Jane Moore test-drives the new M&S offerings – and finds the perfect jeans to hide that mum muffin-top

Jane Moore test-drives the new M&S offerings – and finds the perfect jeans to hide that mum muffin-top

April 23, 2021

WHEN it comes to brand recognition, M&S still holds a special place in the nation’s heart.

But how many under 50s actually shop there for anything except a prawn sandwich or a pair of tights?

When I was a teenager, M&S was the all powerful, one-stop shop untroubled by the modern day challenges of online shopping and cheap, fast fashion.

It was considered a bit ‘posh’ (and pricey) but definitely the go-to for good quality basics that lasted the test of time.

In fact, what I call my ‘sheepdog bra’ (rounds ‘em up and points them in the right direction) was purchased from the store at least 15 years ago and is still going strong.

SELECTED FEMME

  • Leopard print blouse, £70; jeans, £70, both Selected Femme. M&S heels, £19.50, all at marksandspencer.com 

FINERY 

  • Green leopard print dress, £49, Finery; M&S heels, £19.50, all at marksandspencer.com 

NOBODY’S CHILD

  • Blue hoodie, £39; trousers, £37, both Nobody’s Child; M&S trainers, £35, all marksandspencer.com 

As a ‘lady of a certain age,’ I’m the brand’s core demographic and still shop there for cashmere jumpers, nicely tailored capri pants and the classics such as a black polo neck sweater or good quality white shirt.

But the dilemma of attracting the next generation of shoppers has blighted the country’s best known department store for many years now – with successive management teams trying, and mostly failing, to gain traction with younger buyers.

Most efforts resulted in the brand becoming a confusing miss mash of trying to be all things to all people and, consequently, engaging with no-one as a destination for that ‘must-have’ outfit.

Even the range by fashionista Alexa Chung failed to pique the interest of my three daughters – aged 34, 28 and 17.

SOSANDAR 

  • Blue dress, £59, Sosandar; M&S heels, £19.50, all marksandspencer.com  

JOULES

  • Bee jumper, £69.95; jeans, £59.95, both Joules; M&S loafers, £45, all marksandspencer.com

PHASE EIGHT

  • Floral dress, £130, Phase Eight; M&S trainers, £35, all marksandspencer.com 

However, that might be about to change with the news that M&S is to sell external brands for the first time in its 136 year history.

One of them is sustainable label Nobody’s Child; popular among eco-friendly young people for its range of floaty dresses made from recycled polyester and sustainably sourced viscose.

The other brands being sold via M&S online include Finery and Selected Femme, both aimed at a younger demographic, and Sosander, Phase Eight and Joules which appeal to M&S’s more traditional base of 40+ customers. 

Hopefully, these new additions will bring in the fresh blood that M&S needs and, once they’re browsing, they’ll stumble across the good quality, own brand basics it does so well and become a valued, long-standing customer of the future. Watch this space.

For more fashion stories, this ex TK Maxx worker revealed her secrets for bagging the best bargains- including ideal time to shop & when items get reduced.

And this Primark worker revealed cheapest thing she has ever sold- and how she would suggest people would go to M&S next door.

Plus brides raved over budget Amazon wedding dresses which are as cheap as £14.

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