Faux fur jacket £89

Jane and Beryl are in the full festive mode and have taken their search for all that glitters to M&S. Jane claims to have seen some great kit from the great Mr Marks and Mr Sparks in the fashion press and wants to check it out and Beryl, of course, is never one to say 'no' to a shopping trip.

They load up their trolley in great excitement, for indeed glittery things abound in all directions. However, their delight soon turns sour as item after item is cast aside on the changing room floor. What is happening? Where, oh, where have all the fashionable, chic items they were promised gone? Dear reader, has the demise of M&S come early this season? Or have Jane and Beryl just eaten too many pies for anything to look good? Read on...

Beryl is in the changing room at Hedge End M&S, wrangling garments and her body. Has she suddenly morphed into Paddington? The small bear himself might be having more luck, she feels. Nothing seems to fit and so far things are looking decidedly frumpy on her 4 ft 11 inch frame, mature to a fault, she is refusing to come out of the cubicle.  

Silver lined coat £89, blouse £39.50, trousers £35,
boots £49.50
Blouse £29.50, skirt £45

Jane in contrast seems to be swanning around looking marvellous  
 and clearly preparing for a bit of flamenco dancing. Not a bad bit of kit and very comfy, but Jane doesn't want comfy for a stunning Christmas party look. If you want seductive, says Beryl, you've come to the wrong place.
The red, white and blue combo is more to her liking: red velvet jeans, lacy white shirt and navy furry coat with silver lining. (She feels she must mention, however, that this shirt is not well-darted in the bust area which meant that it gaped). And the boots are her favourite find so far: fabric, so not too hot, thigh length with a kitten stiletto heel. Who'd've thought our Jane would ever be seen in such an item?

Blouse £39.50, trousers £39.50
shoes £29
As any woman in her fifties knows the answer to looking good is not necessarily a diet, but finding clothes that flatter and fit the proportions of her body. Beryl is short in the waist, but curiously long from waist to fandango (this is an actual bono fide measurement). This skirt with its gold tweed weave sits comfortably on her narrowest part and follows her silhouette. In contrast, the blue shirt, although a truly delicious colour, only seeks to make the public rightly suspicious of her middle. Also a word to the wise: this blouse has what Beryl calls coleslaw sleeves, i.e. ones that at social gatherings are perennially being dragged through the dips. These are beyond irritating, and who needs further annoyance at this time of year.

Blouse £29.50, skirt £49

Beryl and Jane both rate these open necked big sleeved silky shirts, more Ross Poldark than Purdy they think. 

Brocade boots £49
Blouse £39.50, trousers £35, boots £49.50

Wrap £39.50

Having basically failed to find anything lovely to wear, Beryl is now playing with the synthetic fur stoles and brocade boots for something to do. Why does Beryl persist with M&S you may ask?  Well... because despite trying on at least 20 frogs occasionally a genuine, grown up, gorgeous prince turns up. The current M&S 'princes' in her wardrobe include a full length black velvet coat, and a floral pink party skirt.

Coat £89

Jane is always a sucker for a leopard spot coat and this one fitted the bill for all her needs: not too long, not too heavy, not too garish... and all for £89. The only thing that prevented her from putting her hand in her pocket, so to speak, was that she already has this base covered and this branch (possibly the second biggest in the country) did not have her size. This was a constant cry from our fashion-forward duo: where were all the medium range sizes? All sold, presumably, but it meant that they did not purchase. 

Blouse £27.50, trousers £35

A slight problem with static, Jane? She is looking like an overripe plum in this shirt, which would not stop sticking to her. Jane and Beryl both liked the dog's tooth trousers which is strange because they are wide and half mast. Could Jane and Beryl have to eat their words? They have clearly eaten everything else. 

Silver leather boots £69
After three long hours in the changing rooms, Jane and Beryl were beside themselves with angst and desperation and so made one last foray into the shoe department where they did manage to find some very acceptable offerings.

Pink satin boots £39.50

Bejewelled trainers  £35

Sparkly pumps £29.50

Velvet kitten heels £29.50

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