Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Imagine - an update

We've heard back from Eileen Fisher....

A world where we could all make our shopping choices with these criteria in mind....

After receiving some really intelligent, well thought-out and important comments on this subject, I contacted Eileen Fisher customer service and invited them to visit here and read your feedback to their organization.  We shall see if they respond...



  1. And it does not hurt that the knits drape beautifully, wear like iron, do not need dry cleaning, have no visible labels, and make me feel well dressed five years after the purchase.

  2. Yes, this is one of the reasons I feel good about my Eileen Fisher purchases, aside from the reasons Cornelia states above.

  3. Belovedest recent told me that he thought I should buy all of my clothes from Eileen Fisher. Even knowing her prices, he just like her clothes, on me, that much! I don't know that I'd ever go 100%, but it certainly has given me something to consider.

    Friday hugs all around!

  4. I love many Eileen Fisher pieces, too. And lately, I find the quality of some of the clothing just isn't what I expect for the price.

    Thanks as always for your great blog - first thing I read each am.

    1. I think we've got to use our intelligence and our experience when shopping with her, just as with any other brand. But all other things being equal, I don't mind looking at her things first! thanks for the compliments, too - I work really hard on this blog, and I'm always happy to hear that it's helpful or interesting for someone!

  5. I did not know this about Eileen Fisher. Good information! :)

  6. I do like the information provided in the label and it certainly shows a higher level of responsibility. I wish all designers/manufacturers would do the same. As far as Eileen Fisher's designs, I have been wondering about the great following that Eileen Fisher has. I haven't found any styles that I am willing to buy. The pieces offered in my local stores seem so boxy and shapeless, very pajama-like. Maybe it is just the particular pieces carried by my local stores, but I haven't seen anything like the lovely dresses you have, Janice.

    1. You have to really look around - she actually makes quite a few body-conscious styles, including cropped tops, leggings, etc. Her clothes are carried in almost any major department store - I often find that I like what's at Nordstrom much more than what's in her store! Also check online - there are often things there that you don't see anywhere else.

  7. This posting hits home for me too. I just finished reading "Overdressed - the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion" which was an eyeopener. I highly recommend the book - great insight into the issues of outsourcing and decreasing ability to produce affordable products in North America. Janice, you have created quite a community through your blog! So many of us pop by every day to see what you have been musing about and comment on your postings.

    1. I recently worked for a national dept. store and was shocked on the decreasing quality in women's clothes. (The men's clothes don't seem to have been hit - yet - by the same overall decline in quality.) I buy clothes infrequently and really look for quality but it's been getting harder to find it at an affordable level. It appears that the trend has been to buy lots of clothes that may be worn only once or a few times, so that durable quality is less of an issue. But for the "fruglistas" like me who invest in quality clothes with the expectation of having favorite pieces last a few seasons or longer, this trend of cheap expendable clothing doesn't work. Most shocking is the disconnect between quality and price! Some higher priced clothing can be made from poor quality fabric or are too trendy to invest in. I guess in this instance people are paying for a name or brand. So I really have to shop around. I have found that cashmere sweaters in the men's dept. are of higher quality that the same item across the store in the ladies' dept. -- and often $10 or more cheaper. A navy or black V-neck cashmere sweater in men's small or medium can easily pass for a woman's. And the argyles!!!!

  8. Although I agree with the ethics consideration, the comments confirm my impression: drapy, boxy, but also cropped or leggings - actually the last things this short curvy girl would be looking for! I would look like a legless sack in these styles. So much easier for ladies with good proportions, however short/tall/thin/fat!! Ah well, the search goes on...

    1. It's true that right now she's offering a lot of boxy styles as those are what's on trend right now. But there are some more flattering A-line pieces in the "essentials" collection, which are primarily what I wear and find to be most flattering (I'm short - 5'1" - and curvy, BTW). I'm hoping when the silhouettes change again that there will be more of the longer, narrower pieces I've come to depend on.

    2. Disregarding ethics for a moment, I have just discovered that Hobbs (UK) clothes are a good fit on me, unexpectedly. Most garments I looked at did openly say Made in China, though, however the quality is beautiful for a very decent price. (Just as an aside for Déjà Pseu)

  9. i've been a devoted customer of EF ..
    sadly , the quality is nowhere what it used to be ...
    ever since the the move to 'made in china ' rather than 'made in the USA ' i canno longer justify the prices & " fair trade " bullcrap ..
    i wrote quite a long letter in the hopes that it would be read by a 30 year customer & maybe taken seriously as i love the design concept ( or at least i did ) ..
    very disappointed in EF & can no longer justify buying made in china clothing ...
    she has changed like so many other once reputable companies ....

    1. This is one of the reasons I was SO pleased to see that they included "Made in the USA" on these tags - they seem to understand that outsourced cheapness is NOT what all of us want.

