autonomy and a good chance for success each morning.
  2. Designing a wardrobe can reassure the parents that the child has enough clothing for the season. The planning stage also lets parents know where the gaps are which can lead to a smarter shopping list.
  3. In consciously designing a wardrobe, parents can become knowledgeable about what they’re looking for in a garment. For example, I learned that elastic waist bands (without any finicky parts) are an excellent feature for pants when it comes to small children.
  4. Culling the closet keeps kids from arriving at school wearing clothes that are too small or too damaged.

My son will be entering Kindergarten this fall and it falls to me to make sure he’ll have something to wear each morning. The following is a plan that will probably work until he becomes more interested in taking over his own closet or he develops his personal fashion sense.

Winter/Fall Capsule



Hanging: Backpack, snow pants, rain jacket, winter coat, sweater, 5 long-sleeved shirts, 5 short-sleeved shirts, 5 pairs of pants, baseball cap and winter hat; Floor: “Emergency/Accident” Kits, play clothes, PJs, winter boots, athletic shoes, “nicer” shoes, “nicer” socks and under wear, and knit gloves

I’ve included my elder son’s fall/winter 2017 capsule as a guideline only. Individual characteristics, such as climate, religion, family activities and laundry schedule will impact the make-up of another kid’s closet.


  • athletic shoes
  • winter boots
  • “nicer” shoes


  • backpack


  • sun hat / baseball cap
  • winter hat


  • Light weight rain jacket
  • Heavy weight winter coat

Snow Gear:

  • snow pants
  • snow gloves

School Clothes:

  • 2 sweaters/jumpers/hoodies
  • 5 long-sleeved shirts
  • 1-2 plain long-sleeved shirts (for layering with short-sleeves)
  • 5 short-sleeved shirts
  • 5 pairs of pants (with elastic, simple waist bands)
  • 5 pairs socks (at least)
  • 5 pairs underwear (at least)

Emergency Clothes:

  • For school:
    • 1 pair of pants
    • 1 t-shirt
    • 1 pair of underwear
    • 1 pair of socks
  • For diaper bag or car (when out and about):
    • 1 pair of pants
    • 1 t-shirt
    • 1 pair of underwear
    • 1 pair of socks


  • 4 sets of Pjs (minimum)
  • 3-7 pairs of socks
  • 3-7 pairs underwear
  • 3-7 pairs “play” pants
  • 3-7 pairs “play” shirts

I believe strongly in the concept of “play” clothes for younger children. The reason is that having clothes that they can really get messy in allows for more fun and less parental anxiety. I usually down grade school clothes that get damaged.

I don’t normally need to cull the number of play clothes my son owns. As he is still rapidly growing, I feel that he outgrows them too quickly for them to become too numerous.

I also don’t cull an item until I have found it’s replacement. For example, we will need to get my son a new pair of snow pants, but until we’ve gotten it, his old one remains in the closet (He could still be stuffed into it!).

If you have a school-aged kid, have you though about setting him or her up with a capsule wardrobe? What would be your essentials? How might you change it up for a girl? Let me know in the comments below and until next time,

Happy Parenting!

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