Tip of the Month

"Clothes could have more meaning and longevity if we think less about owning the latest or cheapest thing and develop more of a relationship with the things we wear."

This tip comes from Elizabeth Cline's exposÚ, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.

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Dear Friend,


I've spent quite a bit of time this spring and summer in other places. And it has been a joy to be gone and a joy to be home each time.


Keeping My Nose in a Book 


I've also been reading -- a lot. On my recent trip to Oregon, a friend asked if I had read Elizabeth Cline's Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. My friend knows I like to shop at all price ranges, so she thought it would be an interesting read. And it was -- as well as eye-opening, and as the title promised, shocking.


Confronting Uncomfortable Realities 


Read it for yourself, but bear in mind that if you like to bargain-hunt by shopping at Forever 21, H&M, Target, and other inexpensive outlets, you may feel just a little bit sick. (Remember reading Fast Food Nation? Cline does for the clothing industry what Eric Schlosser did for fast food.)  


The book details the dramatic level of consumption in our society, analyzes our obsession with cheap clothing, and explores the underpinnings of these low prices, including the high cost to the environment and the deplorable wages and workplaces of international garment factory workers.


Changing Habits for the Better 


If you know me, you know I like a bargain -- but I also like to know that I'm buying quality. And unless you get out of places like Target and H&M, you won't find both. I like to tell my clients that "less is more" and I simply suggest that when we are in a discount store, we should think very clearly about our motivations. In other words, are you eyeing that top because it's the perfect addition to a wardrobe that reflects The Real You -- or merely because it's inexpensive and seems adequate?


Another thought for your consideration: if as a nation we continue our obsession for buying cheap stuff, then we must accept the fact that the small, neighborhood shops that give our communities their flavor and invigorate our local economies will also fall by the wayside. It's hard to compete with cheap outlets as a small boutique.


Tips for the Thinking Shopper


What's a responsible shopper to do? If I were to give advice (and I do like to!) I'd say two things: 

  1. Be mindful of what you buy and how much you buy. More is not always better.
  2. Frequent your local boutiques for gifts and looks for yourself. The price point may be a little higher, but your community -- and your conscience -- will be stronger for it.
Patricia Gorham

Patricia Gorham
Inside/Out Style  
Not Your Grandmother's Luxury

Luxury used to be only for the wealthy and involved an experience of quality design, materials and craftsmanship. Author Dana Thomas explains in Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster that so-called luxury goods have now become a commodity and people are more interested in owning the name and the logo rather than the actual quality. A New York Times book review calls it "a crisp, witty social history that's as entertaining as it is informative" -- I couldn't agree more. 

Find it on Amazon ╗  



Loving the Locals: Spotlight on Carmilia's  


Carmilia's, a sweet little shop in West Seattle, is celebrating their 9-year anniversary this summer. Featured recently in Seattle Magazine, this darling boutique is well worth a drive over to West Seattle for the afternoon. Mother-daughter team Linda and Emmy Sabee collect fabulous designer looks including stand-out jewelry. There is always something for everyone, and the Carmilia's blog keeps you up to date on the latest.  


Carmlia's website ╗