Deputy Style Editor Lottie Moore opens the discussion as to why Marks and Spencer seems to be an unfavoured source of fashion among millenials.
Despite being a central landmark of every British high street since 1884, it seems the public has fallen out of love with M&S. In 2017, its profits fell by 64% despite a swanky new campaign and a collaboration with Alexa Chung. This is the latest confirmation of the steady decline in popularity for the institution in the last ten years. The stereotype which has fed this is not unfamiliar; the spectrum of pastel coloured jumpers, stodgy trousers and diamanté embellished loafers does not entice the modern high street shopper. Not even Rosie Huntington-Whitley, whose perfectly sculpted lingerie clad figure is plastered all over the underwear departments of every shop, can entice the British woman to buy her bras there, even though M&S invented the bra. The ‘Angel First Bras’ section has been padding out the measly offerings of British pre-teens for decades. Despite this monumental advent, none of us have returned, generally opting instead for an overpriced, under-supportive Calvin Klein alternative.
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M&S has a committed demographic of women who are habitually searching for the polka dot wrap dress of a lifetime. Per Una is the protagonist of the middle aged woman, who wants a mustard bead necklace to match the yellow thread of her embroidered appliqué jumper. These women are generally the ones who endearingly call it ‘Marks’.
However none of us realise how much good stuff there still is in M&S. It is British in a way that no other brand is, and we still identify with it, even if only with nostalgia. Interestingly, M&S always does well in recession. People go back to it because it is classic and it lasts.
Once I own a Burberry trench coat my life will be complete, but until then I shall buy second hand Marks and Spencer’s replicas from eBay cause it’s identical tbh.— Madison Claudia (@whimsicaldarl) March 19, 2018
It is simply overlooked by the rest of us. I saw a pair of River Island pink satin culottes featured in Grazia (sold out, naturally), and then found an identical pair in M&S (not even dry clean) while buying socks for my grandmother.
M&S does well when it keeps it simple. Trawl through the 75,000 different types of ‘work’ trouser (which range from elasticated ankle-bashers to dominatrix pleather leggings) and you will find the best the British High street has to offer: a well tailored, genuinely stylish, good quality pair of trousers for under £30, which will probably last you a decade. It's just that no one under the age of 45 ever visits except to buy Percy Pigs.
Really debating going in to town just to get Colin the caterpillar and Percy pig jellies in m&s lol— mud mama 🌿 (@PlanetDea) March 14, 2018
Similarly, you can buy precisely the same pair of Joni jeans for under £20 that you will pay £45 for in Topshop, and they won't turn grey and rip up the arse within a month. In M&S they possibly have an elasticated waist too, (which is no a bad thing). If Holly Willoughby can channel M&S, so can we.
No one is pretending that M&S is the cutting edge of fashion, it is not trying to be. But we would all be pleasantly surprised if we gave it a chance. There is something rather lovely about the matriarch of the British high street being able to satisfy the styles of three generations. There is also nowhere else you can simultaneously buy prosecco flavoured crisps and a diamanté jumper.
Featured Image: Screenshot of M&S' instagram page.