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Minimalist Newborn Capsule Wardrobe

How much does your baby really need when it comes time to buy clothes? Less is more, and having a minimalist capsule wardrobe for your newborn can help keep you from ending up with more than your baby will actually use.

a graphic showing a minimalist newborn capsule wardrobe

Shopping for a new baby, its hard to know where to stop. Everything is just so sweet. And oh those teeny tiny things are just so fun to hoard! Babies poop and spit up a lot, so they need multiples of everything, right? But how much is too much? Ask Google, and you’ll see lists of baby “necessities”.

The list is long, and your head starts to spin when you think about how you’re going to afford to clothe this little human for the next 20 years!

Spoiler: Those lists are highly influenced by retailers who want you to think you need all the things, when really, half of those things will end up in a garage sale a few years down the road.

Not all babies have the same needs, so we want to be prepared for sure, but not to the point of buying too many unnecessary things.

Here’s my checklist of minimalist newborn gear essentials.

As a mom of 7, I’ve learned a thing or two with each baby. I’ve realized that when it comes to newborn clothes, less is more. Having a few comfy, quality outfits is much better than a whole dresser full of scratchy, layers of separates your baby will probably never use.

With my last few newborn babies, I’ve stuck to a minimalist capsule wardrobe and it has been so much easier in a lot of ways!

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing items that work well together, and when layered different ways can create different looks and outfits. It is usually made up of a limited number of basic pieces with classic colors and patterns.

So how does this work with newborn clothing since they are notorious for messing out of multiple outfits a day? Its the same general idea. Choosing function and quality over quantity. Being intentional and really thinking before purchasing anything for your baby.

read more about how to create a capsule wardrobe for your kids

Questions to ask yourself before buying for baby:

  • Is it comfortable? – They’re only newborns for a very short time. Newborns should be comfy and cozy with as few straps and snaps as possible. They’ll be in overalls and jeans soon! For now, let them live in PJs.
  • How long will my baby fit it? – Consider sizing up if your baby is probably going to be big or chunk out quickly. My babies are almost 9 pounds and gain weight like champs, so I buy one or two newborn size outfits for the hospital and the rest in 0-3 month size. They fit a bit big for a few weeks but before long at all, they’re out of newborn clothes altogether!
  • Is it the right size and season for my baby? Shopping second hand or on the clearance racks can be dangerous if you aren’t thinking about season and size with everything you pick up. Just because its 50 cents and absolutely adorable, doesn’t mean its going to fit your baby at the right time of year.
  • How many other outfits will this item match? That purple polka dot hat is cute, but will probably only match one outfit. Its better to choose the cream or white one that will go with everything.
  • Is it practical? How many snaps do you want to undo and do back up when you change a diaper during the night? Socks never stay on those newborn feet! Looking for footed outfits is a smart choice.
  • Do we actually need it?? Set yourself a limit of how many outfits you can have for your newborn and stick with it.

the benefits of having a minimalist capsule wardrobe for your newborn

  • Less laundry to wash. Having less clothes to wash and dry means your baby has less “back up” clothes, so it kind of forces you to stay up on laundry.
  • Less time spent keeping track of clothing. Sorting it, storing it and figuring out what to do with it when baby has outgrown the newborn sizes.
  • Less space taken up in your home. The less clothing you own, the less room needed. Fewer bins in the basement and less crowded closets!
  • The less clothes you allow yourself to buy for your kids, the better for your budget.
  • Hand me downs are much easier to keep track of.
  • You can afford to buy better quality clothing that will last through more than one newborn.

Tips for Making a Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe for your newborn baby:

One Piece Outfits

Buying one piece outfits means, you need half the amount of clothing items as you would if you bought separates. Tops and bottoms need to be matched making laundry more work. And maybe its just my babies, but their bellies always stick out under the shirts! One-piece outfits usually cost less too!

a light blue neutral baby sleeper

Living in PJs

Babies should be comfortable always. And the most comfy type of clothing are pajamas! Newborn babies nap half the day so it just makes sense to let them live in pajamas. Buying clothes for your baby that work for pajamas and are cute enough for day time clothes is the best way to save yourself time and energy.

Wait on shoes

I know, I know, teeny tiny shoes are as cute as can be, but your baby will have the rest of his or her life to be required to wear shoes. Let your baby stretch those little feet and stay as comfortable as possible for the first few months of life.

Skip Socks

Baby socks never stay on! Sticking to footie sleepers is so much more practical.

Hats and Hairbows

When buying accessories, try and picture them with outfits your baby has already. Will this bow match 4 or 5 outfits in her wardrobe? Or only one?

