And, I felt kind of depressed. And have spent the weekend obsessively cleaning out my closets, drawers and basement. I live alone in a three bedroom house and there is stuff in each of those rooms. I want to get down to the things I need. Not just the stuff I want. And, less stuff.
Instead of reviewing the book (there are many many good reviews out there) I’d like to share a slightly related anecdote. My Goodreads ‘review’ is posted at the end.
As people moved away from making their own clothes, general public knowledge of garment construction faded. Though the connection is not entirely direct, the loss of sewing skills happened in tandem with the public accepting simpler and simpler fashions, until today — where we have collectively accepted the two-panel knit creation that is aT-shirt as fashion. — Overdressed by Elizabeth Cline
I share this qoute because I once had a first date. We were meeting for coffee at a popular brunch spot in fashionable neighborhood in downtown Baltimore on a Sunday morning. He came wearing a tee-shirt, cargo shorts and flip flops. Full disclosure — I generally don’t like flip flops. They aren’t shoes. But, it was the T-shirt that stuck with me. We dated for a few months and I eventually brought up the fact that he wore a T-shirt on our first date. His reasoning was it had a (chest) pocket, therefore it was a shirt. Plus, it was a casual morning first date. I’ll abstain from drawing correlations between the effort he put into dressing for our date and the effort he put in to the relationship. But, I submit to you that a T-shirt is not a first date ’outfit’!
“That men walk around in T-shirts and elastic waistband pants has very definitely impacted the notion of what fashion is and contributed to the race to the bottom.” – Anthony Lilore, a 30 year vet of the fashion industry.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don’t even know where to begin. I remember looking at two friend’s closets a few years ago and being shocked speechless over the insane number of clothes they had. Especially considering I saw them in the same clothes over and over and the vast majority spalid on the floor had never been worn. Throw on top that I find most of the clothes I see on people I know wearing to look patently inexpensive(thin, faded, pilled and pulled). This book explained to me how this came to be and how consumer culture changed when it comes to shopping.
I made a melton wool grey trench coat a few years ago. It’s double breasted, down to my ankles and lined with flannel back satin. It’s the warmest, best fitting garment I’ve ever made. It cost me $150. My good friend was shocked I would pay that much to make something when I could have bought a coat for less money and zero time. This coat, easily would have cost over $500 on *sale*. But, a poly / wool / acrylic coat for $90 made much more sense to her.
We live in a culture where we’ve forgotten that good quality items cost a lot of money. Period.
When I grew up, we shopped seasonally and for special occasions. In my 1930s home, the closets are the size of an outhouse. This book lays out how the expectations on the cost for clothes has changed and how the stores have catered to this. Now, people shop for entertainment and the clothes are inexpensive enough that we don’t think twice about buying it. Add on top of this the loss of shame over having ‘cheap’ clothes and we have a society that has more clothes than ever. This has changed the way our homes are built, the way we shop and the quality we expect.
This book is eye opening and I will never shop the same way again. Ever. I want my clothes to have value and meaning. I don’t want to contribute to this consumer culture where we spend more on a meal out than we will on a blouse! A blouse should last for years!
Sigh. I realize this isn’t a review, LOL. Read this book. It will change your thinking and they way you live. I’m only not giving it four out of five stars because the author talks about how we need to learn to identify good quality clothing. But, never really goes in to what the average consumer should look out for.