By Marcie Everhart
After solemnly vowing no more mindless, impulsive shopping for senseless clothes, I was standing in line at Dillard’s to pay for shoes nabbed on sale in a mindless, impulsive, senseless moment. (But they’re shiny, and $30, and sport a sensible 2-inch heel! And I sent a quick pic to my husband for his opinion and he said ‘Chrome-plated shoes. Sparkly!’ So even he saw these shoes needed to be in my arsenal!)
A flyer caught my eye touting the different services the department store offered including a consultation to “build a wardrobe with 9 easy pieces in the Ladies Department.” Well, that sounded like an eclectic dresser’s worst nightmare, streamlined and organized … and something I definitely needed to do.
Two days later, I booked an appointment with Nila. She asked my size (ohh 6-10, 7-11, S-XL depending, you know sizing today, heh-heh), color preferences (anything but that pale PINK you see everywhere, uhm, I’m a ‘winter’? Is that something still in play today?), pant leg width preferred (I’m 5’2″ so the skinny leg is probably a little better), and lifestyle needs (a writer working from home with occasional outside meetings, blah).
Nila giggled when we met, and I soon discovered why. She nailed EVERYTHING, to fit me to a tee from colors to silhouettes. It was the fashion consultation equivalent of spiking the football. And I soon got to experience the brilliance of her and the brand she chose for me: Eileen Fisher.
I learned that Eileen Fisher is a “bridge” brand, serving as a bridge between the young/ trendy/ cheap/ casual and the old-lady/ classic/ godawful expensive/ stiff, uptight formal wear. (You know Nila used none of those words actually, right? Lol.) This “bridge” in between is the ultimate sweet spot for over-fifty women with clothes that can be dressed up or down, won’t break the bank with excellent quality, and are ageless, flattering, tasteful, flexible, responsible, and intelligent. Half of Eileen’s website explains sourcing for materials such as her organic cotton and responsible wool and recycled fibers. These are clothes that work in all occasions, for the woman who does not have time for the nonsense the industry has become.
I couldn’t be more pleased with everything Nila brought forth. She laid all this brand info on me, had outfits composed before I got there, showed how to style one piece five ways with each piece, and taught me two new ways to tie a scarf for this fall/winter. Sigh. This is how grown-ups shop.
Well, let’s see the NINE PIECES!
1. The Black Tank Midi Dress
Wear it alone, or with any sweater and scarf over it, or with any mock neck top in any color under it, or for that matter any top at all under it, or over leggings. There’s no sagging in the armhole area — you’re the only one who gets to see your bra — and extra space in the waist. Throw it in the washer. These pieces never fade or stretch or roll.
I’m giving Dillard’s links for a reason. A special event for Eileen Fisher items begins Sunday September 16 at every Dillard’s store location, I’m told. For every $500 spent, you’ll get a $75 reward certificate. The event ends September 22. Also, this is super important: everything is available in plus sizes as well. All women, of any size or shape, accommodated. Thank you.
2. The Blue Boxy Sweater (over the black tank dress)
Isn’t it a relief to not worry that people can easily discern your belly button through your clothes? And this sweater is a “boxy” cut that flatters instead of making people look sloppy and slouchy.
3. A Navy Pant with Pockets (with the blue sweater)
Eileen offers two different pants: one a thinner crepe, the other thicker fabric with cute POCKETS on the hip bones. Note: You will not see any dimpling through these. Additional Note: Obviously these were designed by a woman.
4. The Plum Mock Neck Top (under the black tank dress)
Excellent quality and color saturation.
5. The Denim Dress
Tied in front … tied in back …
… and with a cardigan over. Btw, this cardigan looks thick and heavy. Not. It’s lightweight, layered, in a very breathable weave.
Here’s the same denim dress worn as a top or jacket, unbuttoned, with jeans.
What’s the big deal with the scarves? It’s a glorious way to hide any neck issues suddenly happening in your life. Someone like Nila can teach you in person how to twist and tuck, and achieve a polished result.
6. The Black Tunic/ Dress
This tunic/ dress/ top/ jacket was my favorite of all. The unexpected mandarin collar, perfect length, and the piece-de-resistance? POCKETS. Cheap clothes never have pockets — they don’t want to spare the fabric. Pockets are quaint, indulgent, a place to put your lunch money. :^)
These leggings are not EF, but chosen to illustrate how you can wear any of your crazy leggings or jeans with this top. Have you been reluctant to roll the bottom of thin jersey leggings like me? Nila shook her head at me and rolled those puppies. It looks so much cooler. An exposed ankle helps ground a flowy piece visually.
7. The Beige Boxy Sweater
Black crepe pant with the plum mock neck top and the boxy sweater in an oatmeal.
8. The Crepe Pant in Black and 9. The Black Thin Cardigan
Wear any white top with them, but Eileen’s shell is excellent quality, long — covers the bum!
These are stripped-down, minimalist works of art. When you see a woman wearing these pieces, you really see HER and not the clothes distracting from her unique essence. You are forced to see her mind, personality, and heart — her humanity.
The Real-Real Behind the Scenes
The photograph on the wall of the dressing room is the same black tank midi dress I first tried on.
If you’d like to read more about Eileen, this story is beautifully written. Apparently, she had a Japanese lover early in life, and the culture’s powerful minimal aesthetic stayed with her. She has always been attracted to simple modernism. Another tidbit: She is the preferred brand for classy, no-nonsense women like professors, attorneys, editors, psychotherapists, administrators, etc.
This post is not sponsored by anybody. Eileen Fisher is just that good. A brand for everybody, for anyone who wants to turn down the noise.
A Little Background Music
*Photos of Marcie and Nila shot by Marcie and Nila at Dillard’s/ Sooner Fashion Mall/ Norman, OK