The Great Marks & Sparks Trolley Dash

Jane and Beryl are infrequent M&S clothes shoppers, but have heard that Women of A Certain Age are their target customer (but who indeed IS their target customer?) The store is like their favourite Auntie: they love her dearly and don't want her to go anywhere: however, she is comforting and comely rather than glamorous or exciting. M&S falls into the role of a much loved British institution just like her sister, Auntie Beeb. 

Jane and Beryl's previous purchases are few as it's hard to actually crave clothes from M&S. However, when Auntie is on top form, she does occasionally come up with a real gem: Beryl had a beautiful white trench coat a few seasons ago, and Jane had a quirky but much-loved purple mac. So, searching for a nugget,  Jane and Beryl went undercover in the enormous M&S in Hedge End, near Southampton. Added to their team this week was Jane's lovely mother in law, Shirley, who is a truly fabulous eighty, and an experienced M&S shopper.

First impressions, M&S has made good efforts to group related products and offer free fashion consultations. The staff were great, friendly and completely unfazed by three women with a trolley of 50 items; M&S have a new policy to allow any number of pieces in the changing room
at one time, hurrah.

Shirley liked this coatigan from the M&S Collection, although the colour was not her favourite. Women of Britain would have bought this in navy. The shirt £38 from the same brand was a beautiful coral colour. Although she has come to M&S over six decades, she has used the shop less of late, and was slightly shocked at their prices which she thought a tad expensive.

Jane is sporting a pair of khaki trews, a colour she would never normally touch with a bargepole, but M&S is awash with it this season and she was attracted to their floppy shape: Limited Edition £35.  The t-shirt has a very lovely boat neck (£18) and the M&S Collection waterproof was a glorious colour, but at £59 Jane would really have to be in love with it in a big way. Jane looks like an extra from Carry On Camping here, Jane never camps. 

Jane and Beryl do like a stripe combined with red, although this looks a bit Mariah Carey and in reality has very  little stomach camouflage. Beryl put it back. 

Jane donned this very hot sweater  - Indigo Collection £45 - which although nice enough, was not outstanding: this becomes the tenor of M&S sadly. Most of what Jane and Beryl tried on, they found to be serviceable but uninspired. The trousers were also a good bit of weekend casual kit from the Lulu Kennedy Indigo Collection £45,  but there just wasn't quite enough style about them. The experience of M&S thus far, was a bit like visiting the Lake District rather than the Italian Riviera. 

Beryl is managing to hold her head above water in a sea of blanket wraps, a garment too like a waterfall cardi to please the tricky Jane and Beryl. Beryl is wearing an M&S collection navy and white spotted jacket, which was tempting, but was £55.  Beryl wanted a bit more bang for her buck, as our American friends say.

Shirley remembers wearing jumpsuits in the 'eighties and was all for trying on this Per Una version at £45. Jane and Beryl were keen for her to add the blue Per Una Speziale coat which they thought was just her colour: it was a whopping £149, however, and very heavy, so she would never have considered it.

Jane has been searching for a jumpsuit too for many moons and has trawled the length and breadth of these isles and tried on hundreds in the process. She didn't want black, of which there are many, and has decided that she must have a strange body shape, as none of them fit her (Note: this is the trouble with jumpsuits: the body must be standard length as well as all the other variables). She is wearing the M&S offering - again in beastly khaki. Jane looks as if she is working on the back shift maintenance crew here. The stripy top is, she thinks, a better bet (£18).

Stripes are big news this spring which means we will all be heartily sick of them by June. Beryl likes a small dustereque coat £99, but looked decidedly square in this item. Is this really a hundred pounds worth of fun? Jane and Beryl both struggled to find a good fit and their sizing seemed inconsistent.

Shirley looked great in this M&S collection dress £45, which Jane and Beryl thought was good value. The lacy jacket £49.50 covers the arms and could prove a very useful item. 

At the last moment when Jane and Beryl were flagging and about to leave empty-handed, Jane spied an As Seen In Vogue label on these trousers, so naturally felt compelled to investigate. She was too exhausted to even try them on so took a chance with a size 12 and bingo! These trousers are the buy of the day! They are in a silk jersey and were £45.

1 comment

  1. Hope I look that good at 80, Shirley love the jumpsuit on you.





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