Lately I’ve been on a reading diet of fashion industry books, and just finished two really interesting ones.
The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping, and Why Clothes Matter by Linda Grant (Scribner, 2010) is a great book for reading in the bath while eating chocolate! It’s a book about choosing clothes, the clothing choices people make, and the importance that clothes have in our lives. It’s written like part-memoir, part reflections of the role clothes have played in women’s lives. The book is divided into chapters with a different theme for each. The two I found most interesting were about what middle aged women “should” wear, and fashion’s response to 9/11. I found The Thoughtful Dresser to be a thought provoking yet easy, entertaining read. There’s an excerpt of the book here.
I began reading Overdressed -The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline (Portfolio Reprint edition 2012) thinking I wouldn’t like it. Why? Was I afraid this book would make me feel guilty about owning a lot of clothes? Did I think the book would be overly negative? Instead, I was instantly engaged and couldn’t put it down. The washing piled up, dishes cluttered the sink, children were forced to forage for themselves….
Cline evaluates what cheap clothes really cost to the environment, society, and economic well-being. The shopping statistics quoted in the book are quite astounding. She visits clothing factories, sustainable independent designers, textile recyclers and charity thrift shops and has a fascinating time. She explores changing attitudes to the value of clothes and in the course of the book changes her own attitude.
Both books recommended for a good read