Let me tell you how fun it is to shop for a living during the Christmas season. Santa Claus, laughing children, shoppers rushing with their treasures -- you know the scene.
HAHAHAHAHA, ARE YOU INSANE? IT IS NOT FUN AT ALL.
The mall is a nightmare right now. Everyone is a harried, rude, selfish mess. The stores are sold out of EVERYTHING already, and I've totally had it with people try to squeeze ahead of me through a door I'm holding open with my foot due to my arms being completely laden with shopping bags. All I'm trying to do is find triples of 15 people's outfits for our big food fight scene, thank you very much. The holidays really seem to bring out the worst in everyone.
And then there are the Christmas carols. Good Lord, the Christmas carols. If you see me on the 5:00 news, just know it was the carols that sent me over the edge.
But all this recent mall-ratting has really worked out in my favor, because I just found a black skirt (with pockets!) at Macy's that replaces every black skirt ever made in history -- and it's made by Eileen Fisher, of all people.
Eileen Fisher has always provided sanctuary for a customer of a certain age -- her linen-look kimonos, slouchy cardigans and flowy pants providing a safe way to grow old gracefully and still be a boho babe. But in recent years, she's expanded her line to include really well designed basics with more fashion flair -- like sleek leggings, fitted cardigans, and this amazing skirt.
It's welcome news if you've started to find every available skirt at every cheap-o mall store to be about 10 inches too short -- because in Eileen Fisher land, clothes are made for actual grownups, and a skirt that measures 20 inches from waistband to hem (a.k.a., it covers your ass!) is considered short.
You can wear this elastic-banded skirt high at your natural waist (it looks cute with a fitted t-shirt or thermal) or pulled down on your hips to be super slouchy. It's long enough to bend over in, and DID I ALREADY MENTION THAT IT HAS POCKETS?
This delightful garment also has a handful of very artfully placed pleats, which cleverly hide where you tuck in your shirt without adding any bulk or making it look too schoolgirlish. I always wear a medium (I'm a solid 6 in pants) but can take a small in Eileen Fisher -- her pieces are cut more generously. It's the difference between clothes made for teenaged girls and clothes made for actual human women. (I'm looking at you, H&M, who sold me a size 12 skirt that my size 6 ass couldn't even begin to fit in.) And as a clever commenter pointed out, this skirt also comes in plus sizes -- and petites!
At $138.00, it's not a cheap skirt -- but not blazingly expensive either. It's made of a slinky viscose jersey fabric that resists wrinkles and is machine washable. It's got a lovely hang to it, and a snappy, springy, swingy quality to it when you walk. It's made right here in the USA -- part of Eileen Fisher's initiative to increase domestic production. I've worked with many actresses in the past who swear by Eileen Fisher's quality and wearability -- so I'm pretty pleased to finally have a piece for myself that will hopefully last me many faithful years.
I've already worn it three times in the one week I've owned it -- to work with my vintage Detroit Lions thermal, out to dinner that same night (I switched the thermal for a jeweled cap sleeve tee) and with a shiny satin blouse and spike-heeled boots to this insane eating party called Beefsteak on Saturday where everyone ate meat with their bare hands and danced like freaks till two in the morning. The Eileen Fisher skirt worked beautifully for every occasion. I think that qualifies it as a fantastic purchase.
It was randomly 39 degrees in Los Angeles last night, so I had to wear tights -- plus a slip, as tights always tend to grab your skirt fabric and cause it to ride up a bit. My favorite slips on earth are these eeny-weeny 12" low rise numbers made by Farr West.
They provide just enough coverage to keep your skirts from being sheer while solving the problem of your tights fighting with your skirt fabric. At just 12 inches, you can wear one under the shortest of skirts without worrying about it showing. And if you find your slip attaches itself to your tights, spray it down with some Static Guard or good old fashioned hairspray to cut down on static cling. (An unused dryer sheet helps too -- just run it all over your tights while you're wearing them before you put on your skirt or slip.)
Cheapskate pro tip: You can find longer-length slips at thrift stores and perform shortening surgery on them yourself with a super sharp pair of scissors and a steady hand. Be sure to use a tape measure, and don't go shorter than 12 inches from waistband to hem. (You want it to cover your bum or it defeats the purpose!) I find it useful to initially hack my thrifted slips to about 15 inches, try it on with a bunch of my clothes, and then go shorter in one inch increments as needed.
Nylon doesn't unravel, so there's no need to hem your hacked slips -- unless you are in the habit of taking your skirt off in public and dancing on tables. In that case, go ahead and staple on some lacy trim for extra vixen power. I staple clothes together at work all the time, AND I'M A PROFESSIONAL DRESSER OF HUMANS. You'll be just fine. (I do usually take the time to slap some masking tape on the back so the staples don't snag my tights.) Pro-style, y'all.
Visit me at: AlisonFreer.com.