{Style Scout} The Best Clothing Brands for FOFs (That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of)

Unless you’re walking around naked right now, you probably have a pair of go-to pants. You know the ones: They fit great, they get you out the door, and you secretly wonder if anyone has noticed that you wear them five times a week. Now, imagine a closet full of clothes like that. Pieces that fit well, work together and make you feel good. Reality check: You may not find them shopping the same old stores at the mall.

“My FOF clients are looking for clothes that fit beautifully at a good price,” says FOF Linda Cohen, a retailer-turned-top-fashion-consultant and a stylist for hundreds of FOF clients. “But to find those hidden gems, you need to spend serious time looking through racks at local boutiques, visiting showrooms, trying everything on . . . Who has time? Well, I do.”

Lucky for us, Linda has agreed to open her little black book of FOF fashion finds: The items and brands she turns to again and again for her FOF clients. This week: 3 fab fashion finds you’ve probably never heard of. Plus, tune in each week as we reveal one more piece from style-scout Linda’s ultimate FOF closet.


Designer: Peace of Cloth

Available at: Specialty boutiques and department stores.

Must have pieces: Casey (cropped 5-pocket jean), Vera (invisible fly front pant) and Lisa (side-zip pant).

FOF stylist Linda says: “A beautiful collection of suiting, pants and jackets for the woman who is willing to invest a little bit more–let’s say $150–in a pair of pants that will fit and last.”

The inside story: Launched in 2005 by retail veteran Alex Garfield, Peace of Cloth is the follow-up to Garfield–a popular women’s brand he ran for twenty years and sold in 2001. “I’m not trying to make the hottest style in the world,” he says. “I make something that fits and looks great whether or not you have the best body. My favorite customers are the ones who come to me and say, ‘I have all my Garfied suits from twenty years ago–I keep bringing them back to the cleaner to be relined.’”

Why it’s a hit with FOFs: “They have some money–but they’re careful with it. Over time, I’ve learned what works for them, and I’ve stuck with it. I make clothing for her ego–not mine.”


Designer: Tolani Collection

Must have pieces: Scarves and wraps in silk, cashmere and linen (starting at $60)

FOF stylist Linda says: “Beautiful fabrics and easy tunics, dresses and jackets with that ‘boho-chic’ sensibility we never tire of.”

The inside story: Alka Tolani, 48, began designing silk scarves in 2004, inspired by her native country of India and her travels around the world. Then, serendipity: Mary Kate Olsen and Jessica Alba were both photographed with Alka’s scarves draped adorably around their necks. Suddenly, stores came calling, and Alka had a business. Now she also creates wraps, jackets and bags and sells out at small boutiques and top shelf retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman.

Why she’s a hit with FOFs: “We try not to target any age group,” says Alka. “But,” adds her husband and partner, Raj, “Our body styles are easy to wear and very comfortable.They work for a woman who is interested in unique prints and colors–not necessarily a woman who’s trying to show off her hip size.”


Designer: Dizzy Lizzie
Must-have pieces: ¾-sleeve blouse ($98) and halter dress ($128)

FOF stylist Linda says: “Her blouses give you that Jackie O meets Tory Burch look, with pretty, bold prints and flattering stretch fabrics, for under $100.00 each. Plus, everything comes in XL.”

The inside story: Like Alex Garfield, FOF designer Elizabeth Lighton started her current company after decades running another popular apparel company, British Khaki. “I saw a niche in the market. Women were willing to spend almost $200 on jeans, but they didn’t want to spend more than $100 on a blouse to pair with them. So I kept my price point under $100, but added the little extras: darts and flattering stretch fabrics, generous sizing, great patterns. Plus, it’s cut straight across the bottom, so you don’t have to tuck it in.” Since launching, she’s also introduced skirts and dresses, all “inexpensive but full-lined in cotton.” Her clothes, which are mostly available at small boutiques in vacation areas such as Florida and South Carolina, have developed a cult following of women who buy the new patterns each season.

Why she’s a hit with FOFs: “Everyone has figure problems, no matter what age they are,” says Lighton. “My pieces are cut to flatter. My Charleston halter dress, for example, just fits everyone well. Once women find it, they want it in different patterns. That dress has paid my mortgage for two years!”