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Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth L. Cline
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $8.01 (50%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

“Overdressed does for T-shirts and leggings what Fast Food Nation did for burgers and fries.”

—Katha Pollitt



Cheap fashion has fundamentally changed the way most Americans dress. Stores ranging from discounters like Target to traditional chains like JCPenny now offer the newest trends at unprecedentedly low prices. And 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.



Cline sets out to uncover the true nature of the cheap fashion juggernaut. 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?


Editorial Reviews

Review

“Cline is the Michael Pollan of fashion…Hysterical levels of sartorial consumption are terrible for the environment, for workers, and even, ironically, for the way we look.”
—Michelle Goldberg, Newsweek/The Daily Beast
 
“How did Americans end up with closets crammed with flimsy, ridiculously cheap garments? Elizabeth Cline travels the world to trace the rise of fast fashion and its cost in human misery, environmental damage, and common sense.”
—Katha Pollitt, columnist for The Nation
 
Overdressed is eye-opening and definitely turns retailing on its head. Cline’s insightful book reveals the serious problems facing our industry today. The tremendous values and advantages of domestic production are often ignored in favor of a price point that makes clothing disposable.”
—Erica Wolf, executive director, Save the Garment Center
 

About the Author

Elizabeth Cline has written for AMCtv.com, The Daily Beast, New York Magazine, Popular Science, The New Republic, The Village Voice, and seedmagazine.com. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit overdressedthebook.com.

Product Details

  • File Size: 799 KB
  • Print Length: 267 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1591846544
  • Publisher: Portfolio; Reprint edition (June 14, 2012)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GSZJ3Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,766 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
104 of 111 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Think before you buy! June 14, 2012
By BLehner
Format:Hardcover
A century ago people usually had only a handful of garments in their wardrobe. Carefully mended, and handed down, these clothes were never disposed of before literally being worn out. Today the average US citizen buys 65 new pieces of clothing each year. Typically not meant to last, these items will rather be thrown away than repaired or altered, because this would ironically enough be more expensive than buying new ones.
On this premise Elizabeth Cline sets out to explore cheap fashion in her book Overdressed. Revealing the effects of cheap fashion on her own life, her research takes her to the reasons of this development and a possible future in slow (aka local and sustainable) fashion. Both conversationally written and thought-provoking this is a must-read for everyone who's interested in the economics behind the circle of shopping and clothes production.
I have read many books on the topic but this is the first that addresses one particular point which I feel is shockingly obvious yet often ignored. Fast fashion is not only cheap, it is, basically, waste. You might be all for recycling plastic, but have you ever thought about what's in your wardrobe and the implications for the environment? With fashion being cheap, and quality just "good enough", we create a staggering amount of pretty colored polyester garbage. Think about this before homing in on the next bargain you see!
In short: An eye-opening read that will hopefully make you reconsider your buying decisions!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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114 of 123 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars read along with "Supersize Me" June 19, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had the same sense of revulsion reading this book as I did reading "Supersize Me" (which is more or less the food version of this book) and I see fast food and "fast fashion" as indicative of the same lack of basic skills. We don't typically cook -- and therefore don't recognize quality in food. Few people sew anymore, and therefore don't recognize quality in clothing. The high cost of housing means that cost becomes more important both for food and clothing -- and quality suffers. The manufacturing chain makes adjustments to accommodate the desire for more of everything. And then follow the TV shows: Biggest Loser for the food problem; and Hoarders for the clothing (and everything else) problem.
Oddly enough, the bad construction of cheap clothes puts consumers into the endless cycle of buying more of everything. If you can't fix your shoes or alter your clothes, then you need multiples of everything just to make sure something lasts through the season. Expectations of grooming and dress have become demanding, which means that there is more acceptance of cheap clothing. 60 years ago when every working woman wore a suit every day to work, her entire wardrobe was different. She didn't have 22 tops and 14 skirts -- she had five suits. And yet we see the connection between clothing and our behavior-- schools that expect specific behaviors usually have specific dress codes. (the author of Supersize Me also comments on how fast food -- and eating in your car -- disrupted the idea of set meal times. )
I am old enough to remember the grand department stores in big cities -- and the expectations both of dress and behavior that accompanied them.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long on problem-short on solutions September 12, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I do recommend this book to anyone whose closet takes up a whole bedroom and is full of things you got as a steal but never wear. I recommend this book to anyone who takes frequent hauls of last season's clothes to Goodwill thinking they are doing something grandly generous. I recommend this to anyone who remembers going to the high end section of the department store and finding amazing details and fine finishing of garments-remember French seams?- and wonders why you can't seem to find them at any price now.

