American outdoorsman and sports enthusiast Eddie Bauer opened Eddie Bauer's Tennis Shop in Seattle in 1920. At first, he just offered niche services like selling and stringing tennis racquets, but he soon transitioned into broader merchandise related to golf, fishing, badminton, and more. After coming down with hypothermia on a fishing trip, Bauer designed and patented the country's first quilted down jacket, which he called the Skyliner. Following the success of this new technology, Bauer continued inventing and registered more than 20 patents on new equipment he created. By 1945, Eddie Bauer had started manufacturing apparel for both women and men, so the company began distributing a mail-order catalog.
When Bauer grew too old to keep running the company, he sold his share to a group of investors. Under new ownership, the first Eddie Bauer store outside Seattle opened in San Francisco and sold mostly lifestyle apparel. Over the next few decades, the company changed hands several more times, being sold to General Mills and then Spiegel. After filing for bankruptcy in 2009, it was bought at auction by Golden Gate Capital. Though the original founder of the company died in 1986, the brand continues to uphold his legacy. Eddie Bauer currently operates almost 400 stores across the United States, Canada, Japan, and Germany.
Eddie Bauer's selection of apparel for kids is relatively limited. The brand makes a few of its most popular jackets--including fleeces and down coats--in boys' and girls' sizes, but it is primarily a brand for adults. The women's collection runs the gamut in terms of everyday wear and outerwear. Tops include blouses, tunics, tees, cowl-necks, v-necks, henleys, button-down shirts, and pullovers. The brand also specializes in athletic wear, so you can find flexible, breathable, moisture-wicking tops and jackets. Sweaters, cardigans, and hoodies are both fashionable and functional as light outerwear.
When it comes to bottoms, Eddie Bauer sells jeans in current styles like boyfriend, curvy, and straight leg. Other popular pants include leggings, joggers, trousers, and more (many of which are also designed specifically for athletic wear). Dresses, skirts, and blazers are all available for a slightly more formal look. Jackets continue to be one of Eddie Bauer's top categories, and you can find options for all different types of weather. Thermals, vests, fleeces, and windbreakers are all designed for moderately cold weather, while quilted jackets, down jackets, and parkas provide insulation against extreme temperatures. Aside from regular apparel, you can also find shoes in a number of different styles, as well as accessories like scarves, gloves, and hats.
Some of the best brands are those that evolve with the times and address needs from the public that are being otherwise ignored. When Eddie Bauer was running his company, he was also active in the communities its products were serving, and he was able to come up with ideas that revolutionized the industry. Even today, the brand that he built still has an excellent reputation for quality products that are popular for both everyday wear and athletic endeavors. Clothes also find a nice balance between fashion and function that make them extra versatile. We give Eddie Bauer 4.5 stars out of 5.
- Established 1920
- Outerwear and activewear
- Sold at:
- Eddie Bauer stores and online
- Types of items:
- Jackets, down coats, parkas, windbreakers, fleeces, sweatshirts, sweaters, cardigans, blouses, tunics, athletic tops, jeans, capris, leggings, athletic pants, vests, accessories, sneakers, boots, flats, sandals, backpacks, duffels, tents, sleeping bags, home décor
- Related brands:
- J. Jill, Next, Rocket Dog, Payless Shoe Source, Pacsun