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M&S "behind the scenes" feedback thread - non attendees - chance to win £150 M&S giftcard! NOW CLOSED

(273 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Dec-14 11:58:06

This thread is for the 8 MNers who attended the M&S "behind the scenes" event at M&S Marble Arch on Thursday 4th December. This was a chance for these MNers to meet the Womenswear design and buying team at M&S and chat about about their womenswear range this Christmas and to get some top advice on the range.

Non attendees - for a chance to win a £150 M&S voucher, please share on this thread either the very best clothing item you have ever bought from M&S or the one thing they sell that always seems to find its way into your basket! Add your comment and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £150 M&S giftcard smile

The event consisted of MNers "shopping" for themselves and selecting items they think they'd like to buy - these were then tried on and chatted about with the M&S team.

Frances Russell, Womenswear Trading Director and Belinda Earl - Style Director - called in and chatted about how the business works, how they try to make sure what M&S offers meets the need of all their customers.

There was then an open discussion with other members of the M&S senior womenswear team about MNers top 3 loves and hates about M&S, what the ideal M&S would look like/sell, what are MNers favourite shops and what's most important to those attending in clothing.

The group also asked MNers - if MN ran the Womenswear business what 3 things would they do?

Note; M&S have submitted some answers to the most commonly asked questions on the recruitment form - see this link here for them - we hope to have some additional answers in the next day or so.

Attendees - please share below your responses to the following questions! And do add any photos you took of the day to the thread.

~ Please give an overview of the day
~ What items you picked and what you thought about them (would you buy them?)
~ Please share with MNers about the discussions on the day - what did you ask and what was the consensus?
~ What was your take on the question of "if MN ran the Womenswear business what 3 things would they do"?
~ What was your overall impression of the day? Are you glad you went?

Also M&S would love to know from attendees:
~ How important is the way something is made to you e.g. does it matter if it was made ethically or sustainably and do you check this?
~ Where do you get ideas and inspiration from for what clothing you want to buy?
~ How often do you update your wardrobe with new items?
~ How would you describe your personal style and taste?


WowOoo Mon 08-Dec-14 13:51:04

Non attendee: I've always bought my knickers from M&S. I think they do the best quality for the best price.
I often like things from Indigo and Limited collection. I'll very often buy a top - a basic for layering. Also good quality and price.

Non food items it has to be Cheesy Tasters. They are my absolute favourite crisps. ( I know this is about womenswear, but that is one thing I ALWAYS buy)

CMOTDibbler Mon 08-Dec-14 13:56:21

The best clothing item I ever bought from M&S was a suit I bought in 2000 - it was plain navy, but there was a dress, short skirt, long skirt, long jacket, short jacket and trousers available in matching fabric, and I bought the lot.

That suit went everywhere round the world with me for the next 5 years and I loved it. They've never done multiple pieces in the same fabric again and it drives me nuts.

JuniperTisane Mon 08-Dec-14 14:03:48

The DSs' great-Grandad always buys them pyjamas for christmas from M&S. They are consistently the best quality of all the PJ sets they have. They are the ones that are still fit to hand down from older boy to younger boy whereas cheapy sets from supermarkets and the like tend to be mishapen and horrible after a few months wear.

AllSorted Mon 08-Dec-14 14:06:00

Non attendee. Knickers and black trousers

Thisisanoutrage Mon 08-Dec-14 14:07:12

A waxy, long length parka in the Indigo collection. It's a recent purchase in the sales and I love it.

gonegrey56 Mon 08-Dec-14 14:07:54


The best item of clothing I have ever bought from M and S is a beige sheepskin coat . I have had it it for at least 10 years and it is as good as new . Beautiful honey coloured leather, with creamy beige sheepskin. Admired everywhere ! People do not believe me when I say "M&S "!
A classic, timeless design , excellent quality, versatile, stylish but warm .

InMySpareTime Mon 08-Dec-14 14:29:09

The best thing I ever bought in M&S was a pair of black stretch fabric straight leg side zip trousers. They were comfy, practical, washed and dried well, lasted me years. The zip went after about 5 years and I liked the trousers so much I put a new zip in!
I had to give them up when I lost a lot of weight, the stretch couldn't accommodate a drop of 4 dress sizes!

Nouseforausername Mon 08-Dec-14 14:34:46

work trousers and knickers are an always purchase here and pj bottoms too, they're made well and wash even better smile

IvyMay Mon 08-Dec-14 14:40:15

Non attendee

Dark blue jeggings - bought 4 years ago. I liked them so much I bought a second pair for when the first one wore out ...and I've only just started wearing the second paire. Wish I'd bought 10 pairs!

mamahibou Mon 08-Dec-14 14:41:24

Knickers - without fail the best quality on the high streets. PJs too, the draw string ones and vests. Buy them every year. I have a beautiful coat from Limited Collection. Must be about 5 years old now but it's still in excellent condition and still gets compliments.

libertychick Mon 08-Dec-14 14:44:23

Non attendee: Best thing I ever got in M&S about 8 years ago was a black and white patterned wrap dress. It was so flattering and was a work staple for about 5 years - I wrecked it by wearing it while pregnant and it went out of shape. I still miss it!

I always buy the dark chocolate ginger biscuits - so good! And I always buy tights there. Autograph shoes are great - I have several pairs of Autograph flats.

