One of the major wardrobe staples that I’ve been missing is a basic black skirt. My work while largely casual has some more dressy occasions, and a black skirt is always a useful item to have on hand. Some of you may recall that my former faithful standby, a Theory pencil skirt in suiting fabric, met a grisly end when I somehow managed to tear a hole in the bum. Whoops.
I started my hunt last weekend and thought it would be a fairly easy one. I tried all of my favorite brands and trusty shops – everything from Gap to Max Mara, but I couldn’t find everything I wanted at a good price.
I decided to push myself to look outside my comfort zone of brands, and walked around Nordstrom for a while. And lo and behold, I found my perfect skirt! It was the right length and could be adjusted higher and lower, had a stretchy waistband (woohoo buffet binging), was made of great fabric and was even machine washable. A true rarity in the day and age when even a Vince cotton tee bears the dreaded instructions: Dry Clean Only. And the brand?
…It ended up being Eileen Fisher. Eileen Fisher is a name that I normally would have never given a second glance, since I’d always associated it with an older generation. I think I remember even seeing my mom put back an Eileen Fisher item while we were shopping growing up, as the style was a little too “old”, and the cut too generous, for her. I almost didn’t try the skirt on, insisting to myself that the brand didn’t fit me or my style, but a random pushy sales associate badgered me into adding it to my pile of Helmut Lang and Theory . And it ended up being the winner.
The whole process started me thinking about what other items and experiences I’ve probably missed out on in the past because of brand perception. In fashion of course (come on, it’s just cooler to think of yourself as a Rick Owens girl), but in other areas too – foods, cars, electronics, and the list goes on. Which is all pretty silly, especially because I work in branding as a profession and I know just how much marketing and past performance can diverge from present reality. But, it’s such a hard habit to break.
Have you ever been surprised by a brand, or purchased something from a brand you never thought you would? How have your experiences been?