O la la, Eileen! - une femme d'un certain âge

O la la, Eileen!

Is it just me, or do Eileen Fisher designs seem to be getting better with each season?  I’d been won over a couple years ago by the knit jersey tops, but found many of the other pieces to be a bit drab or boxy and not really office appropriate. But lately I’ve been finding more basics and accent pieces like cardigans and knit jackets that are flattering, comfortable, and and fit readily into a business casual ensemble.  The current collection offers many items in lovely shades of grey, including a steel grey called “graphite” that’s a fabulous neutral and softer alternative to black.

To my eye, some of these looks channel a bit of that Left Bank vibe…

There’s one jacket in particular in this month’s collection that has piqued my interest.  It’s a knit tuxedo-style jacket with a sheer silk collar which might be a great travel piece to dress up a pair of knit pants or pencil skirt.

Eileen Fisher washable knit jacket in stretch crepe, $228.  It wasn’t available in my local store, but I have one on order and will report back.

You can see the entire Eileen Fisher Spring preview here. And check out Sal’s (Already Pretty) preview of the Fall Collection in their New York showroom. Some of those colors have me drooling!

Edited to add: Those of you looking for a tall length pant, I did find one on the website, here.

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  1. March 2, 2011 / 1:16 pm

    I remember when EF was pretty new. She designed a wardrobe of a few plain (in a good way) pieces that were machine washable–including wools and silks. I couldn’t justify the dough then–I had two small kids and a low income.

    I’m starting to drool again–esp over the washable crepe. Two pairs of pants in that fabric were my splurges 2 years ago. The fabric looks very classy and they are wrinkle-free and washable.

    The price–even on sale–gives me pause, but then I am very very very cheap about clothing.

    I think you could take a few pieces of the washable crepe on your trip and would look great anywhere.

  2. March 2, 2011 / 1:42 pm

    I adore Eileen Fisher. Just really started looking at it this year. I did read an article or two about how she has redesigned a lot of her line to be more current and fitted. i cringe when I pay the price, but I also know these are the items I reach for over and over. Please feature more!

  3. March 2, 2011 / 1:46 pm

    Wow, these have a great vibe for work/casual wear. I’m interested and looking forward to your report on the jacket.

  4. March 2, 2011 / 1:56 pm

    EF seem to have gone after the same customer as Talbot’s (middle aged, with money but not ‘price is no object’ money) but with a different sensibility. EF have retained their neutrals or gentle, evocative colours but added more shaped pieces. Unlike Talbots, they keep their fabric quality consistently high.

    Yet I own only a few EF camis, as their pants are cut with too short inseams for tall women and s skirt I bought was too boxy.

    The washable crepe would be fantastic travel wear.

  5. March 2, 2011 / 2:02 pm

    I think EF has improved, is better understanding the changes in their market. I love some of the tops but the pants are universally too short, and the skirts do not flatter me, they are too boxy, accenting my boxy lower half in a not-flattering way, although I wore a few of them when I was younger and slimmer and this was less of an issue.

  6. March 2, 2011 / 3:17 pm

    I love the way EF pants fit, except they are too short! I copied the pattern from a pair of EF cropped pants, and have made a couple pairs of long pants in linen. But, I wish they would offer a long size. Coldwater Creek does that, most of the pants in their stores are in regular length, but you can order them in Long. Maybe us taller girls could start an email campaign to EF,

  7. March 2, 2011 / 3:23 pm

    I just love the fact that they used a gorgeous gray haired model.

  8. March 2, 2011 / 4:11 pm

    These looks are much more fun than I associate with Eileen Fisher, although admittedly I have much less experience with her full range up here — I went looking for that foldover ponte skirt, for example, and Holt’s didn’t carry it in their EF section (and other than ordering on-line, not sure where I could check more out here above the 49th. . .
    I love what you’ve shown here, but am trying to ignore all siren calls ’til I get on that plane . . .