    2. for me to reprimand EF in a letter after 30 years of 'dependance ' on her is a sad day ..
      i mean i was a devoted customer to the max !
      but i can no longer justify the prices for made in china products ..
      the last casual pullover top was stitched together in such a haphazard way & so obviously badly made , i decided i could no longer pretend i wasn't upset ..@ 300 bucks !!!!! no sireeee
      i am not rich & my money is hard to come by ..
      i take real good care of the stuff i have because i can't stand crappy clothing ..
      i felt that i was 'ripped off '...
      politically too , enough is enough ..
      i was paying more for the clothing because it was made in the USA ..
      NOW THAT IT'S MADE IN CHINA ???!!! & at the same price nuh-uh ..
      i've resolved to support small mom n' pop operations & i have commited to 'made in the USA ' ..
      i know i'm only 1 person ..
      but i'm stickin' to my guns !
      my hope is that EF will realize that some of her customers have strong ethics & will not tolerate the ' free trade con game ' i am livid that she thinks her customers are sooooooooooo stupid ..
      anyway ..
      a pleasure to read your comment ...
      thank you ...
      ( from a very stylish... hip.. adventurous politically aware ol' gal)

  10. I swooned when I first saw EF around 20 years ago--there were a few coordinating pieces, all washable, including the wool. Now the selections have exploded!

    Lots of EF is now made elsewhere--and that fact is not reflected in the prices. And at UAL--a regional liquidator--lots of the clothes are from EF--and many of the fragile knits are shredded. I bought a merino garment from Nordstroms last year: when it arrived, I noticed all the pulls!

    I am a crab and I guess I just wish I could justify buying more. I do buy a little.

    1. you arer NOT a crab ...heeheehee
      there comes a point where we must remain true to ourselves & our own ethics !
      EF has crossed the line ...
      i am only 1 person but losing me as a customer will be a loss of several thou' a year ..
      i prefer to now support single struggling women who know how to sew ..
      i w2ill no longer support corporative mentality con artists ..
      that 'free trade ' crapola was the last straw for me...
      there comes a time where a line in the sand must be drawn ..
      i know most people don't care but for a little more one can have handmade clothing & know that they are supporting a single or struggling woman ....
      i just couldn't justify it anymore ..her clothing is now on the level of J.JILL ....
      sadly , this comes from one of her most devoted customers ...

  11. I agree with the comments concerning Eileen Fisher's diminishing quality and have, sadly, noticed the same issue with other companies, such as Lands End and Eddie Bauer. They are just not producing the quality that they used to and there has been no diminishing prices to go along with diminishing quality.

    That said, what brands, or stores, do other readers recommend. I am particularly interested in good quality knit sweaters and if the company carries tall sizes, they get extra points.

  12. yes the sleeves are getting shorter & shorter ..
    & similar issues with most companies ...
    L.bean is still hanging in ...& they are a reputable company ..
    the clothing is designed according to the customer ...
    but very conservative ...
    haven't tried them recently but supposedly J.crew is decent for sweaters ..they used to be great !
    winter clothes are especially difficult ...
    a coat? forget it ...
    for years i had my clothing made & i am def' going back to that concept for important pieces ...
    yes , lands end , eddie bauer used to be great...
    still have a raincoat from eddie ..heeheehee
    very well made ...
    i recommend 'nordie's too ...
    the customer service is great ..they have decent sales & some good brands ...
    sierratrading is great if you need rugged techwear or 'expedition' type outdoor ski clothing ...some lux brands...
    separate category for made in the USA..
    they are very aware of this issue ....
    i hope EF listens to her customers but now i'm thinking she must have sold the company ..
    her philosophy of using italian fabrics , made in the USA was something she was once proud of ..
    now she plays the 'fairtrade' game ....???!!!
    to pretend this is not an issue or think that her longtime customers don't remember or care is an insult ..

  13. I also read that Overdressed book. And it's frustrating because it's hard to find good quality clothing. I'm willing to pay for it. I really just like basics with some scarves thrown in. I'm ready to go back to making all my own clothes but this just isn't practical for some items.

  14. I love EF clothing and buy many items directly from her website at great bargain prices. In terms of cost per wear, I find many of her "essential" items to be...well...essential! In particular, I love the foldover waist maxi skirts, the draped neck dresses, the silk jersey tunics, and the merino wool cardigans in all sorts of interesting, architectural styles. I never buy the boxy styles and still have hundreds of great options to choose from.

    Not sure how we got onto the "made in China" issue here, as the tag displayed in the post clearly states "made in the USA." Check the EF website and take a look at the many options.

  15. Thank you all for taking the time to share your valuable feedback. We’re so sorry to hear that you’ve been disappointed with our clothes recently. And thank you, Janice, for bringing this passionate group of readers and EF fans together to share your thoughtful concerns. Please know we are deeply committed to producing quality, timeless design. We stand behind the quality of our clothes and we will take back almost any garment to fix it. Please contact our Customer Service Team at 866.512.5197 to learn more about our Repair Program, which has been in place for several years now to ensure the longevity of our clothes.

