‘Overdressed’ takes readers behind the seams of fast fashion

What savvy shopper with some mileage on her stilettos hasn’t remarked (or heard their mother or grandmother sigh) “They just don’t make [coats, shoes, dresses, etc.] they way they used to anymore!” while shopping?

Elizabeth L. Cline’s eye-opening read, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, takes readers behind the seams of the fast fashion industry and the financial and environmental implications of accumulating “disposable” clothing.  Readers follow Cline as she examines the Chinese garment industry (by pretending to be a buyer), learns to sew with low-wage seamstresses in the Dominican Republic, and chats with “haulers” (i.e. shoppers who purchase huge quantities of fast fashion and blog about their finds).  Cline reveals just what happens to all the clothes that go unpurchased at charity stores, and contrasts her findings with the “slow fashion” movement, which emphasizes ethical construction, ecofriendly materials and sustainability (meaning pieces are well-made and will last for seasons). 

This was an interesting read (I recommend reading it because it highlights a lesser-publicized side of the fashion industry), but to be honest: I love my fast fashion.  I love being able to sample trends selectively without investing a lot of money in them, but it’s also important to understand that you often get just what you pay for.   It’s key to know how to recognize a high quality garment or accessory and when to purchase one (for example: my go-to handbag has lasted about six years).   Shopping vintage and consignment stores are also excellent ways to participate to support “slow fashion,” as is sewing your own garments (more to come on that later).

Have a fabulous weekend!

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