I used to always buy knickers there but IMO the quality lately is very poor.

emmelinelucas Mon 08-Dec-14 14:46:25

Non attendee
I love the pyjamas, as does my daughter in law. I always buy some for us at Christmas. They wash beautifully and don't fade.
We love the vegetarian moussaka and the pasta sauces. Not too salty, very good value.

mipmop Mon 08-Dec-14 14:51:05


I like the ladieswear plain strappy cotton vests that are 2 for £8 and buy more each season (because I like the new colours , or to replace old ones).
The best thing I ever bought would probably be smart work trousers around 10 years ago- nice fabric and cut.

Taffeta Mon 08-Dec-14 14:55:47

Non attendees - best thing I've ever bought is a black cardigan, bought about 7 years ago and worn about 10 times a year. Still looks as good as new. And classic so hasn't dated.

FollowTheStarship Mon 08-Dec-14 14:58:39


I love the tights and socks and buy some every year. This year I have bought gorgeous thermal tights and the reason I like them is the brown that they are - usually it's a choice of charcoal grey or chocolate brown but these are in between, like a dark taupe. Also they are warm and comfy and come up really high at the waist, so no tugging up. This is the kind of thing M&S does so well and I wish would extend to the main fashion lines - quality, simplicity and subtlety.

My tights weren't cheap, 12.50 but to me it is worth it to pay for something good. I find cheap, over-decorated clothes in M&S depressing, I would rather have the quality and simplicity.

I like the pjs too and have some brushed cotton polar bear ones that I love - but, they weren't long enough so I had to extend them. Longer length option would be nice.

NorwaySpruce Mon 08-Dec-14 14:59:18

(Non attendee) my best purchase was a lambswool jumper in forest green, from the men's department about ten years ago.

I bought it for my father, but he decided he wasn't a jumper person that year, so I swiped it back. I wore it for years, until it was more hole than jumper. Every time I washed it, it seemed to get softer and softer.

I loved that jumper.

NakedFamilyFightClub Mon 08-Dec-14 15:01:59

Non-attendance: the best thing I ever bought was a blue knitted jumper with zips at the shoulders. No one believed it was from M&S and I loved it. Then I went a lost a lot of weight and it didn't look as good. I wish I'd bought one in a smaller size!

Ladyface Mon 08-Dec-14 15:46:35

Also a non- attendee. I work for a competitor so although I could have attended it felt a bit wrong to apply. confused

I like Indigo, particularly the coats, knitwear and short pattern skirts. However, in the summer the colours go a bit wishy washy and look awful against my pasty skin. I really like the jewel colours this season. I also like Limited Collection and have seen some nice stuff in M&S Collection this season. I still buy all my pjs, knickers and tights there and the vest tops mention up thread. I also buy a lot of childrenwear there although my dd is in the older girls category now and I find a some of it unsuitable for a 7 year old imho. Please can you stock some knitted dresses in the older girls range!

stealthsquiggle Mon 08-Dec-14 15:52:35

Best purchase - oh several, actually. Basic linen shirts bought in the sale. Also a semi-transparent Navy T shirt with a sort of damasky pattern. Sounds horrendous, looks effortlessly smart over a matching vest top. Once I am in there then more opaque tights do always find their way into the basket, generally doubling my total spend in the process.

HarveySpecter Mon 08-Dec-14 15:54:45

Non attendee - knickers, always knickers. Whatever I pop in for, I come out with more knickers!

Aubasaurus Mon 08-Dec-14 15:59:03

Non-attendee - the best item of clothing I've ever bought from M&S is a pair of jeans I bought a couple of months ago, they've swiftly become a favourite! DD also has a lovely dark red woollen dress which her grandmother bought her last winter, it's very big for the sizing but now she fits in to it she loves it!

AstroNaught Mon 08-Dec-14 16:06:33

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ouryve Mon 08-Dec-14 16:14:42

I've found M&S rather hit and miss, in recent years, but I've had some rather nice loose fitting cotton tops, over the past year or so. I'm particularly fond of a linen top I have in a lovely deep raspberry colour.

And I managed to get hold of some deep plum coloured cords from the Indigo range and they're wonderfully high waisted and actually stay up without a belt!

I always get the multipacks of big knickers, though none of them are quite as good as the ones they did sometimes last century, with the wide elastic and seams up the back.

teddygirlonce Mon 08-Dec-14 16:53:40


Best thing I've ever bought at M&S is a black wool chunky cardigan (not cheap as it cost £35 back then), bought in 1996 and still going strong to this day. It's super warm and is my fall-back winter woolly for wearing when sitting around at home. I can't imagine being without it!

Not entirely sure there's anything (bras and knickers aside) that always find its way into my basket in M&S these days. Possibly clothes for my DCs, but not necessarily for me.

On a related note, I was looking for a slightly more 'dressy' than just plain black long-sleeved T-shirt, to go with a lovely Monsoon skirt, for a family do. I wondered around our large M&S about four times, convinced that I'd missed 'the' top I wanted (I couldn't find anything even close to the desired flattering shape etc...). Nada, until I happened to find myself in the Lingerie Department and came across (entirely by accident) a slim-line long sleeved black top with a sweetheart neckline and a top bit in black and dotty fine mesh (with long sleeves) - perfect.

All that said, I do think there's been a definite upturn in some of the colourways and styles in the past couple of seasons... but still way too many dreary, drab 'old ladies' clothes...

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