  9. Jill Ann
    March 2, 2011 / 5:19 pm

    For those in an area with Dillard’s stores, check the EF department next week….my store here in Houston is having “EF Week”, which involves something like “buy $X of merchandise and receive a gift card”. I don’t exactly remember the amounts, though, but it would not be hard to spend a lot of money buying EF!

    I was planning to go and try several pieces, based on all your recommendations. Am a bit concerned about the short-pants problem many of you are mentioning, as I am on the tall side. But we’ll see!

  10. March 2, 2011 / 5:23 pm

    We’ve got an EF here at the shopping center. I’ve never been in. But I really like these colors. And the grey-haired model, check!

  11. March 2, 2011 / 5:33 pm

    Today I am wearing a nubby variegated gray EF sweater I bought three years ago. My husband was just commenting that it reminds him of sweater I wore when we were dating.

    Last year I bought two long open weave open front short sleeved sweaters (one in ecru, the other in black) that look great for casual evenings out. I bought the ecru (crepe) pants as the shade of ecru is a bit different and I needed pants to match. Those particular pants are long enough (I’m 5’8″) but I didn’t realize when I bought them how THIN and see through the fabric is. Thank goodness the sweater is long and camoflauges the fact that you can see my underwear through the pants.

    I do have a pair of white EF jeans that are long enough, but most EF pants are too short for me.

    I have had no luck with EF dresses—they look awkward and unflattering on me.

    One of my best EF purchases was pricey ($198) but worth it. It is a short black silk jacket with three quarter sleeves and a very wonderful texture—strips of silk–and is wonderful over any black dress. It is a go to garment for all kinds of occasions.

    I do best with EF sweaters and such–but I am always studying the “tips” page for new ideas.

    The fabrics ARE great, but the prices are hard to justify for such casual items.

  12. Katriona
    March 2, 2011 / 5:41 pm

    Yowzah! Now this is fabulous! I also love the Cascading Jacket in the stretch linen, belted or un.And the light cashmere tunic, and the silk sponge jacket.And the graphite and stone collies that make me want to chuck out half of my closet ( this will pass,as I like colours too much to get all Zen minimalist for very long)Although….a few of these items could constitute a great travel wardrobe for warmer weather….Like spring trip to Europe…just thinking…

  13. Marguerite
    March 2, 2011 / 2:38 pm

    EF is my go to wardrobe. I’ve had some of her knit pants 5-7 yrs. Just returned from San Francisco where I bought several new pieces for spring/summer. I also found a lovely black merino shawl collar sweater jacket on winter markdown. It’s perfect for travel and an upcoming trip to Amsterdam and Paris in April. The washable crepe fabrics are divine and also make every trip with me. I love that I can mix between missy and petite sizes for the perfect fit. For me it’s quality over quantity. Love.

  14. March 2, 2011 / 10:56 pm

    If the EF team reads this, I want them to know that I would rather pay the prices than sacrifice the quality of fabrics.

  15. Sal
    March 2, 2011 / 4:40 pm

    Thanks so much for the shout-out! I am more in love with Eileen’s designs than every before.

  16. Marguerite
    March 2, 2011 / 5:12 pm

    Do check out EF’s web site. You can order anything directly from them. They have a personal shopper and will try and find anything from past collections. I have found them very responsive and easy to work with. The personal shopper page has the color collections as well. They are working on a Facebook page so we can keep up with new looks! Can’t wait.

  17. March 3, 2011 / 3:22 am

    frugalscholar – I wash my silk jersey tops in the machine on the gentle cycle (cold water) and then hang to dry. Some of my silk jersey tops are now going on three years old and still look good, so even though they weren’t cheap, they were a good value. I’m eyeing those washable wool crepe pants for our trip (the full length ones).

    Julianne – you’ll probably see a lot of Eileen Fisher pieces here in the future! This label has been slowly taking over my closet and now forms the foundation of my wardrobe.

    Northmoon – I’ll have something up next week about the jacket. It’s a contender!

    Duchesse – I’m really loving this aesthetic these days! And the styles/fabrics are really workable for my life. I love that they carry through some of the neutrals from season to season, so you can build up a coordinated wardrobe over time. So far I’ve found the silk jersey pieces *excellent* for traveling due to the easy wash/dry. The wool crepe pieces will probably comprise a good portion of my travel wardrobe.

    Mardel – have you tried the knit skirts? I was surprised at how flattering they were. The more structured skirts don’t work for me, but love the knits. Hopefully the EF designers will offer more styles of pants in a Tall length, as that seems to be a common issue.

  18. March 3, 2011 / 3:37 am

    Marguerite – EF has become the basis for my wardrobe too. Good to hear that the wool crepe knit pieces travel well, as I’m looking at those for our upcoming trip. Quality over quantity, exactly!

    Rita – I did find one style of pants available in tall, but hopefully the EF folks will get the message they need to offer more!

    Belle – isn’t she stunning??

    materfamilias – that’s understandable; with six weeks you’ll have lots of time to do some serious Retail Reconaissance while on your trip!

    Sal – you’re very welcome, and me too!

    Marguerite – good suggestion about the personal shopper!

    Jill Ann – hope you find some things you like!

    LPC – the aesthetic is definitely more on the Artsy Cousin spectrum. But they have some great Sturdy Gal tees and other basics.

    Susan – some of their silk jackets really are fabulous. The aesthetic probably is more casual by the standards where you are, but many of the pieces are so simple they can be dressed up or down. I think the quality is usually quite good, and like you would rather see the price point stay the same rather than sacrifice the quality.

    Katriona – great minds think alike. 😉 Yes, EF pieces will probably constitute a majority of my travel wardrobe….

    Lorena – that’s great! Rust is a very versatile color too.

    Who Moved My Birkin – thanks so much!

  19. March 3, 2011 / 3:45 am

    Loved the older model! And the clothes are beautiful too.

  20. March 3, 2011 / 4:40 am

    Style Crone – she’s really gorgeous isn’t she?

  21. Lorena
    March 2, 2011 / 9:30 pm

    I actually picked up a rust colored cardigan from Eileen Fisher last week and wore it yesterday…. it’s going to become one of my favorite pieces.

  22. Anonymous
    March 3, 2011 / 6:36 am

    Ooh, those asymmetric Fall pieces in teal and indigo! They remind me of the super-pricey minimalist things from Urban Zen that I would so dearly love to wear.

    For those who find EF’s regular prices too high, I suggest visiting a store and asking when the next sale will be. The saleswomen are generally lovely and helpful. I’ve also had luck finding things (some wonderful handkerchief linens) in thrift shops, but even the basics I’ve paid full price for have cost pennies per wearing–these clothes work hard, and they last.


  23. March 3, 2011 / 1:45 pm

    C – I agree with you about the price point, and the wearability. I can hardly wait to see the fall pieces!

    RoseAG – in the past I’ve had a couple of Chico’s Travelers knit jackets that I found to be very flattering, but wasn’t crazy about their fabric. I’d purchased the black ponte knit asymmetrical jacket a few months back and wear it constantly. I’ve found that knit jackets tend to have that happy medium between softness and structure for me.

  24. RoseAG
    March 3, 2011 / 11:49 am

    Have you had knit jackets you liked before?

    I’ve had a couple and there has been just something about them that they never turned into heavily worn items. It may be something about the shape of the fabric.

    I’m not all that thrifty but I would try one out at a lower price point and see how I liked it before I shelled out multiple hundreds of dollars for one.

  25. Chicatanyage
    March 3, 2011 / 5:28 pm

    Love the stunning grey hair on the model. Also like the Eileen Fisher. Unfortunately can’t seem to find it in the UK. Anybody know if it is available in Europe?

    • May 12, 2014 / 7:33 am

      There is now a boutique in covent garden and fenwicks has a concession…

  26. May 12, 2014 / 7:32 am

    Great info here! I just discovered EF and love her clothes. So tactile.

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