M&S trades seasonal clothes for items that never go out of style

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Marks & Spencer has announced that it will move away from seasonal wear and turn its attention to classic staples in a bid to change its clothing offering after a year of losses.

The strong UK high street last week reported pre-tax losses of £209.4 million, the first annual loss in 94 years and the worst year on record.

The clothing department, once a major attraction at M&S, was to blame. Hoping to fix the problem, CEO Steve Rowe announced it will focus on “100 timeless essentials” everyone needs in their wardrobe.

These classics include cashmere sweaters and skinny jeans, the kinds of garments shoppers can buy once and wear all year round.

Marks & Spencer has announced that it will move away from seasonal wear and turn its attention to classic staples in a bid to change its clothing offering after a year of losses. Stylist Rachel Gold revealed the classic pieces you need, including a trench like Hailey Bieber’s

The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex both prefer to buy investment pieces that they wear over and over.  Pictured, Kate in a sharp blazer

Meghan Markle in a classic white shirt

The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex both prefer to buy investment pieces that they wear over and over. In the photo, Kate in a sharp blazer and Meghan in a white shirt

This strategy is called ‘NOOS’ by fashion insiders, which stands for ‘never out of style’ or ‘never out of season’, according to Tamara Abraham of the Daily Telegram.

It’s not new, either as a concept or as a business model, but its adoption by a retail giant like M&S indicates it’s becoming more mainstream.

It could be a throwback to a time when shoppers relied on investment pieces that could be worn, re-worn, restored or passed on to a sibling, friend or relative.

“For years we’ve been wearing classic pieces and most of us own (what we would consider) a few investment pieces. That special item that we either saved up for or bought in a sale that was expensive even on sale,” explains fashion stylist Rachel Gold.

However, the rise of online shopping sparked a wave of fast fashion e-tailers focused on producing quick, trendy “throwaway” items that could be bought cheaply, worn once, photographed and replaced with something else the next night. . from.

Now that greater awareness of fashion’s impact on the environment, as well as the growing ‘cool factor’ of sustainability, means that some retailers, including M&S, are shifting to the other end of the spectrum.

A dress that fits your body type is the key to any wardrobe, according to Rachel.  A midi dress like the one worn by Holly (above) can be easily modified to give a number of different looks

A dress that fits your body type is the key to any wardrobe, according to Rachel. A midi dress like the one worn by Holly (above) can be easily modified to give a number of different looks

Revealed: the 9 staples you need

Stylist Rachel Gold, who shares her tips on: YouTube and Instagram, revealed the key NOOS pieces every wardrobe needs:

trench coat: A classic trench coat takes you through the seasons. It will look fabulous slung over your shoulders with an evening gown or sequin number. It can also be worn alone as a dress!

Jeans: Remember to buy in the shape that best suits your figure. Try gray or light pink for the summer in a lighter fabric.

Thick boots: This style is here to stay! Surprisingly versatile, they can be worn with a summer or winter dress, pants and jeans.

Heels: Always get a good pair of heels that fit well. Wedges are a good option if you can’t make a sharp point.

Blazer: Where once a classic navy blazer would have been, you can now get a rainbow of beautiful colors to match your mood and personal style. Try a bright color or white to take your wardrobe to the next level.

dress: A good dress is a must, just make sure you choose the right cut and length for your body shape. If it’s midi, you can still change the look by strapping it and lifting it up. If it is a short dress, you can try wearing pants underneath.

White shirt: Will forever be worn in style with a blazer, jeans, under a spaghetti strap dress, with a suit. If oversized, it can be worn with shorts underneath and chunky boots or alone. Go for French and make it a beautiful but classic staple.

cashmere sweater: In a good color, ecru, navy, black or a pastel you will last for years and you can wear it over the shoulders, dressed up or down around your waist.

Business suit: Every wardrobe needs one, it is multifunctional and will take you through the seasons, as well as worn separately as the pants blazer.

Leading the way are brands like Misha Nonoo, founded by the BFF of the Duchess of Sussex, which produces made-to-order pieces to reduce waste. Others, like US-based Everlane, focus on wardrobe essentials that can be mixed and matched.

Fashion insiders and stylists have long advocated buying fewer, higher-quality pieces that you can wear longer to serve as “building blocks” for your wardrobe.

As Abraham explained, “You only have to buy a Burberry trench once, but you can wear it for decades. Ditto a Chanel handbag or your favorite crew-neck cashmere knit (provided the moths can’t get in).’

Rachel agreed: “As a stylist, I’m constantly showing people how to style their clothes in multiple ways to get the most out of their wardrobe and appearance. I’m a big fan of a classic wardrobe, and every season I add a few trendy items and colors to keep your look relevant and trendy.’

Victoria Beckham dressed to impress in a suit, another piece everyone needs.  A suit can look elegant on its own, or worn in separate parts delen

Victoria Beckham dressed to impress in a suit, another piece everyone needs. A suit can look elegant on its own, or worn in separate parts delen

M&S is preparing to stock at least 30 percent more of these key NOOS products than it normally would, to avoid disappointment when popular products sell out.

Chairman Archie Norman said the chain was forced last year to quickly reduce the range of products it bought to cut costs after the shock of store closures. This led to a new focus on the size and shape of the entire clothing range.

Norman said the pandemic had made it “necessary” to reduce the number of choices available to customers. “We made decisions because we had to make them,” he said. “But what came out of that was very encouraging.

‘You see an improvement now and in the autumn there will be another improvement and that is not the end of the journey. I think there is still a long way to go.”

The strategy follows a significant thinning of the range in stores to eliminate underselling product lines and reduce recurrence. Chief executive Steve Rowe said the number of lines had already been reduced by a quarter in three years, making the stores “cleaner and more organized”.

However, not all analysts are convinced that this approach will be enough to save M&S.

“While M&S is confident it will succeed, it remains to be seen when a ‘cleaner and more organized’ store will persuade consumers to hit the high street,” said Liam Patterson, CEO and founder of Google Shopping Management specialist Bidnamic.

“With e-commerce booming and the never-ending digital shelf of endless choices, the decision to reduce inventory would counterintuitively affect the retailer’s ability to serve all people. But the cost saving is likely to prove effective and is a priority for many retailers after rising debt over the past year.”

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