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Marks & Spencer feels the squeeze as focus on skinny jeans fails to fire | Business


After an era where skinny jeans ruled supreme, men’s trouser styles are becoming more relaxed and unstructured, with oversized fits becoming de rigueur.

So there is some irony that Marks & Spencer was caught out this Christmas by its decision to replace some of its older “relaxed” fit trouser styles with tighter fitting jeans and chinos. The former sold out while its “stretch” jeans are still hanging around in the sale.

The retailer made the changes after customers complained that its menswear was old-fashioned, boring and shapeless. But the clothing M&S actually became famous for (chinos, corduroy trousers) in the first place is actually more in fashion now than the looks it is chasing.

At London Fashion Week’s Men’s at the weekend, hotly tipped British menswear designer Bianca Saunders showed her Autumn Winter collection and it featured an eclectic range of trousers, including cinched joggers, speckled jeans, rouge disco trousers and dressy suit trousers. All of them were loosely fitted. Indeed, in fashion circles, a more 70s leaning silhouette, which includes flared and bell bottom styles are becoming the norm.

It’s a shame this skinny jean buying faux pas will inevitably take away from M&S’s consistent attempts to subtly reinvent its menswear range. Their Best of British and Autograph ranges as well as collaborations with David Gandy and Kestin Hare have been worthy attempts at challenging the mass market, high street ideas around menswear.

It would be easy to suggest that M&S stick to well-made classics than trend chasing, but why can’t it do both? John Lewis are playing an interesting game on the high street at the minute; it is collaborating with interesting designers such as Albam and Folk, while also giving its core customer bespoke attention through a personalised shopping experience. It looks fun and exciting. And who doesn’t want that?



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