white coathangers on pink bed

I got rid of 70% of my clothes and now I have a capsule wardrobe. Pray for me….

When it comes to capsule wardrobes, I wrote the book. No, I mean that literally: there is a book. I wrote it. No, you wouldn’t really think it of me, would you?

This is the woman who once bought three identical pink satin skirts, after all1, when most sensible people wouldn’t even have bought one.* The woman who used to take a separate bag just for shoes2 every time she travelled. The woman who has an entire room in her house just for clothes. People ask to come in and see it. One time my husband brought the Tesco delivery guy and his wife in for a tour of it. I really wish I was making this up. (Or that my husband would stop inviting random strangers into my home, because that would work for me, too.)

So, having a lot of clothes has kind of been my thing, really. (And also the Tesco delivery guy’s wife’s thing, as it turned out.)

But no more.

Because last weekend, I got rid of at least 70% of what was left from my last big closet clear-out (Which was just two weeks ago, but it’s amazing how much I still managed to weed out), which means that I now have a capsule wardrobe. A real one, I mean: not just one of those “capsules within my wardrobe” things that I used to bang on about, as if people wouldn’t know perfectly well it was just an excuse to buy MOAR CLOTHES.


This is what I was left with:

inside my capsule wardrobe

Or, OK, this plus all of my sports/leisurewear which lives in the closet in my room, and which is what I actually wear at least six days out of seven.

(And some puffer coats that live in the cupboard under the stairs…)

(And obviously the clothes I was wearing when I took the photo. I have no idea why I’m acting like you’re going to come over and go through my house to make sure I’m not cheating here, though, so moving on…)

I feel like this still looks like quite a lot of clothes when you see it all together, but it feels like almost nothing to me, compared with what I had a few weeks ago: and what I’ve been living with for, well, my entire adult life, basically.

Right now, I don’t have a single pair of jeans or trousers, for instance: I got rid of them all, because I hated them. None of them fit properly, or looked good on. None of them were particularly good quality. None of them “sparked joy”, as Marie Kondo would say. They were just things I’d bought because I thought I should have a pair of jeans/trousers/whatever, and they were the best I could find at the time. And the same goes for (almost) everything else in my wardrobe, too. I’d bought it all because I have to wear something every day, but last week I suddenly realised that if it all went up in flames overnight, there was really nothing I’d particularly miss or want to replace.

And yet, still I kept shopping. Still I kept buying more and more of the things that were just okay, or that would have to do, and, honestly, I’ve had enough of that.

What’s the point of having a closet crammed with clothes I don’t really like? Why am I spending money to feel like crap, when I can feel like crap for free?

Why not just… get rid of it all, and start again from scratch?

And, I mean, that’s the dream, really. In an ideal world, I would quite literally take everything in my closet (minus my handbags and shoes, which I do love, although I don’t use most of those either these days…) and sell or donate it to someone who’d actually use it. Then I’d start again with a completely empty closet, and take my time filling it with only the things I absolutely love, and know I’ll wear until they fall apart.

But this is not an ideal world, sadly. And I don’t have the money to replace anything much right now, let alone my entire closet. So, instead, I’ve done the next best thing, which is to get rid of everything other than the absolute basics, and then try to gradually fill the gaps or replace things over time. I’m mostly going to be using Vinted to do this, because, as much as I hate it sometimes, it’s still cheaper than buying something new, then realising I hate it after a single wear. Which, let’s face it, is what normally happens.

(Oh, and I’m going to be using Vinted to sell some of the stuff I’m getting rid of, too. Most of it will be donated, because I just can’t afford to sell stuff for £3, which is all most people are prepared to pay over there, but I’m not “getting rid of it” in the sense of just sending it all to landfill, so don’t come at me.)

Why, though?

I’ve written about this a lot in the ‘Money Diaries’ newsletter I publish every Monday, but I decided to move to a capsule wardrobe for most of the same reasons anyone else does:

  • to simplify my life
  • stop me obsessing over what to wear all the time
  • to make it easier to get dressed in the morning

Most of all, though, I’m doing it to try to curb my shopping addiction by making it a rule that I don’t buy things if I don’t actually need them. Because otherwise I’d just keep on buying more and more clothes I can’t afford, and not only will I end up in the debtors jail at this rate, the likelihood is that I still won’t really love any of it. And what’s the point of that?

So, capsule wardrobe it is, then. And it’s only been 3 days, but already I feel SO much better for it. I love getting up in the morning and not having to spend ages wondering what to wear. I love walking into my dressing room and being able to see everything I own, without having to rummage through piles of stuff I hate. I don’t love all of my clothes yet: but I’m working on it. And while I’m working on it, I’m really enjoying having some space in my head that was previously taken up by thoughts about what to buy, and what to wear.

Will it last, though?

Honestly, I have no idea. But I guess I’m about to find out…


In my defense, I bought the second one purely because the dry cleaner damaged the first one. And I sent the third one back. But still.


I called it “Shoebagga,” to rhyme with Chewbacca. I would literally cram it full of shoes, then worry I’d get stopped at security because some of those stiletto heels could easily have been used as a weapon…

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books by Amber Eve
  • Minda


    Wow! The evolution of Amber. I’ve been around long enough to remember when you’d pull out your stash of clothes (from the attic?) at the change of seasons. I hear you, though, I’ve done this, too.

    September 7, 2023
  • Louise


    I really admire you for doing this. I’m not sure I could, and yet I relate to so much of what you say. So much of my head is filled with what to wear/what to buy to wear and actually, how much more time would I have for creativity, reading or just plain old doing nothing if I wasn’t filling it all up with that? But then, sometimes I think my clothes are my creativity… and now that’s made me feel sad lol.
    I’m keen to see how you get on with it. xx

    September 7, 2023
  • Brenda


    I have amassed quite an extensive wardrobe for my “imaginary life”. Sigh. When I look at all the money I have spent on clothing that has been unworn it is pretty embarrassing, especially when a lot of it really just doesn’t apply to my every day life. I live in a casual town, I am a casual person, have been a work from home mom, and am now an empty nester. I like to blend in. I don’t want to call attention to myself. Therefore, I don’t NEED to look downtown Manhattan. Ever. Due to covid, my in-person shopping curbed quite a bit, but I still did a bit online. I have started asking the question, “Is this for my real life or my imaginary life?” and if it is the latter, I put it back. I hope that by doing this, I will reduce the orphans in my closet dramatically.

    September 8, 2023
  • Skimpy


    Congrats Amber! You did the right thing 😊
    Although I’m a bit sad about the lovely “puffy-fifties” dresses you used to wear, in which you looked so “ravissante”, for want of a better term in English.
    But I guess one’s style changes through time, and they probably were not super-convenient with a toddler at home either!

    September 12, 2023