    We currently produce 25% of our line in the US and are committed to bringing more production back in the States. As for the garments that are made in China, we are driven by our belief in producing quality garments and working with suppliers for the past 15 – 20 years that share similar values. Price has very little to do with our decision to manufacture in China.

    Thank you again for all your thoughts. If you have any other questions, we invite you to email our Social Consciousness Leader Amy directly at socialconsciousness@eileenfisher.com. Please know we are listening and will be share your feedback with the company.


  16. Thanks for the update, Janice, and thank you to Eileen Fisher for responding. I personally have not had any problems with quality and been very happy with my purchases over the years.

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  19. Not sure what your agenda is "anonymous" but seems to me you protest a little too much...

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    1. Please - this is the first time I have seen rude posts on this blog - it's possible to state our opinion (concisely) without being impolite.

    2. Yep, I think we've been had. So, Janice, carry on with your most excellent blog.

  21. Frankly, I have always like Eileen Fisher pieces. I don't own a lot of them, but the pieces I have are among my favorites. These are classic, well made, excellent pieces and I've never had an issue with quality amongst any of them.

    I'm always appreciative for the cuts as well. Many high quality clothing designers do not take a woman's shape. I am not a large woman (I'm 5'4" and wear a fairly standard size 6) but have found that many companies design for women who do not have hips, a chest and a smaller waist. Sadly, many other companies just seem to be designed for a 13 year old boy in shape! EF doesn't do this. And I'm grateful!

    I'm proud to be an EF fan.

  22. I have EF pieces from over 15 years ago that I still treasure. The prices are shocking now, so I have cut back on them. That, and the boxy styles aren't best for me, but her linen and silk bias cut skirts and dresses are my staples in the summer. I still get compliments and queries!

  23. EF pieces are cut for the older body: I really appreciate the ease around the mid-section. BUT--it is hard (impossible--I am a tightwad) for me to spend $100 and up on a rayon/viscose blend tank top or tunic. Most of EF's clothing is not lined. The construction is simple (that's part of the appeal). Generally, I find the prices way of out line for the labor/fabric/style/construction.

    Also, as I said in a previous post, the garments are often of fragile knits--like the wool item I got direct from Nordie's that had pulls.

    Patagonia is also a socially conscious company, perhaps even more so. Yet their prices for sportswear (as opposed to technical garments) seem reasonable compared to EF's.

    Still, few of the pieces I crave ever go on sale, so obviously there are lots of people willing to pay the price.

  24. I have just this year made the switch from wearing mostly a variety of items from Nordstrom to almost 100% Eileen Fisher. This was influenced by two changes in my life - 1) a desire to reduce dry cleaning and 2) a 50% work travel schedule. As to the first, I read an article about Eileen Fisher's personal revelation about dry cleaning. And as a lifelong knitter of fine fibers, I personally feel most of these fibers fare better with careful wet cleaning than dry cleaning. As to the second item, I found that sticking to basic pieces that can mix and match saves me from overpacking. Kudos to EF for giving each color a name and sticking with those colors season after season. In some ways, garanimals for grownups! I'm full of the EF love today.

  25. Just bought my first EF based on the initial post. I LOVE it. I'm saving up to invest in a LBD (or equivalent as Janice so wonderfully demonstrated in an earlier series of posts.) As for the boxy styles, some are over-sized as well. Try going down a size for a more flattering fit. I'm 5'3 and 'curvy' and it worked for me. -L

  26. Too bad these clothes only come in large sizes.

  27. Late to the discussion. I got my first Eileen Fisher shirt about 6-7 years ago and fell in love. I have been happy with most of the pieces I have bought over the years. I think the quality is wonderful, I have not seen a significant decline as stated by other commentators. In fact, 80% of my wardrobe is from Eileen Fisher. I really do not think they go out of style, especially if you buy the right pieces. The prices are too high, I agree. I get them on triple sale from the Rack or E-bay. I think Eileen Fisher is one of the best companies if you want to look at Ethics, where do you find a company that the founder wants to share the fruit of her hard work with her employees? I admire Eileen. Not sure why she is getting such bad rap.

  28. I think perhaps she is being set to higher standards exactly because she, herself, made ethics a big part of her advertised mission statement. I am not taking sides in the debate of styles and quality. I have never owned an EF garment. I find it regrettable when it has become so common among companies (European, Canadian and American) are going to China for whatever their reasons. None of them do pass their savings of production on to the consumer and I am stumped to see any reason to move production out of North America and Europe other than costs. Kudos to Janice for having such a popular blog that EF found it necessary to respond. That is more a credit to Janice's blog and readers than it is to Eileen Fisher.