Believe it or not it's M&S!

Believe it or not it's M&S!

Believe it or not it’s M&S! It’s the store’s most fashion forward range for years —and here’s how you can wear it

  • The new collection from M&S is shiny and new in the literal sense as well as chic
  • It is alluring and also full of well-price, covetable pieces of clothing for women
  • For some it will be surprising these pieces are even from Marks and Spencer 

Decades may have passed since we left the classroom, but for most women, that ‘back to school’ feeling in early September never leaves us.

Even in straitened times such as these, the need to replenish our wardrobes and ready ourselves for autumn can feel overwhelming. We want stylish coats and cosy jumpers — and we want them now.

With some justification, however, many will be apprehensive at the prospect of heading to M&S. Even its staunchest devotees would have to admit that, over the years, the High Street bellwether has been too fuddy-duddy, too expensive, too confusing and too lacking in quality.

But what ‘too’ could be applied to this season’s collection? Too unrecognisable perhaps? But is that a bad thing? For, if you were to present some of these looks to strangers and ask them to guess the retailer, I doubt many would get it right.

Not only is it shiny and new in the literal sense — silver sequin trousers, anyone? — it’s also chic, alluring and full of well-priced, covetable pieces.

Those whose wardrobes still have a Topshop-shaped hole since the chain closed its doors in 2020 may be especially pleased, for the collection incorporates Topshop’s strongest attributes — catwalk-inspired prints, colours and shapes — with M&S’s renowned quality and sustainability.

The new collection is the first to fall under the remit of new womenswear director Maddy Evans, who was fashion director at Topshop until 2019, when she was poached by M&S to inject more relevance and youthfulness into the brand.

Of course, the word ‘youthful’ is likely to strike fear into the heart of core customers, cautious of having their upper arms ignored or of having to wade through racks of strangely patterned jumpsuits en route to the cashmere cardies. They may rightly argue that young people are already well-served on the High Street, and that it’s midlife and older women who desperately need wardrobe attention.

This season’s collection at M&S is shiny and new in the literal sense — silver sequin trousers, anyone? — it’s also chic, alluring and full of well-priced, covetable pieces

While the clothes in the store’s in-house advertising campaign are indubitably photographed and styled in a contemporary, youthful way (how else to explain all those baseball caps?), customers would be wrong to dismiss the collection as only for young people. In fact, it’s full of future classics, most of them versatile enough to be integrated into your existing wardrobe, whatever your age.

It’s pitched at what Evans calls ‘the modern mainstream’, and a woman whose outlook is more important than her age.

‘We’ve really tried to hit that sweet spot between mother and daughter, and design products that will be relevant to both,’ she explains.

As for the clothes themselves, outerwear is particularly strong: a hooded khaki coat with quilted patch pockets is perfectly pitched for Saturday afternoons; a black leather blouson is both chic enough for evening and casual enough for day, while a checked mohair ‘shacket’ bridges the gap between jacket and shirt.

Stylish, practical office attire — ever an elusive beast — is also key. It’s worth emphasising that M&S is the only High Street retailer which offers trouser shapes in up to four lengths — a godsend for anyone who is swamped by the one-size-fits-(models)-only approach of many other High Street brands.


Stylish, practical office attire — ever an elusive beast — is also key. It’s worth emphasising that M&S is the only High Street retailer which offers trouser shapes in up to four lengths — a godsend for anyone who is swamped by the one-size-fits-(models)-only approach of many other High Street brands

After all, no customer wants to spend extra money having their new trousers taken up.

As ever, sustainability is front of mind, with all cashmere products newly certified by the Sustainable Fibre Alliance, which promotes animal welfare and reduces environmental impact.

M&S may not sell the cheapest cashmere on the High Street, but it is selling something else: trailblazing sustainability, and values it hopes its customers share.

M&S will never please all of the people, all of the time. But this new collection has enough hits for even the pickiest customer to forgive the misses.

After years in the doldrums, it’s on a roll: clothing sales rose by 3.8 per cent in the most recent period for which figures are available, and this new collection is well placed to build on that success.

MY WISH LIST 

INSTANT LUXURY

Embroidered black velvet jacket, £79, Per Una

For the price, this looks pretty luxurious. It’s a softer, decorative alternative to the blazer. Throw this on and you’re ready for an evening out.

For the price, this looks pretty luxurious. It’s a softer, decorative alternative to the blazer. Throw this on and you’re ready for an evening out

GOOD IN THE HOOD

Hooded khaki coat with quilted pockets, £79

I like that this falls between a smart coat and a weekend coat. The hood and quilted pockets deformalise its more tailored aspects, making it super-versatile.

I like that this falls between a smart coat and a weekend coat. The hood and quilted pockets deformalise its more tailored aspects, making it super-versatile

TIME TO SPARKLE

Silver sequin T shirt, £29.50

Forget Botox or BB cream — nothing offers a quicker and easier glow-up than a silver sequin tee. This one will come into its own during the upcoming party season — especially if worn with dark-wash flared jeans and a tailored jacket.

This one will come into its own during the upcoming party season — especially if worn with dark-wash flared jeans and a tailored jacket

BOOTED FOR WINTER

Black lace-up boots, £89

Stompy, practical boots are an autumn essential, and the contrast stitching on these adds a nice point of interest that’s a bit different from usual all black you’ll find at this time of year.

IT’S IN THE BAG

Brown leather handbag with gold clasp, £89

Big enough for your essentials but light and neat enough to use anywhere. This has a gold clasp and is inspired by Celine’s classic box bag from the Phoebe Philo era.  


As ever, sustainability is front of mind, with all cashmere products newly certified by the Sustainable Fibre Alliance, which promotes animal welfare and reduces environmental impact. M&S may not sell the cheapest cashmere on the High Street, but it is selling something else: trailblazing sustainability, and values it hopes its customers share


After years in the doldrums, it’s on a roll: clothing sales rose by 3.8 per cent in the most recent period for which figures are available, and this new collection is well placed to build on that success

Source: Read Full Article