How many Clothes/Outfits does a newborn need?

Sleepers -8-10 sleepers/one piece outfits (for a Summer newborn, 5 sleepers and 5 short sleeve rompers)

Onesies – 4-6 onesies to go under sleepers for Winter newborns

Hats – 2-3 neutral colored hats (plus one thick ones for Winter babies)

Outerwear – 2 cardigans or jackets. For Winter babies, a thick coat in size 3 months for room to grow.

Not all babies are the same, but from my experience with my own 6 newborns, babies can go through between 10 and 12 outfits every few days.

This is the minimalist capsule wardrobe list I’m using for my 7th newborn to make sure we have enough, but not too much!

How to Start a Newborn Capsule Wardrobe When This Isn’t Your First Baby

If this isn’t your first pregnancy and you already have plenty of newborn clothes, can you start a capsule wardrobe? Of course!

The first step is to go through what you already have and make a pile of items that work in a capsule wardrobe (footie PJs, one-piece rompers etc.). See where you stand. Do you have enough to make 8-10 one piece outfits? 4-6 onesies? A few neutral hats?

If you do, consider donating the rest of the items you have that your baby won’t need. I promise you won’t miss them when you see how much easier a capsule wardrobe is to maintain!

If you don’t have enough, its always fun to buy a couple of new outfits for each new baby. Just look for things that are practical and good quality. Things you absolutely love.

My Favorite Newborn Clothing one piece outfits:

Baby boy newborn capsule wardrobe ideas:

a graphic showing a minimalist newborn capsule wardrobe for boys

One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven // Eight // Nine // Ten // Eleven // Twelve

Baby girl newborn capsule wardrobe ideas:

One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven // Eight // Nine // Ten // Eleven // Twelve

If you find it hard to imagine only having a limited number of outfits for your baby, just remember, babies grow so fast! Before you know it, you will need to buy a whole new wardrobe for your little one!

But if this doesn’t sound like something you are interested in, just know that having a minimalist lifestyle isn’t for everyone. There’s no right or wrong amount to buy for your baby! Do what feels right for your family.


If you found this minimalist newborn capsule wardrobe post helpful, I think you might enjoy these other posts on the blog!

I hope you found this post helpful in knowing what to buy for your newborn’s capsule wardrobe. Would you add anything to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Hi! I love the idea of a minimalist wardrobe. I have not “gotten there” yet but working on it. A question I have is, how do you handle (clothing/accessory) gifts or donations that do not fit (wrong color/style or even you already have too many of said items) in your minimalist wardrobe?

    1. Hi Sarah! If I have enough for my baby in the size, I’ll donate, gift or consign what we don’t need. Each baby, I like to be able to buy a couple new things to make it more special having a new baby so I don’t hold onto extras in case something gets ruined.
      I hope that answers your question! I have a section in this post https://athomeontheprairie.com/kids-capsule-wardrobe-checklist/ that talks about how to deal with gifted clothing.

  2. After 3 children and 3 grandchildren, I’ve learned many lessons concerning wardrobes for babies. I always buy the layette sets. It’s tradition. It’s been 6 years since my daughter had a baby; therefore, she needs everything. The baby will be a winter baby. I haven’t bought clothes for a winter baby in 37 years. We live in the Northeast. It goes from freezing back to moderate weather throughout the winter.

    We do not buy newborn. Many brands 0-3 months clothing start at 8 pounds, and some 7. There are some newborn that go up to 9 pounds. I have bought all organic clothing. My grandchildren all have mild to moderate eczema. Here was my minimalist list. This is a boy. My experience is that boys wet their clothing more than girls. My daughter has 2 older children to get to school, sports, clubs. All are in 0-3 months except 2 pieces.

    4 long sleeve white onesies
    4 short sleeve white onesies
    Hospital set. Goumi kids Many Moons gown, swaddle, etc.
    Bonsei baby gown (newborn) and 2 one piece footed sleepers (1 newborn) with foldover mitts. This brand promotes skin to skin contact. It is designed to open without taking clothes off.
    3 footed and mitted bamboo sleepers.
    2 fleece sleepers.
    4 swaddle blankets
    2 receiving blankets
    2 stroller/heavier blankets
    Miracle Swaddle
    3 bamboo pants and 3 bamboo kimono style onesie shirts.
    2 sweater sets with hats from GAP organic section.
    2 sleep sacks size small.

  3. Thank you so much for this list and advise. As a 3rd pregnancy I agree that keeping it simple and minimalistic really helps to lower the parenting stress. We don’t need all the extra fluff!

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