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.