Photo: Marks & Spencer 

FASHION NEWS 

Is this is the most wearable dress on the high street? 

 M&S’s latest “see-now-buy-now” collection consists of five dresses intended to transcend the seasons. Designed around the brand’s customer feedback, could they be the most wearable item on the high street right now? 

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By Hannah Banks-Walker on

Almost everyone I know – young or old, man or woman – has an opinion on M&S. Whether it’s firm admiration for its bed linen, ready meals or pants (obviously), the brand has become somewhat of a British institution. For its new season, opinions, it turns out, are key to the M&S strategy. I don’t just mean responding to the odd customer feedback form, either; rather, Marks and Spencer has built an entire collection based on detailed customer opinions and their shopping habits. 

This is the third season M&S has made a selection of its new collection available to buy straight away, this time offering a selection of five dresses three months before the rest of the range. Three of these are tunic-style dresses that sit on or below the knee, with short, fluted sleeves, available in navy, a slightly brighter shade of blue and a floral print. Regular M&S shoppers might recognise that this shape of dress is also one of the hero pieces for summer, also available right now, in fuchsia. And there’s a reason why M&S is sticking with this formula. 

 

The brand sells over 1.6 million dresses every year, with most online searches (both on Google and on the M&S website) for them reaching a peak in mid-May. When the research teams at M&S discovered this, they decided to dive even deeper into the world of analytics and drew up an impressively detailed list of statistics to help them build the new Dress Edit. Without bombarding you with a boring list of numbers, these include facts like 93% of M&S customers look for dresses that can be worn all year round, 76% want a dress featuring a print and the overall majority favoured higher necklines and slightly longer hemlines. 

With this in mind, the three tunic dresses hope to embody all of these requirements. They each come in both a midi length and a shorter style, the looser fit means they’re – crucially – comfortable and, as seen in the new campaign shots, they can be styled in myriad ways. M&S has really tried to emphasise that you can wear them now (or, at least when summer finally appears) with sandals, and then layer a polo neck underneath them and wear with your ankle boots come autumn. 

 

Of course, the price is also quite crucial. Given that M&S’s research showed that unsurprisingly, its customers spend far less in the spring and summer months than in the period before Christmas (October onwards) these dresses all cost a very reasonable £45, made even more appealing if you do actually get the wear out of these pieces all year. For those put off by the tunic shape or flouncy sleeves, there’s also a khaki maxi dress (again, designed to be layered on top of jumpers and long sleeved tops in colder months) and a yellow, floral print shift that has a matching pair of trousers. 

 

A quick look on the website shows that already, since their launch this morning, these dresses are selling fast. Perhaps, with all the facts and figures gleaned from customers nationwide, M&S may have just cracked it this time. 

@hlbw

 

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Photo: Marks & Spencer 
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