Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book Review - "Overdressed" by Elizabeth L. Cline

Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline

This one hits close to home for me, which is why I was eager to read it.  It's full of information about the manufacturing methods of "cheap fashion" and how we got to be so dependent on it.  It's a book everyone should read, especially if you have a crammed closet full of clothes you barely wear.  I found it oversimplified at times, preachy at others, but overall the message is good.  Having been in the textile industry for close to 20 years and then at school for textile and apparel management before that (I remember finding out NAFTA passed in class one day and we all collectively groaned, seeing our job prospects diminish in an instant) I've seen the decline of the domestic industry firsthand.  I've seen quality diminish, I've fought with overseas suppliers, I've pulled my hair out at customers wanting something for nothing, etc.  Maybe that's why I'm so conscious to how much I bring into my home.  My closet has never been vast, I thrift a lot, I buy quality over quantity, I wear stuff out, I mend instead of throw away or donate for the most part.  Sure I love my fast fashion fix every now and then but I'm fully aware of what I'm going to get at places like F21, H&M, Zara, Target, etc.  In fact I can't even walk into F21 without thinking "look at all this garbage".    I think the idea of the book can be summed up by one of the interviewees in the book, vintage dealer Sara Bereket when she said "We blame companies.  But at the end of the day we have to be responsible for our actions."  Stop buying so much stuff, buy better quality stuff, hunt out made in the USA items if possible, learn how to fix your clothes or find someone who can, shop with intention.  Ultimately it's in our hands, we created the demand, we can change the game if we are willing to be more mindful.

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