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I’m reading a book right now titled “Overdressed: The shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion,” that takes a very close look at the cheap, budget fashion that has defined the last two decades of shopping. I, too, have fallen victim to the $3 tank top sale that i bought in 6 colors just to have it warp and fall apart in the wash. It made me realize I am not one of those people with 300 pieces of clothing in my closet, and yet have nothing I want to wear. It was time to clean the closet.

Last Fall marked the 10 year anniversary of my first day of college. It was during these years of dorm room living with relatively little space and frequent packing that I realized the benefit of a small wardrobe. Then, when I had a job at Express for a semester, I learned the value of well made clothes. Don’t misunderstand me, the Express of 2004 was not Hermes, Chanel, or even Calvin Klein, but it gave me an introduction to suit pieces made out of wool instead of polyester, Cotton button down shirts versus Rayon, and even my first feel of a real rabbit scarf. It would be years still until I touched a sewing machine and learned the different types of hems, and fabric finishing techniques.

It wasn’t until I sewed that I understood the real meaning of quality clothes. It’s not just about the fabric, but also the process. Are the edges all finished with a serger or are they french seamed? Is there a lining? Are the stitches reinforced?

These details don’t enter your mind when your salivating over $3 tank tops. I’ll say this however. I have pieces in my closet that are 8-10 years old, lovingly cared for from the few times I did splurge and shop at a higher end store, like a boat neck black t-shirt that still sits perfectly on my shoulders. Those $3 tank tops? I think one is currently lining my rabbit cage.

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