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Overdressed

The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion
Cline, Elizabeth L. (Book - 2012)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Overdressed
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Until recently, Elizabeth Cline was a typical American consumer. She'd grown accustomed to shopping at outlet malls, discount stores like T.J. Maxx, and cheap but trendy retailers like Forever 21, Target, and H&M. She was buying a new item of clothing almost every week (the national average is sixty-four per year) but all she had to show for it was a closet and countless storage bins packed full of low-quality fads she barely wore--including the same sailor-stripe tops and fleece hoodies as a million other shoppers. When she found herself lugging home seven pairs of identical canvas flats from Kmart (a steal at $7 per pair, marked down from $15!), she realized that something was deeply wrong. Cheap fashion has fundamentally changed the way most Americans dress. Stores ranging from discounters like Target to traditional chains like JCPenney now offer the newest trends at unprecedentedly low prices. Retailers are pro­ducing clothes at enormous volumes in order to drive prices down and profits up, and they've turned clothing into a disposable good. After all, we have little reason to keep wearing and repairing the clothes we already own when styles change so fast and it's cheaper to just buy more. But what are we doing with all these cheap clothes? And more important, what are they doing to us, our society, our environment, and our economic well-being? In Overdressed, Cline sets out to uncover the true nature of the cheap fashion juggernaut, tracing the rise of budget clothing chains, the death of middle-market and independent retail­ers, and the roots of our obsession with deals and steals. She travels to cheap-chic factories in China, follows the fashion industry as it chases even lower costs into Bangladesh, and looks at the impact (both here and abroad) of America's drastic increase in imports. She even explores how cheap fashion harms the charity thrift shops and textile recyclers where our masses of cloth­ing castoffs end up. Sewing, once a life skill for American women and a pathway from poverty to the middle class for workers, is now a dead-end sweatshop job. The pressures of cheap have forced retailers to drastically reduce detail and craftsmanship, making the clothes we wear more and more uniform, basic, and low quality. Creative inde­pendent designers struggle to produce good and sustainable clothes at affordable prices. Cline shows how consumers can break the buy-and-toss cycle by supporting innovative and stylish sustainable designers and retailers, refash­ioning clothes throughout their lifetimes, and mending and even making clothes themselves. Overdressed will inspire you to vote with your dollars and find a path back to being well dressed and feeling good about what you wear.
Authors: Cline, Elizabeth L.
Title: Overdressed
the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion
Publisher: New York : Portfolio/Penguin, 2012.
Characteristics: vii, 244 p. ;,24 cm.
Contents: Seven pairs of $7 shoes
"I have enough clothing to open a store"
How America lost its shirts
High and low fashion make friends
Fast fashion
The afterlife of cheap clothes
Sewing is a good job, a great job
China and the end of cheap fashion
Make, alter, and mend
The future of fashion.
Local Note: 6 53 69 74 78 79 97 133 148 172 193 210 211 216 222 264
ISBN: 1591844614
9781591844617
Statement of Responsibility: Elizabeth L. Cline
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Subject Headings: Consumption (Economics) Social aspects. Shopping Environmental aspects. Fashion Environmental aspects. Fashion Social aspects. Clothing trade Environmental aspects. Clothing trade Social aspects.
Topical Term: Consumption (Economics)
Shopping
Fashion
Fashion
Clothing trade
Clothing trade
LCCN: 2012004525
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Oct 30, 2013
  • phlily rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is incredibly well written and well researched. It really opened my eyes to a lot of things I've never thought about before. Not only are the clothes available at the mall made by people who aren't being paid a living wage, they have no tailoring and are of poor quality. Our clothes also get thinner to save money. One woman Cline interviews says it best, we are wearing rags. I would reccomend this book to anyone, particularly if you are interested in shopping, a sustainable lifestyle, or quality over quantity.

Oct 06, 2013
  • Einekatze11 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Although the writing seemed stilted at times, overall this book was very interesting and gave me lots to think about. Definitely recommended if you enjoy clothes and shopping!

Jul 01, 2013
  • pinky0203 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is a great read. I've never really been someone who follows the latest fashion trend and after reading this book I doubt I ever will be. I have tried to make my own clothes when possible which means they are designer (me) originals as well as repairing anything as needed. It is a real eyeopener about how most clothes are made these days, why they are so cheap and how disposable they really are. I truly never gave any thought to what happens to clothing once it goes to charity either. The environmental costs for the countries which manufacture most of those cheap clothes should concern everybody these days.

Mar 13, 2013
  • Dutch_Girl rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It made me think about the kinds of things I buy. It's a lot harder to find quality clothing for women over 50 than it used to be. A quick read ... I found especially interesting the chapter on thrift stores, and what happens to our clothing after we donate it away.

This is an amazing book! Women have needed a read like this to explain the drop in price, style and quality of clothing available in stores today. Time to get out the sewing machine!

Aug 24, 2012
  • SMBE rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This book was difficult to read because it was so poorly written. It is amazing that it was published.
The subject was interesting however her presentation was poorly organized. She writes like a high school student.

Aug 19, 2012
  • pinkysalmon22 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I suspected this all along. If everyone read this book and absorbed its message, it would literally change the world.

Jul 28, 2012
  • jbetzzall rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A well-balanced expose of the cost of the current fashion industry in human exploitation and environmental degradation. Most interesting was the new trends--the cost cutting factories in Asia are now unable to compete for quality goods, so real high fashion manufacturing may come back to North America.

Most people must buy the cheaper imitations because the brand names are too expensive except as for special occasion items; designer items are even more ridiculous because 90% of the cost is that square inch or so of designer label.

Jul 02, 2012
  • ErnieK rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

A good subject, with interesting but very anecdotal support. Scattered presentation of her material made this less than interesting to read. On the other hand, it was a very FAST read because of that.

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Mar 02, 2014
  • dusyaka rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

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