Saturday, 9 August 2008

Fashion Focus - part 2

What's occurring in stores? Bottom line not a lot - OK new stock is arriving but is it actually the stock you want yet? I'm not sure after a couple of looks that I can really paint a picture. Granted it is still early August and there's the bin end of sale stuff but the shops are stocked to the nines with stuff!

Firstly, that is the nub of my problem. Too much stock. If there is one thing the high street could learn immediately it is this, reduce your number of items in store. Cut back on ranges, anything to reduce rails and increase space to look. And M&S clearly need to do it right away!

I can't abide the fact you have to say sorry every 5 mins because you inadvertently bump into someone amongst the clothes. At least I say sorry! Also it wasn't that busy. When you walk into the Marble Arch store from the Selfridges end you walk into a nice space dedicated to Limited Collection, but even this area can feel cluttered at times. In the last 12 months I've become increasingly intolerant of shop layouts. This over stuffing of lines happened before in the early 90s and M&S had to radically shift then.

Did I feel inspired or uninspired. Well quite frankly I was completely underwhelmed. I'm going to be specific - it's the colours! How does M&S get colours so wrong? What is their obsession with apricot and pale apple green - this is a perennial feature whatever the season. To my eye there is always something off about their choice of shades more DIY store own line of paint than Dulux in the mid range and Farrow & Ball at the top end.

Give M&S pink and it is an odd magenta rather than a Schiaparelli shocking pink. I want colours to be true to nature think a beautiful pink display of bougainvillea not a nasty dye.M&S is fine with neutrals, black, white, grey, and navy but the rest of the colour choices aren't great. May be it's their fabric choice too - who knows? Having said that they have a spectacular pair of bright blue leather gloves.
Pure Leather Plain Gloves £15.00 Colbalt Blue Product Code: T012872

Then there are the shoes - some fab options at great prices depending on your foot size or shape. I'm slowly converting back to my preferred option of wearing sock with all shoes. I broke with wearing socks with everything in an attempt to be more grown up but when Stylist Stuff happily appeared wearing her socks with shoes at the Barbican I felt more than a surge of euphoria, but that's another story!

Back to M&S shoe selection. I'm cautious on the fit. I recommend trying a few sizes on to check fit to find out how comfortable they feel as the cut isn't as high quality as proper shoe shops. Go at the end of the day when feet are swollen and tired to really get the right pair. I've selected a few gems.Lace Up Town shoes £39.50 in Beige product code T022081

Limited collection Tri-panel Shoe Boot £59.50 Grey/Black mix product code T022108
Limited Collection High Shine shoe boot in Grey product code T020521

Now I loathe all things Per Una - really if I was given Superhero powers I'd abuse them straightaway by ridding the world of the fashion evil that is Per Una but..I'd save these..

Per Una Leather Lace Up Brogue in Brown £49.50 product code T021647

You could pair these brogues up with a nice plaid pair of trousers (not from M&S) and this peachy little number on top.

Short Sleeve Bead Neck Top with Silk £35.00 (colour not specified so very very pale pink/peach - that's my call) product code T416243
The picture does it no favours but it is a light delightful easy to wear top with a 1930s feel. It isn't in any defined M&S range just amongst the many items on the many rails. Another item, amongst the rails,was this sweet cable knit- again please ignore picture - they need a stylist!
Short Sleeve Cable Knit Jumper in Grey £29.50 product code T387409

Finally there is a Limited Collection little satchel that would be a handy handbag! And a steal at £25.00, in store they had them in navy too.


  1. I too hate it when they have too much stock... it prevents me from concentrating and seeing anything at all!!! It usually happens in Zara, too many things and, if it's during the sales, absolutely disorganized... I normally come out empty handed and feeling really harassed!

  2. Aliena - some Zara stores in London are over stocked, main one in Oxford Street then the others are usually well laid out -all shops look like bomb sites by 12 noon on a Saturday!

  3. Hi kate-so agree about the per una range-so mish mash and same every season, I don't like it either! those brown brogues are nice though and I like the grey jumper too! I saw a nice boyfriend grey cardigan on Thursday in there for £25, but I'd like to get something thrifting for much less!!

  4. Hi Sharon-Rose - I meant to include the boyfriend cardi as well, it is good value for £25 - product code T385117. You can't resist a thrift moment!

  5. Hi! Those brown brogues are gorgeous!
    (I know what you mean about marks and spencers colours - often they just seen a bit "off"..)

  6. Hi kate-haha, you know me too well, I won't settle until I find those thrifted wish items! Thanks for your lovely comment and feel free to help yourself to any of my photos, no problem!!

  7. Oh lordy, yes Per Una! Who buys it? So random - obsessed with embellishment and patchwork - yet it sells so well. I don't get it. And don't even talk to me about those weak namby pamby colours. Cannot stand!

  8. I don't get to get to M&S because of where I live, but I did shop there five years ago, and I wondered how the food was so good and the clothes so blah. This was the King's Road one I'm talking about.

  9. I do agree with the mass of rails in M&S.... very confusing stuff....
    Enc: You're so right...

  10. Enc - the clothes are totally blah but with some little gems and the quality like the food quality is usually tip top.

  11. Nice to have a review of what's in store and some pointers, except I don't really do M&S. Like the tri shoe boots tho.

  12. I totally agree. I hate shopping in cramped stores. There is always too much on the rails too, so you can never move things along to find your size.

  13. Yes! Too much stock! Add to that all the sales crap (that usually ends up on the FLOOR at the end of the day) and overheated stores and I'm doing a runner. This happened when I went into Zara near Bond St tube last week.

    BTW - does anyone else think that Zara has being going downhill over the last couple of seasons? I haven't bought anything for six months - couldn't do the safari thing and their summer range was uninspiring and fabrics just awful. Anything good coming up for A/W? I used to live in this shop when I first moved to London (18 months ago). Now I'm fleeing. (Apologies for rant...) xx

  14. Overpacked stores really are one of the scourges of shopping in London, at least. I guess Primark is the most obvious perp but so many of them do it. I particularly hate it in second-hand stores, when the indiscriminate crush of clothes can make it really hard to have an enjoyable rummage.

  15. Top Bird - rant is spot on Zara is going through a no show! They have got a few good Gucciesque tops and lovely long cardigans for A/W 08.
    The Zara near Bond Street tube is the main Oxford St store and is the pits. Their Regent St one is far nicer and easier to deal with.

  16. Hmmm... Some interesting shoes from M&S for A/W! I have several pairs pf shoes from M&S and the quality seems to be fine, and they last quite a long time too if you don't wear them very often!

    Bonne journée!

    Mademoiselle M.


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