Over the years of buying clothing in seemingly for every size, in every color and for each gender, I've sort of come up with a game plan. I usually follow these tips for saving money on clothing but I've also come up with some other solutions that not only help the budget but also the laundry pile!
You can have too much. Try to stick to around 5 pairs of bottoms and 5-8 tops per child (per size & season). For my girls (and myself, actually) I like to have an assortment of colorful skirts along with tops in mostly solid colors that can coordinate with many of the bottoms.
Choose colors carefully. Avoid the urge to buy a piece of clothing simply because it is cute if it has colors or patterns in it that are hard to coordinate with. For us, adding an orange skirt to my daughter's wardrobe just wouldn't make sense. She doesn't own any tops with even a hue of orange in them!
Stick with a color scheme. It's helpful to pick a set of about 4 common colors that you plan to see in your child's wardrobe. Last fall, for my son, those colors were navy blue, deep red and grey. He had 2 pair of comfy pants in navy, 1 dress/casual pant in grey, 1 pair of jeans and 1 pair of khakis. He had about 4 long-sleeved shirts with some combination of these colors in them, 2 coordinating short-sleeved shirts and 1 grey sweatshirt. This worked out so well because he could mix and match creating many different outfits while still keeping my laundry pile under, err, control. I use that term loosely.
In part two I'll give you a closer look at the wardrobe we're working on for our 5-year-old daughter. Check back soon!