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Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion Hardcover – June 14, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (June 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591844614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844617
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 3.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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Customer Reviews

Since I started reading this book I was hooked.
A. Ricardez
Made me re-think the fashion and the way we treat our clothes.
Nataliya
The book is an easy, quick, and informative read.
Diana

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 111 people found the following review helpful By BLehner on June 14, 2012
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 By A. Whitacre on 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.
Read more ›
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Rudelt on 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 By Nancy on June 29, 2012
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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