Marie Hell, style and substance

Marie Hell. First, I like the name. It speaks to what I like to think of as my “edgy” persona: non-conformist, rebel, question-authority me. Besides, Hell! It sounds cool, lol. Then, I find out that it’s the Germanic hell, meaning light. Ok, still cool.

Next, I find out that most of the Marie Hell collection is made of Jersey—and now I’m a bit afraid. You see, I’m a big proponent of natural fibers. I’m big on cotton, linen, and wool. I know, they tell me that a fabric is made from bamboo, or wood pulp—but the manufacturing process and the chemicals they use in those processes don’t make me comfortable, and usually, neither do the clothes. 

Then the dresses arrive, sent by Eileen, the owner of Marie Hell. I like the packaging: black and white box, nice black ribbon. I take the dresses out and I’m excited. I get to wear these and say how I feel about them. I’m going to model them, me! I admit, there’s a bit of pressure here. What if I don’t like them?

I must be brave, so I try the dresses on. The first one, the “Unleash” in gray, feels great. It’s soft, it’s seems to breathe, and it falls nicely. It also looks really good. I could wear it with leggings, jeans, or tights. I could dress it up or down, it’s versatile. Travel comes to mind… I know this dress would travel well—perfectly, actually. Price? Good, check.

I unpack the second dress, the “Ascend,” the one I’m really looking forward to because I love velvet. I take it out of the packaging, hold it up to myself and I’m loving it. Long-sleeved, A-line, great length, and velvet! Perhaps the best part, bare shoulders! Remember: shoulders don’t age, and they’re sexy. I try the dress on and it looks and feels good, very good. It too could be dressed up or down, it too would travel well.

Now I go online again and really scour the Marie Hell website. I read everything; and everything I read, I like. Then I speak to Eileen and I like her too. She’s simpatica and gets me, a not atypical fifty-something. We commiserate about the lack of simple but attractive, non-dowdy clothes for women our age, clothes that can be dressed up or down, clothes that will travel.

That, my friends, is why Eileen started Marie Hell. She wanted to make the clothes she couldn’t find for herself. Do I have to give up my allegiance to my wool and linen? No, I won’t; but increasingly I’m understanding that a lot of the clothes in natural fibers that I might like, I can’t afford to buy that often. And after wearing the Maries (as Eileen calls them), I really appreciate the quality of the fabrics she uses. 

Two more things I like about the Maries are that you can accessorize them like crazy. There seems to be a million ways to wear them and all of them will look good. From big necklaces to knee high boots, from jeans to fishnet stockings. You won’t look out of place anywhere, or like you’ve just thrown things together. 

The other thing I like is the simplicity. There’s been a lot of talk lately about pairing down, doing more with less, and focusing on quality. Sometimes that’s not so easy, but with Marie Hell you have a chance to start loving less, more completely.

Below, me in the “Ascend.” Find your Marie here












  • I like how you wrote this piece! I’m pinning your pictures!

  • Anita! These pictures are just wonderful! I’m so delighted that I decided give myself a quick break and take a peek at your blog – such a good read as always, but these photos are what I really love! Too many favourites to choose from although it may be number three – the first one has a real Italian feel to it which I also adore. Love, love, love – more style posts, please! xx

  • Janice says:

    OMG – I love that dress, and you wear it SO WELL. I’d be intimidated to buy it, because I’d always compare myself in it to your super style.

    • Anita Irlen says:


      Nooooo! That is what’s so wonderful about the dresses, you imbue them with your style. Honestly, I would like to pretend that it was a difficult and painstaking task, but it was easy figuring out how to wear it. If you try, take a picture…


  • You look fantastic in this velvet dress Anita! Great pairing with long statement necklace! I like the strap and long sleeve combination!
    Toast your Purse with an Outfit!
    Fashion Advice, Events and More

    • Anita Irlen says:


      Thank you. My first “real” photo shoot. I especially like the sleeves on this dress, because they are actually quite long. So often long sleeves feel too short for me, and I don’t think I have particularly long arms! These have this sexy “scrunch” at the wrist that also looks really nice.

  • hattie says:

    It’s so nice to see a style that I would love to wear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *