Versatile, wearable, special. Sensible just got stylish at Marks & Spencer

Check blouse, �25, coming for next summer and showcased at the M&S SS18 press preview.
Check blouse, �25, coming for next summer and showcased at the M&S SS18 press preview.
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Hemlines are down and sleeves are long, signalling a new era of modesty and cautious optimism at Marks & Spencer.

Hemlines are down and sleeves are long, signalling a new era of modesty and cautious optimism at Marks & Spencer.

The new demure: Autograph dress, �65; bag, �89; boots, �69, from the M&S SS18 collections.

The new demure: Autograph dress, �65; bag, �89; boots, �69, from the M&S SS18 collections.

The High Street retailer, which began life as a Leeds Market stall in 1884, showcased its new vision yesterday at the London press preview of its spring/summer 2018 collections.

These twice-yearly media events provide an important insight into the mood behind the future strategy of the company. Judging by the fashions revealed this week, that mood is one that sees a return to good old-fashioned values of sense, hard work, fair prices and quality – very Yorkshire.

For its new collections, Marks & Spencer seems to have decided to play to its traditional strengths once more by offering wearable, dependable, decidedly demure styles, with just a little bit of M&S extra-specialness thrown in.

The core customer – Mrs M&S – should be delighted by the sensible long-sleeved dresses. This autumn’s £45, navy and silver, midi-length, long flute-sleeved, high-neck Constellation dress has been selling at a rate of one every 90 seconds. The design team has clearly noted that this is a winning formula and offered more of the same.

Autograph reversible leather jacket, �249; top, �39.50; trousers, �39.50; bag, �89,

Autograph reversible leather jacket, �249; top, �39.50; trousers, �39.50; bag, �89,

Versatility is another key ingredient that the M&S customer ought to appreciate, adding value and lowering price per wear by creating pieces that double up for day and night, work, weekend and going out. Witness the minimalist cropped olive green leather jacket, slightly steep at £249, but then it is fully reversible in navy leather. There is also a swimsuit that doubles as a body for day and evening wear, saving space in your carry-on suitcase.

One fashion trend that M&S does still follow is the concept of “see-now buy-now”, offering next-season styles available to buy now. New partywear features a Nigella-style printed silk kimono, embellished knits, jacquard skirts and exquisitely printed dresses.

The Rosie lingerie collection continues to grow, underlining that underwear remains a key weapon in protecting the M&S brand reputation as a provider of style, comfort and technology. Which means bralettes can now provide support up to a G cup.

Email: Stephanie.smith@ypn.co.uk

Twitter: @yorkshirefashQ

Instagram: @YPStyleTeam

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Thirlmere long quilted parka, �125, at White Stuff.

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