-- Like death and taxes, owning a Marks & Spencer suit is one of life’s givens, for men anyway. Whether as a gangly teenager with mum purchasing a prom suit, or a city slicker’s first work suit, weddings, funerals, and everything in between, the M&S suit is there. Easy iron and a satisfactory level of smart.
But despite its firm, and much beloved place in our men’s wardrobes, the M&S suit has never been something to boast about. Like Marks’ lingerie: we love it and we turn to it in times of need, but it’s no Agent Provocateur.
All this is about to change, however. Riding on its recent renewed focus on desirable – and boastable – clothing since the announcement of new style director, Belinda Earl, Marks and Spencer’s latest news is that it will join London Collections: Men for the Spring/Summer 2014 presentation season.
The collection, called Best of British, celebrates and promotes British design and manufacturing – the foundations of the national high street stalwart. Marks and Spencer will present in a static show on 13th June, and we can expect a line up of slick menswear looks including the sartorial patriarch, the suit.
We love a man in a suit. And if said suit is from the same store as reliable lingerie, and Percy Pigs, even better.
-- As Marks and Spencer dips its toe into high fashion, another high street brand takes a step up the fashion ladder. Primark, where we go to buy our socks, is now available to buy on asos.com.
Whipping high street brands from beneath our noses, including River Island and Cheap Monday, asos.com has become a shopping street at our fingertips. (I never much liked walking anyway.) The Primark addition seems to be something of a trial, with a capsule edit of 23 pieces, including guaranteed sell-outs like the midriff cutout denim shirt-dress. They’re the kind of quick-fix clothes you go into Primark for, and a profit-bumping goldmine for asos.com – adding a £6 t-shirt dress to your basket before checkout is a temptation difficult to refuse.
This reduced online selection is somewhat ironic in comparison to the sprawling poly-cotton metropolis of your average Primark store. At least on asos.com you can see what you’re buying, its size, and most excitingly, you won’t need to pick it up off the shop floor first! (When you shop in Primark, store etiquette fades and it becomes quite acceptable to fling unwanted choices to your feet, apparently.)
Clearly someone had twisted the boss’s arm to secure this e-tail deal: chief executive of Primark’s parent company Associated British Foods, George Weston, recently poo-pooed Primark online, insisting that customers would still “keep toddling down Oxford Street.” I like a ‘toddle’, but to avoid those Primark scrums… I’ll be proceeding to checkout.