Overdressed – A Review

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very early on into reading this book, I started to realise how I do not know anything about any piece of clothing I own other than where I bought it. I didn’t know where it was manufactured or what fabric it was made out of. I didn’t know how to repair them. If something doesn’t fit, or if I stop liking it, I throw it away. As simple as that. I assumed someone would use it or recycle it or maybe it will go to the landfill.

That’s why I never bought a single piece of clothing after I started reading this book (which, if you know me, is a big deal). I knew eventually the author would explain how to be a responsible buyer and I wanted to hold off until then.

The amount of damage we do to the environment in buying mass produced clothing is staggering. Apart from the pollution caused by industrial waste, the very fabric is mostly made of plastic and hence when they eventually clog the landfill, they will not degrade for hundreds of years. Yet, we never give it a thought because we buy so cheap.

We own things that thousands of others own and we hide behind the argument that we don’t really care about fashion enough to invest too much money or time in it. We buy too much and throw away too much. We go after brand names and buy clothes that we can’t even wear once it goes out of fashion. We do not give a damn about quality and sustenance. And we don’t do that just with clothes.

When Emma Watson walked the red carpet wearing a swanky dress made out of recycled plastic, I thought all this eco-friendly fashion business was rich people’s game. But after reading this book, I realize that I can be a responsible buyer by just caring for clothes the way our previous generation did. Mending them if they are torn, replacing the soles of the shoes, spending a little more to buy better quality clothing made out of sustainable fabric, redesigning old-fashioned clothes to make it look chic are all lost art. We do not have to sew our own clothing (which my mother still does). But we can use tailors to make clothes that fit us and that we like. We can personalize our clothing and develop an attachment to them. We can find something to boast about the clothes we wear other than how cheap they are.

The author says that she owned around 350 pieces of clothing before she started writing the book. Most of them bought at cheap retail outlets. Most of which she never wore. I don’t own 350 but I was slowly getting there as my shopping habits developed recently. So I am glad I read this book now. I will start by making sure the clothes I buy are made of bio-degradable materials. I am giving this book 5 stars for just opening my eyes.

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2 thoughts on “Overdressed – A Review

  1. I can’t wait to read this book. In college I focused on fashion journalism. After all my time there I realized all of the things I didn’t love about fashion and changed to focus on sustainable fashion. It is insane to meet all of the people that don’t know anything about the jeans they put on every day or where their shirts came from and what it took to get to them. This was a great post. If you have any more recommendations for books, please message me!

    1. I was also one of those insane people for the longest time 🙂 This is the best book I’ve read on the subject so far. Let me know when you are done reading and we’ll compare notes!

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