I bought this because I am well aware that something is wrong with clothing currently. I grew up as a home sewer and in the last 10 years I have done less and less as finished garments were getting cheaper than then fabric needed to make them. A simple sheath dress takes about 2 hours to make and about 2 yard of outer fabric, not to mention interfacing and notions. To think that these fast fashion stores could sell this dress and far more complex things for under $40 tells me a lot of people are getting screwed. I wanted to know how many, but also what I as a consumer can do about. Sadly, this book is a little thin on solutions. It doesn't give much help on how to source fairly made clothing. How to source fairly made, high quality, environmentally sound clothing is really what I was looking for. On the other hand it did remind me of the value of home sewing. Fast fashion is like fast food-it is good enough and is set up to crate cravings, but clothing, like good food, nourishes the spirit. You may need to work harder for it but it is so much more rewarding.
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371 of 415 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The shockingly high cost of cheap editing June 29, 2012
By Nancy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm very interested in the subject of fast fashion, and I'm pretty sure the author did her research. (There are 11 pages of endnotes.) But "Overdressed" is so poorly written and edited (or unedited) that I stopped reading after three chapters. Some of the more glaring errors: "rarified" for "rarefied," "principal" for "principle," "hoards" for "hordes," "reigns" for "reins," "lose" for "loose," and "$150 dollars." There are comma errors, syntax errors, subject-verb agreement errors, verb-tense errors, and capitalization errors. Concepts that require clarification are unexplained (Black Friday, "when France was occupied").

And that's just the first 94 pages.

Nitpicking? Not really. "Overdressed" isn't a hastily written blog post; it's a book from a respected publisher. The sloppiness of the editing doesn't merely make for a painful reading experience; it also impairs the author's credibility and makes me wonder about the accuracy of her facts. Which is a shame, because this is a subject crying out for thorough and expert reporting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
havent read it yet but i am really glad i purchased it
Published 9 days ago by jill hoberman
5.0 out of 5 stars game changer
i was such a student reading this book. thank you for opening my eyes and expanding my view. a definite game changer.
Published 23 days ago by hellaspicey
5.0 out of 5 stars mayor con conciencia.
Una extraordinaria radiografía del mundo de la manufactura de la ropa. Hace que el lector sea más concienzudo sobre lo que compra.
Published 27 days ago by Europa Pinero Gonzalez
4.0 out of 5 stars very mind-opening and motivating
The book is really well-written ( not at the level of Tolstoy or Palanik, but it's a fiction at the end of the day :)). Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alyona Tkachenko
3.0 out of 5 stars Consult
i am reading the first chapter and i do think is a good book yet. I'm doing a research about fast fashion and would like to know recommendations of other books about it! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Manuel Velazquez
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
One of the best eye opening books I have read in a long time. Start skipping the junk and turn to quality.
Published 2 months ago by Alice
5.0 out of 5 stars I remember this
I remember the day I first shopped at Forever21 with my mom. "Finally," I thought. "Clothes that are cute AND fit me." I was sixteen then. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Shelley
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking
Reading and purchasing this book coincided with my making some long-overdue changes in my lifestyle. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Platinum Brunette
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice little read!
Interesting take on fashion today. A quick read but very enjoyable. I would recommend this book to my friends and I have!
Published 3 months ago by Karen Streaker
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
I'm usually not a fan of non-fiction, but this was a fascinating read that kept me interested to the very end. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sharon M Farry
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