Eileen Fisher Gets An Unwanted Makeover

by Kate on April 21, 2021

Going after a younger market, Eileen Fisher, the venerable anti-fashion feminist, has hired new designers to give her look a lift. Here’s why this strategy isn’t going to work.

First, Eileen Fisher is, well, Eileen Fisher. It’s a brand for older women who like comfort but want to do it in a stylish way. My mother-in-law used to really enjoy wearing Eileen Fisher and knew that whenever she donned those outfits she looked effortlessly great. Good solid clothes that weren’t showy of flashy or trendy. Perfect for a woman of a certain age.

And what makes a woman of any age look good? Knowing herself and knowing her style. Only now my mother-in-law is perplexed at what she finds in the Eileen Fisher stores. She thinks, maybe, it’s too young for her now. Not good to alienate your loyal customer base.

Second, what young woman (over the age of 21) do you know that strives to be seen as “older”? There is a billion dollar beauty business that capitalizes on women’s needs to look younger. So why would a young woman shop at Eileen Fisher? It’s known as an older woman’s brand. Changing that perception will be extremely hard.

Ahh, their new designs you might say.

Well, I’ve perused the Eileen Fisher website to see if anything appeals to me. I dress on the simple side, tend toward neutrals - I might in fact be their new target market. Unfortunately adding a few jackets, some bling and a splash of color doesn’t make up for the fact that Eileen Fisher’s clothes “hide” a woman’s figure.

I might not have the best figure out there (Lord, who does and actually thinks they do?!?) but I know that wearing clothes that fit my figure flatter my body. I don’t see much in the way of “fit” when I look at the new Eileen Fisher Spring look.

So, not for me. Now, I realize that I’m not every woman and there might be some of you out there that think Eileen Fisher just found the sweet spot of fashion. If so, I’d love to hear from you.

In my humble opinion, Eileen Fisher is playing fast and loose with her market. If she, herself, doesn’t wear the clothes that her line is designing (she’s notoriously against trendy clothes, high heels, or even make-up) why would anyone else?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy L September 9, 2020 at 12:27 pm

I’ve been wearing Eileen Fisher since I was in my 30s … and I’ve always had a slim figure, size 8. To me, the clothing has always represented a global, artistic, and organic sensibility. Quality fabrics, and a modernist twist. The kind of clothing I see worn by fellow artists, writers, and other creatives — of any age. I’ve worn her leggings and slim cut jackets to great effect … not all of her stuff is as baggy as people might think. Whenever I wear her clothes — often — people ask me where I bought them and are usually surprised when I explain that the clothes are Eileen Fishers — and I have had many of the pieces for a number of years and keep adding new things.

Her new line has shorter skirts, which I’ve purchased and enjoy. But I am equally slim and at home in her maxi-length black sun dresses….

Becky August 22, 2021 at 8:57 pm

I am 35 and have recently discovered the “new” Eileen Fisher via Garnet Hill’s website. I used to always think of her clothes in terms of my MIL, so I was surprised to discover that her new fashions appeal to me. I tried one of her classic dresses that was featured on a young model (organic cotton, ballet neck, cap sleeves, knee length) and was amazed both at the high quality and how comfortable yet flattering the dress was. For the record, I am a size 2 and petite. Since it was fitted at the top and flared to a gentle A-Line, it created a stylish baby doll shape, which also lends itself perfectly to fashionable accessories (belts, scarves, heels, boots). Granted, this was not by any stretch a “sexy” dress, but it was clearly going to be a very versatile piece in my wardrobe. Therefore, I do think that there is a place for Eileen Fisher in the “under 50″ market and that her pieces can be mixed and matched to blend with the current trends, while her younger wearers also enjoy the high quality of her garments. I will definitely be buying more of her pieces in the future.

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