The High Cost of Cheap Clothes
Elizabeth Kline, author of Overdressed, explains the perils of cheap chic
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2012 1:05 PM CDT
People shop for shoes at Nine West on Black Friday at Dadeland Mall, Friday, Nov. 25, 2011, in Miami.   (AP Photo/ Lynne Sladky)

(Newser) – Fast fashion is the new fast food. That's the argument Elizabeth Kline makes in her new book, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, and Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon agrees. The average American buys 64 articles of clothing a year—more than there are weeks in the year. "You are what you eat," but you're even more visibly what you wear, Williams writes. "So what are you when you’re wearing a $5 polyester shirt made in China and shipped here by the boatload?"

"Three years ago, I bought seven pairs of shoes for $7 each at Kmart," Kline confesses to Williams in an interview. "In the moment, it was irresistible." But afterward she realized something was wrong—her closet was so full of cheap clothes that the satisfaction was gone. "We’ve lost sight of clothes as material goods—as things that are made." She advises consumers demand higher quality. "No one is going to change behavior on principle. They’re going to change because their clothes are falling apart." Click for Williams' full column.

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |