Reader Question: Should Busty, Poochy Mamas Turn To Mature Brands? (Eileen Fisher in Particular)

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Reader Question:

HI Shana and Molly, 
I have been thinking ALOT about your quality over quantity post; and I am scared I am not quite sure where to start.  I love the idea of spending more money on the basics i.e. great tees, knits, jeans, and boots to wear over and over.  The only problem is…the quality stuff  (J brand, Splendid, James Perse, J Crew etc) seem to be made for normal bodies. Where do we turn for the crazy big breasted, poochy, petite mommy bodies?  I am lost.  I was browsing Nordstrom's website and some of Eileen Fisher things look cute with good reviews.  Have you tried her brand?  I would LOVE more quality suggestions for the odd shapes of this world. 

Hugs and Kisses

xoxo

Leslie

Answer:

Leslie, this is a great question.  The short answer is YES:  Stylish, flattering pieces can be found virtually anywhere.  But some brands make it harder to find that hot-young-mom vibe we're all craving.

Now, for Eileen Fisher in particular….after your inquiry came in, I've spent a good amount of time perusing her line and reading reviews.  Her clothing is pricey, but what you are essentially paying for is a great cut and fabulous fabric.  Eileen Fisher clothing drapes and moves in a flattering, pretty way.  

This You Tube video shows four members of the Eileen Fisher staff getting dressed and swapping pieces.  You'll get a good idea of how well this clothing drapes:

 

 

My only concern with this line is the color palette.  The line is truly a classic one, so you are pretty limited to whites, creams, grays and black.  Since we're only talking about investment basics…I'm OK with it.  However, if you are interested in this season's trends (color and patterns), these pieces probably aren't going to get you through Spring/Summer 2012 all by their lonesome.  But augmenting these very gorgeous pieces with cheap & cheerful trends is easy.  

So….what would I recommend?  Here are three Eileen Fisher pieces that I think would be fabulous, classic investment pieces for moms with a softer figure…but styled in a young, hip-mom kinda way (I hope):

Eileen Fisher U-Neck Shell with Tapered Hem in Viscose Jersey, $88

Don't be underwhelmed by the thought of a simple tank.  The right one can make an outfit.  In fact, one great tank can make many, many outfits.  This one is silky, but can be machine washed in cold.  I love the drape and the shape:  it's forgiving through the middle, but tapered on the hips so the overall effect is slouchy and sexy…not boxy.  Perfect for a curvier mom who still has some softness in the belly.  Many of you busty moms have mentioned modest necklines.  This one is low enough to flatter 'the girls' but high enough to keep you comfortable.  This tank is also available in petite, for tinier moms. 

Eileenfishertank-a
(photo credits:  Eileen Fisher, Modcloth scarf, Madewell denim, Nine West sandals) 

 

 

Eileen Fisher Tangled Linen Cardigan, $218

The oval shape of this cardigan flatters all figures, including hourglass ones.  The hem of this cardigan follows the natural shape of the body – it goes in at the waist, and drapes nicely past the hips.  You can literally throw this cardigan on over anything – over jeans now, and a little dress come summer.  But I liked the super-casual direction that the stylists at Eileen Fisher took…I just made the look a bit more trendy:

Eileenfishercardi-a
(photo credits:  Eileen Fisher, Three Dots tee at Shopbop, J.Crew Pepper pant and a bright canvas Sperry)

 

Eileen Fisher Drape-Neck Top in Polished Linen Rib, $258

You know the over-sized, drapy, dolman silhouette that's been around for the last few seasons?  The one that is a fabulous pooch-hider, but totally hides the waist (to the chagrin of hourglass shapes)?  I think this sweater is the curvy-girl's answer.  The linen is thin and sheer, the low cowl flatters a full bust, but the sweater itself drapes in all of the right places.  And for gals who can't go without their basic black (even in summer), this very lightweight sweater might be your answer.

Eileenfishersweater-a
(photo credits: Eileen Fisher, Three Dots tee at Shopbop, Big Star denim shorts at Piperlime, Lands' End tote,  Nine West sandals)

 

Don't forget about the dresses!  Personally, I'm crazy about this one:

Screen Shot 2012-04-04 at 11.52.28 AM

(photo credit: Eileen Fisher Drape Front Dress)

 

And you can see more of their dresses in action in this video.

Leslie, I hope this helps!! Obviously, chose the items that you are loving, but I think you'll be happy with how much use you can get out of a truly flattering, high-quality basic.

In addition to Eileen Fisher, a few other brands that cater to a wider range of body types are Talbots (they re-invented themselves recently…and it's pretty good), Shabby Apple (they do amazing dresses, skirts, and awesome swimwear for all body types)…as well as Modcloth. Modcloth is a great place for vintage-inspired items, but they won't have the upscale fabric that you'll find at Eileen Fisher.

Mamas, what say you?  Are you liking Eileen Fisher's stuff more than you thought you would…or would you still give it a pass?  Any other advice for Leslie?

xo,

S

ps.  I've also heard great things (from Lucky Mag, actually!) about Eileen Fisher's basic white tee…but it looks to me like it still wouldn't flatter a curvy mama.  Has anyone tried these?  Thoughts? 

 

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About Author

Shana founded The Mom Edit in 2008. She lives with the love of her life (his name's Mike) and their two crazy boys in downtown Philadelphia. She loves a good styling challenge (her engineering side shows eventually), appreciates kindness, and usually picks scotch over wine, sneakers over stilettos, and denim-underwear, always.

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15 Comments

  1. For other great basics and trends for those of us with “mom-who-breastfed” sized chests, my favorite go-to shop is the pepperberry line from bravissimo (http://www.bravissimo.com/pepperberry/). You have to deal with the hassle of the British starter sizes, but then sizes-within-sizes are cut differently for different levels of curviness. Their stuff has been a lifesaver for me since I had my first kid!

  2. Thank you! I actually am extremely busty, poochy and 6’1″! Kind of a nightmare to find clothing that fits!

  3. I’ve found awesome busty-friendly clothing (and bras!) at Bravissimo.com and their spin-off Pepperberry. I’m 5’4″ and currently wear a 34E bra (talk about hard to find in normal stores!)

  4. hey shana- off topic but I thought of you, have you tried smiths playground or the little tree house? Seems to suit you waldorf montesorri philosophy.

  5. E.F. pieces are major workhorses of this postpartum mama’s work wardrobe. I’m a doctor, so I want work clothes that can handle moving/ bending/lifting and that are pretty without being sexy. I’m also petite/curvy at baseline, now with the extra hip, boob, and pooch that come with being a new mom. The petite sizes fit well and are crazy flattering. They are pricey, but I invest in basic pants, skirts, and dresses from E.F. upon which I can build multiple outfits with other tops, sweaters, etc. I tend to think of them as work wear, but I’d think that with a little creative styling one couldn’t ever go wrong with some well made, nicely fitting basics. In terms of price per wear, my two pairs of black EF knit trousers (one hemmed for flats, one for heels) are among my closet’s winners.

  6. I’d like to comment in two different veins here…
    First off – there’s no such thing as a “normal” body! We’re all unique, all have things about our bodies that we’re happy about and things about our bodies that frustrate us… tall, slender, straight-figured woman are certainly no more “normal” than petite, busty, poochy ones. They’re just a bit easier to dress, perhaps, and thus pretty popular with clothing designers 🙂 I think if you took a look around the playground, you may even find that your figure is more common than the latter. I just had to point this out because I think that assuming that your figure is weird and undesirable is usually a terrible point of mind to be shopping from.
    The other vein, is that I also am short, busty, and poochy and here are some of my favorite sources for quality working mom clothes that look up to date:
    Talbots – they have really upped the game lately in the style department and gotten more modern. They also have womens, petites, AND womens petites sizes and carry the same lines in all three size ranges (all too rare). They even have overlapping sizes between the regular, womens, and petites (you can find 12, 14, and 16 in all three) – all with different cuts. The plus lines are cut more generously in the tummy and I find they work best for me when I’m buying slim cut pants, while the regular lines work better for trousers and jackets. Their salespeople have also always been super helpful with me. Talbots Petite Plus was a lifesaver for me when I had a job interview at 6 weeks post-partum and had to find a suit that would look stellar off the rack with no alterations 😮
    Ann Taylor & Loft – generally cut for a more curvy woman. Their dresses, in particular, are some of the few that always fit me off the rack in petite sizes. Loft, in particular, usually has a good selection of pooch-hiding shirts in on-trend colors.
    At this point in my life, I always start there and only go elsewhere if I can’t find what I’m looking for. It’s just so much better to not have to try on a bunch of clothes that make you feel like your body is made wrong.

  7. I agree with Emily about Ann Taylor, and also would add White House, Black Market. I go there for basics, as opposed to trendy, but their skirts, in particular, fit SO well!! Loved this post, and the encouragement to find inspiration regardless of “mature” label.

  8. Maybe not the most stylish, but Lands End works well for different body shapes and you can pick and choose some trendy outfits–especially with the Lands End canvas line. I’m full busted and love their swim suits and dresses! Good quality, good price–especially for simple, solid colors.

  9. I love love love Eileen fisher! I buy a piece or two every season. I have that u neck tank in the cozy jersey AND the neck is stretchy enough to pull down and nurse. When you layer it under a sweater you can pull it all the way down and it can be a minidress.
    She makes really amazing sweaters, I constantly get compliments on them–even from people who recoil in horror from the idea of Eileen fisher.
    The secret is you just can’t wear ALL EF. But you can supplement through cheap trendy places.
    You also really need to try it on. Some things are styled cute and then scream old lady when you try them on

  10. Shana, and all the women who posted, my deepest thanks. I had been feeling kinda crummy, but this post MADE my whole week. I can’t wait to try all the suggestions. xoxo

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