The reality of having four, ever-growing little people in my house is that I need to be creative with wardrobes, so that a ton of money isn’t “wasted” on a bunch of clothes that each child wears only twice. Hand-me-downs from my older two are fantastic, but because they all grow at very different rates, and have different birthdays, there are sometimes fit and seasonal issues. And then there are all those cute, weekly Sunday dresses – worn once or twice, and then boom! Another season changes, and I mentally calculate that the adorable summer dress that was worn only twice will be too small when spring rolls around…. it’s a sad feeling! But I’ve gotten smart over the years, and have some solutions for each of these issues. My solutions basically boil down to three things:
1. Layering (classic pieces)
2. Fabric Choice (twill – sturdy cotton)
3. Color Choices (choose a few base colors to anchor the wardrobe)
Let’s start with layering. When it comes to boys, it’s suuuuuper easy: all you need are a pair of khaki pants, khaki shorts, several jeans, a few basic layering tees, and a great, neutral cardigan (I like navy) to stretch a spring/summer shirt or tee, to fall/winter. It’s almost not worth mentioning, boys are so easy. And we’re done.
Girls on the other hand….. There is just so much to a girl’s wardrobe, it can hurt your brain. When layering my girls’ wardrobes, I tend to stick with these classic pieces:
1. A white, short-sleeved, collared, button-down blouse
2. Cardigans in a few solid colors (like: ivory, black, hot pink), and a few bright patterned ones (stripes, dots, flowers).
3. Plain skinny jeans in different washes (no embroidery, or cute appliqués that you are obligated to match)
4. Ivory cable knit tights (a few pairs)
5. Black mary-janes you can dress up or down
For me, these classic layering pieces, coupled with smart fabric and color choices, allows my girls to wear almost any garment in their closet year-round.
2) Fabric Choice
Now, let’s talk fabric choice for one second – mainly for dresses, tops, and skirts. I always try to buy a sturdy cotton – twill is great! It’s breathable to wear in warm/hot weather, but translates well in cold weather when layered appropriately. Tip: I try to buy sleeveless dresses and tops, which are great for summer, and then I just add a blouse and/or cardi for fall (+coat + cable-knit tights for winter).
3) Color Choices
If you shop and choose a few base colors for the majority of your girl’s wardrobe, it makes mixing and matching that much easier, and can stretch her wardrobe that much farther! It can literally be any color combo you want, but for me, I’ve found that black and white are great base colors, and hot pink is the easiest color to coordinate. Other colors I like to fuse, are lime green, and bits of oranges and blues (I like fun, bright colors).
This is just an example, but there are so many variations you can make with this little clothing formula. You could pair the blouse + cardi with a pair of skinny jeans, or you could pair a different colored cardi, and go in an entirely different color and pattern route. You could use the same example above for a twill, sleeveless top: in summer, pair with shorts + sandals, in fall, pair with jeans + cardi + maryjanes (or tennies). Throw in a coordinating tee (any type of tee that has bits or lots of the base colors you’ve chosen, and then you can have fun introducing other pops of additional colors for fun), and go crazy with more variations of using your little girl’s closet staples.
These are just some things that have worked for me over the years. I hope this helps simplify things a bit for you, at the very least! Above all, have fun with it – they’re only young once. ;)