Tweak your capsule for Spring 2011

Eileen Fisher’s designs for the coming season have appeared.

As usual there’s a ‘Dress in 5 minutes‘ section. Much the same as before. Some repeated shapes in the main catalogue, so I’m commenting on them. And as usual, the biggest style changes are the focus jackets. I’m writing a separate post on them this time. (This turned into several posts, starting here.)

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‘Dress in 5 minutes’ basics

The ‘system’ for ‘dress in 5 minutes’ is very similar to last year, when I wrote several posts on it. So renew your basics.


Mostly low hip length sleeveless tops with wide or narrow straps (see previous ‘dress in 5 minutes’ tops post).

One new style element – a ‘racer-back’, see McCall’s 6288 by Rebecca Turbow.


A few thigh length tunics, one with sleeves (see winter capsule post for pattern suggestions).


And slim pants – though there is a choice of straight and wide legged pants in the main catalogue.

Just-above-knee length slim straight skirts. Eileen Fisher hasn’t chosen to go for this season’s trendy longer looser skirts.

See previous ‘dress in 5 minutes’ bottoms post for slim pant and skirt patterns.

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Adding more interest

There aren’t any layering pieces in the ‘dress in 5 minutes’ section this time. But there are plenty of possibilities elsewhere in the catalogue. Several main shapes keep appearing (jackets I’m putting in a separate post).


Many knit cardigans. Similar styles to previous layering tops.

– short straight little tops, as last summer.

”shortjkts” Eileen Fisher

Easiest to find find patterns for these little jackets/ shrugs in the evening wear pattern sections, perhaps McCall’s 6245 below (or Butterick 5529 View C.).


There are some comments on wearing these short layering pieces in my previous post on ‘dress in 5 minutes’ layers.

– longer cascade or drape front knits

”cascadecardis” Eileen Fisher

Many Eileen Fisher versions of these, in different fibres and with slightly different fronts. Also many patterns. A typical one is McCall’s 6084.


Some other patterns in my winter capsule post.


Knit sweaters, mainly with mid chest or bust level v-necks,

”v-necks” Eileen Fisher

Add one of these wide curved V-necks to a favourite easy fit knit top pattern.

Or try these Hot Patterns Plain & Simple Relaxed Tees


or Hot Patterns Metropolitan Sweaters


As well as open V-necks, you can add cowl and drape necklines.

”cowldrape” Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher call styles with an added fabric piece ‘cowls’, and styles with an integral dropped front ‘draped’ – perhaps cut on the bias.

There are several patterns for these in the catalogues, though not many with long sleeves. Try Vogue 8597, which has both cowl and drape neck versions.



Drapey front styles

”cascadevests” Eileen Fisher

Some pattern suggestions in my ‘current vests’ post.

Dresses and shirts

As usual, most of the Eileen Fisher dresses are simply longer versions of the sleeveless tops. There is one shirt dress, the only dress with sleeves.
And there are a couple of classic shirts in the Tops section.

Several patterns for classic shirts. Palmer-Pletsch McCall’s 5433 has fitting help.


This pattern combines a classic band shirt collar with 4 sleeves and 3 lengths, and could easily be lengthened to a dress.

You may be going for shirts because you prefer wovens to knits. Or if you can’t find knit fabrics you like. You can of course make all these top, cardigan, ‘sweater’ and vest shapes in wovens. Possible patterns in the other posts I’ve linked to.


Big slouchy leather bags (Vogue 8680).


Classic leather belts,
Long wide textured scarves.

There’s currently a good video on ways of wearing scarves, in the videos section of the Eileen Fisher site.

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Many continuing styles. So if you stocked up in previous seasons, on sleeveless tops, simple slim bottoms, and knit loose layers, you can continue to wear them.

It’s interesting fabrics and surface textures plus subtle details which give variety to the main shapes. There’s a good video showing some of the details and looks, a Spring Preview currently on the Eileen Fisher site.

There are several focus jacket shapes, so I’m planning more posts on those.

Eileen Fisher mainly uses black and greys. There are many other current colours and prints if you prefer them, see my post on looks for the coming summer.

– – –

The top runway designers tempt the big spenders by changing the fashion shapes every season. Pants seem to be the current most rapidly changing high fashion shape. But you haven’t got to change your clothes so much to look good (which is rather different from looking fashionable 😀 ).

Here’s a quote from top film costume designer Jenny Beavan :
“I was watching a catwalk show the other day and I found it fascinating because it’s obviously all drawn, made and then put on a model who is completely bland. They all look the same, walk the same, have the same hair, the same body shape – it’s all about the clothes. What I do is the absolute opposite. For me, it is all about the characters – the clothes are a useful tool.”
(BBC Radio Times, 26 Feb)
Some of the top designers even sketch models with tiny heads, while most real people need designs which draw attention to their face.

Wearing simple unfitted separates with few style elements, like these from Eileen Fisher, is not the right choice for everyone. We can choose our own favourite shapes, textures and trims. We can choose the colours and prints we most love. Dress to express your character 😀

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Patterns and links available March 2011

Explore posts in the same categories: Eileen Fisher

5 Comments on “Tweak your capsule for Spring 2011”

  1. sdBev Says:

    Thanks for another excellent review. I’m off to watch the scarf video.

  2. Cristina Says:

    Your site is so Great! and so very helpful!!

  3. Candy Blackham Says:

    I enjoy and appreciate your comments and would like to stay informed

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