When we wrote our â€˜M&S we love you but please stop following trendsâ€™Â post over at The Womenâ€™s Room blog, we were completely unprepared for the outpouring of frustrated love concerning the brand from our readers.Â By lunchtime on the day we posted, we had been overwhelmed with essay-length comments from our readers who felt just like we did: that we love M&S but were struggling to find anything to buy in the store.
Where, we all wanted to know, were the simple classics in quality fabrics we need as wardrobe staples? Where were the stylish but easy-to-wear items that could update our outfits and make us feel great? Lost in a sea of muddy colours and over-detailed trimming, according to the comments. Could it really be that our beloved Marks & Spencer was a lost cause to us stylish 40-somethings?
Instead of banning us from the store (which we were worried it might do after our mega-moan!) M&S gamely suggested we come and take a good look at the early delivery of the autumn collection to see if it was as bad as we thought. So this week The Womenâ€™s Room took up the challenge and shopped the Marble Arch store to see if there was anything we actually wanted to buy.
Â Our first dilemma was to decide who we wereâ€¦ Limited or Autograph? OrÂ an ordinary M&S Woman? A challenging start,Â but unfazed, we ended doing what we do best, skimming everywhere to check for gems â€“ something a lifetime of clothes shopping has taught us.
In a swift swoop around every rail we did indeed discoverÂ stylish essentials in good shapes and quality fabrics that we would be happy to slot into our wardrobes to update our summer-to-autumn looks.Â So here is our What To Buy Now selection. We liked the clean simplicity of the following clothes and the easy way they work together in a mini-capsule wardrobe update. Not groundbreaking but very wearableÂ â€“ which is just what we all want at any age!
Janeâ€™s top buysÂ
Printed trousers and skirts are perfect for now, so Iâ€™ve picked the Limited Collection geometric print cropped cotton trousers,Â a great summer length inÂ turquoise, to team with the crew neck plain cashmere cardigan in the pretty orchid-pink shadeÂ â€“Â or you could wear it with the classic black colourway.
Â The spotty pebble-print Per Una pencil skirtÂ is a great shape, which you could smarten up with theÂ leather short-sleeve Autograph top. Either could also be worn with a classic white or black cotton T-shirt with more elegant elbow length sleeves â€“ but stick to these 100% cotton ones. Weâ€™re not mad about viscose jersey, it shows too many lumps and bumps!
Amandaâ€™s top buys
The Autograph floral lace pencil skirt in navyÂ is a good lightweight fabric to wear for the end-of-summer weatherÂ with one of the cotton T-shirts, and would work well in the autumn when worn with either the orangeÂ V-neck or chartreuse crewÂ neckÂ Cashmilon sweaters, currently â€˜2 for Â£20â€™ online.
I also love a printed trouser, so have picked the slightly longer slim-leg geometric printed trousers in mulberry, to wear with the plain crew neck cashmere cardigan in either burgundy or that pretty orchid colourway Jane picked. If you need a classic dress, the Limited Collection black satin trimmed shirt dressÂ is a forgiving and generous shape for those not keen on showing their waists, making it easy to wear and getting you through the warmer end-of-summer days.
Â -Shop all new-in fashion
-Find out more about the authors of The Women’s Room blog
What are your favourite summer-into-autumn pieces from the new collections? Leave us a comment below.