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Kids’ clothing checklist: The 7 items every kid should have

Your child’s wardrobe will be constantly changing from their infant stage until they’re in their teens. Unexpected growth spurts, rough play, and set-in stains can also cause you to give away or discard clothing more than usual. Whether you practice minimalism or not, whether you believe in all the reasons why kids need fewer clothes, there are some children’s clothing essentials that should be in all their wardrobes. So start off with our kids’ clothing checklist here.

Group of kids running in a park with a dad
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An indestructible pair of sneakers

Once your baby is old enough to walk, it will be go, go, go every chance they get. So whether it’s dashing across the concrete sidewalk or climbing up dirt hills, one thing that endures a lot of wear and tear is their pair of shoes.
Consider thick-soled rubber skater shoes that will last no matter how much they run, stomp, and drag. Running shoes are also a great idea because they’re lightweight, breathable, and durable.

Reinforced-knee jeans

Similarly, your kids’ jeans will be used heavily. Save your kids’ jeans and their knees from damage by getting them reinforced-knee jeans. The insides of the knees have an extra layer of fabric to prevent tears.
Some big brands and companies actually offer lifetime or limited-time warranties for children’s denim. If they rip or tear, bring them in and they will replace the damaged pair. For starters, Cat & Jack offers a one-year warranty while Lands’ End offers a lifetime warranty for its products.

A go-to sweater or hoodie

Whatever climate you live in, you will most likely need a hoodie for at least one season. Get your child a go-to hoodie they can grab before running out the door so they’ll always have something to keep them warm if needed. Consider stashing one in the car or in their bag at all times.

Boy in hoodie crossing small bridge
Onfokus/Getty Images

Zip-up jackets offer more versatility since kids can unzip them if they get a little too warm, but crew neck hoodies are slightly more comfortable and are easier to put on. At the end of the day, it depends on your child’s personal preference.

Climate-appropriate shoes

This one might be region-specific but is still important. In places where it snows, snow boots are essential. These insulated, waterproof shoe coverings protect your little one from the cold and from slippery surfaces.

Another shoe you might purchase is a rain boot. If you know your child is the type to jump into a puddle when they’re at school, don’t wait — invest in a pair of rain boots! They’re easy to clean, easy to put on, and last a long time.

A pack of long sleeved and short sleeved shirts

For everyday use, purchase one pack of long sleeve shirts and another pack of short sleeve shirts. This will make outfit choices so much easier in the morning (or at night if you or your child like to plan early), and will reduce the amount of laundry you do each week. Trust us!

One formal outfit

For more special occasions, invest in a fancy outfit your child can rock to any wedding, school event, concert, or formal dinner. It makes sense to hold back on too many formal outfits because your child will outgrow them in no time, and more often than not, they don’t care what they’re wearing, anyway.

A comfy set of pajamas

Lastly, it’s nice to have a comfortable set of pajamas for nights and for lounging around on the weekends. If you do laundry daily, you can get away with a single pair that you wash in the morning. Otherwise, go for a few sets so your child can have something to wear between laundry days. Choose breathable fabrics like cotton and linen, as thicker fabrics like fleece and wool can be too stuffy, especially during warmer months.

Young girl in pajamas om floor drawing
Blend Images - Inti St Clair/Getty Images

Now that you have a good idea of a kids’ clothing checklist, it’s time to hit the shops. On top of must-haves like underwear, socks, and weather-appropriate accessories, these seven items will help complete your child’s wardrobe. Remember to opt for lasting fabrics and materials to ensure a long service life. Luckily, our list is full of durable, valuable items that serve a purpose rather than clutter up your closet.

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