Are you one of those women who says, upon receiving a wardrobe compliment: “Oh, this? I got this for $14.98 at Marshall’s.” Me too. I recently read Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline, though, and it’s really got me thinking. I knew that we get low prices because our clothing is made overseas where labor rates are lower.
Cline says “we presume whoever offers us the lowest price is being fair and we give them our business.” Yet cheap clothing we demand has really derailed American business, and resulted in less style and poorer quality. Are we really fashionable, when “global chains are trying to take the risk out of fashion by selling the same carefully orchestrated trends, making our store-bought looks feel homogenous and generic”? I’m an advocate of home sewing, but of course I don’t make all of my clothing. The topstitching and fitting required for jeans, for instance, seems like too much work. I do, however, want quality. How long will it take the $8.00 garment from WalMart shown to the right to sprout holes or loose threads in the side seams and under the arms?
I can see poor quality on the racks and particularly on young women. The fabric is thin and tight in the wrong places. Here’s what Cline says about that: “A half century of competition based on low price has forced the fashion industry to cut corners on quality, construction, and detail, leaving most of us wearing painfully simple designs that are crudely slapped together.”
Cline turned to vintage clothing and repairing her own clothing — more on that later!