Photo Credit: Matt Roth
Yesterday you read my ideas about better wardrobe planning, smarter consumption, and better budgeting. The book, Overdressed, really changed my thought process on how to approach fashion. It’s not something to covet and buy on a whim. It’s meaningful and worth thinking through. We, as a society, need to get to a point where we cease changing our wardrobe every season. What if we did that with appliances or cars? There are huge ramifications in our choices.
Luckily, writer Elizabeth Cline was gracious enough to allow me an interview to discuss more topics from the book in detail. Read on to find out more!
1. In Overdressed, she came to a point where she “had a full closet, but nothing to wear.” I feel like this is a common sentiment among women. What did she say is the first step in rectifying this situation?
Elizabeth felt that she didn’t have the proper knowledge as a consumer. Once she began a sewing class, she developed a better understanding of clothing, materials, and how they are made. She didn’t start the class to make her entire wardrobe. She feels that she know can make small changes to her wardrobe that lengthen the life and improve the fit of her garments. She believes that she has become a smarter consumer because of it.
2. One thing I learned from the book was that charities also end up selling off clothing as scraps. What was her biggest surprise in all of her research?
The room full of bails of clothing was also the largest shock. She learned that retailers think of clothing as material, resources. It also made her realize that clothing is tangible and has to go somewhere when you’re done with it. She challenges you to think of the life cycle of a garment before you purchase it (this was an Aha! moment for me).
3. As she mentioned in Overdressed, the quality of clothing has taken a dramatic nosedive since the 1950′s. Does she think there will be a tipping point for the lack of proper materials and good workmanship?
Elizabeth believes that there are so many pressures in the industry. The corporate world is bottom-line obsessed and continues to keep cutting in order to save on cost. She recognizes that people are truly getting mad and hopes that this will spur a change.
4. Toward the end of the book, she made the decision to be wiser with her purchases. What has been her biggest challenge and what would she recommend to others wanting to do the same?
Her challenge was not having money to spend on quality clothing. That is what challenged her to be creative. Elizabeth is an avid thrift store shopper and loves finding good quality silk and cashmere garments. She loves finding good vintage, where the clothing has beautiful fabrics and good tailoring. She recommends always tailoring your clothing and making good use of things already in closet, which includes mending holes and cleaning stains. If you have to buy new, Elizabeth recommends finding ethical brands, those made with care and solid workmanship. And of course, buy less.
5. For those in NY, what brands or stores does Elizabeth recommend?
Thank you, Elizabeth, for such an eye-opening interview!