Being something of an outsider, I have a tendency to defend the underdog in most situations and when it comes to fashion, M&S is the underdog du jour. While recent figures show they have suffered their worst sales for three years with shares dropping by almost 25%, I say, give them another chance.
The Sunday Times reports that mid-range labels are increasing in popularity as consumers reject unethical fast fashion and unaffordable high fashion (something I predicted fourteen months ago). If that’s the case then M&S’s luck should soon pick up once customers see its new autumn/winter offering. The preview back in May showed a well-edited collection of fashion-forward but not unwearable looks which would suit anyone from twenty to sixty-odd. Jewel-bright trenches and solid-coloured separates reminiscent of DKNY sat alongside embellished chiffon tunic dresses (think a toned-down Jade Jagger in Matthew Williamson) teamed with coloured tights. Save for the one red herring – a pair of leather skinny pants (so very wrong) – there were no fashion victim high-waist jeans or out-there ugly accessories. Instead there were fabulous straight-heeled ankle boots, lush slouchy bags and many wonderful coats. I think in today’s fashion-savvy age, this is a good example of what the average middle-England forty-something should be aiming for, just look at Mary Portas if you want proof of how good it can look.