We love Eileen Fisher

The American brand Eileen Fisher will be more familiar to our US readers (hello Kay, yes we know you live in it!) than our UK ones, but it’s great the brand has opened in London because it totally understands our market in terms of both product and store shopping experience. OK, so we’re not talking cutting edge fashion here, Eileen’s clothes are comfy, deliberately easy to wear and very easy to mix together, quality is very high but it’s not what you’d call ‘edgy’ fashion. But I think there are going to be lots of women our age who totally love this stylish, easy aesthetic served up in the best shopping experience I’ve had for ages.

The store is spacious, has no mannequins (it doesn’t want to make customers feel ostracised with skinny ones), has easy to read rails that aren’t crammed with stock and a ‘feature wall’ with styled up ideas to try. Changing rooms are spacious, with seats for friends, reverse mirrors so you can see behind and well lit. But the impressive thing is the service, which is based on the US version. In the states, it’s not unusual for customers to visit three or four times a week, sales staff and customers often hug when greeting and there are dog treats kept under the counter for visiting canines. For me, it’s the service that could knock everyone else out of the water in terms of shopping experience, staff are great. There’s even a designed-for-customer-use bathroom, and very smart it is too, isn’t that sensible?

The clothes are expensive and for me this was a downfall as I know some of you will question the prices (jumpers are around £180-£220, dresses £200 -£300 ish) but the fabrics are excellent and really well cut for older bodies, with good armholes, soft around the tummy and attention paid to fashionable but not scary shapes. Recently the brand revamped itself in the US and brought in a much younger thinking attitude, so the slightly ‘frumpy’ look that COULD accompany the clothes, doesn’t happen, check out the website for an idea of the brand’s thinking, it’s fab, I love the Tipsters.

I really liked the Underpinnings range, which is a selection of basic vests, slips, trousers and T shirts that are designed as your foundation, on top of which you can put anything you like (below). I have splashed out on a superfine Tencel and cashmere shirt tail T shirt (below left, £142, I know, I said it was expensive) which is incredibly fine but also tough, to work as my warm layer under glossier shirts. Not everything is that pricey, I’m just easily swayed by a fab yarn-feel.

Colours are mostly classic black and grey with shots of dark fuchsia, aubergine, scarlet and navy, there are also shoes and boots. If you do need a shot of edgier fashion to keep you happy, the store in Covent Garden is situated right next door to COS. Clever eh?

There are two stores in London, Covent Garden and Marylebone High Street (opens this Sunday) and a concession in Fenwicks. Let us know what you think.

9 Comments

  • Monix says:

    Just cannot wait for the Marylebone branch to open. I have been pressing my nose against the glass for months now and know that will transform into me licking the windows!
    EF is the perfect basics supplier – I have bought items in the US that 8 years later I am still wearing (silk camisoles & T shirts, fine wool pallazo pants etc) and yes, I agree it is expensive but “cost-per-wear” is my new chant.
    Some of their “yoke pants” I find a bit frumpy and unflattering but there are other styles.
    I do hope they bring their customer service too – as you say, fabby

    Another brand which is similar but the fabric quality is not so good is Ronen Chen, an Isreali designer with a shop in Portman village (Marylebone) and an adequate website.

    Thanks for a great blog!

    Monix

  • déjà pseu says:

    I live in California, and love Eileen Fisher. I started collecting her basic pieces a few years ago, and yes, still have those first few pieces (silk jersey tops) I purchased. Wash them by hand, hang to dry, they last and last. The color offerings change from season to season, but always seem to coordinate well with past season’s basics. Yes, the price is steep but these really are investment clothes. They simplify getting dressed in the morning and they’re so flattering even for those of us over 50.

  • Amanda says:

    good to hear Monix, I think the basics are the best buy too, I am too much of a fashion girl to buy the main range -although it’s nice stuff- but the basics, or underpinnings, are worth a look. A

  • gillian taylor says:

    These clothes all look fabulous but as you say are quite pricey! It does infuriate me that ordinary high street shops just find it so difficult to produce lovely colours, easy basics and fabulous styles – M&S shocking – very rare that you find something gorgeous there anymore – Gap – where did it all go so wrong? – Wallis – oh lord I could just sit down and cry when I go in there – and goodness me Mary, Mary I had such high hopes!!! Moan over!!

  • Belinda says:

    I’m with Monix – I have also been pressing my nose against the refit glass in Marylebone High Streetm and badgering the FaceBook site to say when the damn thing was going to open. I originally thought — Noooooooo! when I was told (in NY last year) the the long discussed UK openings were on, I didn’t want everyone to be wearing it. Selfish, I know. But I’m pleased now and intend to rock up on Monday morning with time on my hands to browse, ponder, and buy.

  • Kay says:

    We will have to confirm this but it seems to me that EF is doing the same pricing trick that Anthropologie has done when moving to the UK—simply changing the dollar sign to the pound sign–outrageous! But it will make it bargain shopping to go to EF in the US! Here, it’s relatively expensive but comparable to shopping at Macy’s or Lord & Taylor versus Saks/Bergdorf’s. Here it seems they have consciously aimed at the middle-aged consumer in terms of price as well as style and fit; I would hesitate to pay the UK prices, even for my stylish frumpwear of choice. I do love that since the revamp, they have shapes other than square sacks.

    ALSO, in the US, EF has very good sales at the end of the season, and they are well-publicized to regular customers. So I typically get a few pieces at the beginning of the season that I can’t wait for or don’t think will survive to the sale, and then pick up nice bargains at the sale a couple of months later.

  • Pam says:

    Yikes! Those UK prices are frightful. As someone on the slippery slope of Very Late Middle Age who hasn’t been in fashion since college, if ever, I depend on EF every day to keep me from venturing out in my pajamas. I could never afford so many of her clothes if I didn’t live in NYC, where, within an hour’s drive, there are several outlets, called Company Stores, with greatly reduced prices. Most of the clothes are from the previous season, but with EF that’s hardly a problem. For any of your readers who might be planning a trip here, there is a tiny shop right in the city on East 9th (a great street for all sorts of shopping) that has a selection ranging from full cost to sale and one-off sample pieces. There are even baskets just inside the door with odds and ends for about $20. As in all the stores, the ladies who work there are lovely.

  • Amanda says:

    Pam and Kay, thanks for the knowledgeable tips, it seems the general consensus is the product is good, and worth searching out a good outlet store for when we visit the US! Ax

  • Belinda says:

    Having now shopped in both London branches I’m a bit concerned about the staff in Covent Garden. Has anyone else found them lacking in just about every essential selling skill? It ain’t going to work unless the shops know the range and relate to the clients…

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