One thing I never expected while reading ‘Over-Dressed, The Shockingly High Cost Of Cheap Fashion’ by Elizabeth.L Cline was to get a work out! I have never read a book (fitness magazines excluded) that has promoted me to get off my butt, but Cline’s inspiring words had me off my seat more times than I could count on both hands. I spent a great deal of time checking the manufacturing label on EVERY item hanging in my wardrobe, then got up again later to check the seams of all my favourite items, chatted to my boyfriend about manufacturing issues, got a notepad to write useful facts, jumped online to research the blogs mentioned, and the list goes on (but I won’t bore you with it).
Clines writing style is honest, straightforward, up-to-date (this is one of the first ‘Current’ pieces of eco fashion literature I have read having being published in 2012 and an afterward added in 2013 which covered the Rana Plaza disaster), and most importantly, inspiring. Not since Siegles ‘To Die For’ have I felt so motivated about sustainability in the fashion industry and my role as an individual consumer. Cline admits to having never spent more than ‘$30 dollars on a shirt’ and embarks on a journey to discover the impact that her ‘fast-fashion’ shopping habits are having on the environment, society, and the economy. What I appreciate about ‘Over-Dressed’ was its ability to combine the economic approach of ‘The Travels of a T-Shirt‘, the ‘meet the makers’ story telling approach of ‘Confessions of an Eco-Sinner’, and the easy to digest approach to facts and figures that ‘Eco-Chic’ presented, in one fantastically concise and accessible book.
Although Cline states in hindsight (a whole year after the book was published) that she may have ‘overemphasised’ the sew your-own-clothes movement as a key weapon in the fight against fast-fashion, I actually found this section inspiring in my wardrobe work out challenge. Being just short of the half way mark of my 365 Day no shopping challenge has been inspiring me to want to get the sewing machine out, but I have procrastinated. Cline gave me the motivation to get off my butt, go through my wardrobe and pick out all the things that need a makeover, and I have scheduled a sewing day.
I also found ‘Chapter 5: The Afterlife of Cheap Clothes’ a fascinating and sad confirmation of my thoughts on thrifted fashion. It is getting increasingly difficult to find decent secondhand clothing (it’s just not made like it used to be) and the poor thrift stores are being inundated with cheap fashion that doesn’t really have a ‘second life’ due to its poor quality and fabric selection. My personal thrifting habits was seeing me return home with what I would now call ‘junk’ purchases, the best of a bad selection of second hand goods. You know its not good for you, will stuff your already fat wardrobe, and will likely get thrown back to the thrift shop in which it came a couple of weeks later.
The enjoyment of reading Over-Dressed has stuck with me and inspired action. I totally recommend this book and hope that readers who follow up and read it get as much out of it as I did.
Image source: PinandHem