8 fashion buys that could turn around Marks & Spencer’s fortunes this season

M&S's snake-print dress is a versatile bargain 
M&S's snake-print dress is a versatile bargain 

Marks and Spencer profits are down, we learned on Wednesday morning, and clothing is to blame, falling 5.5 percent on a like-for-like basis. The news comes several months after home and clothing boss Jill McDonald was ousted, with chief executive Steve Rowe taking control of the division personally.

Actually, the M&S clothing offering this season has been excellent with a strong selection of basics like coats, boots and knits that reflect the season’s trends without being too slavish about it. And Rowe himself is optimistic too, reporting that clothing sales had improved in October.

Whether the company can resolve its ongoing delivery and supply chain problems remains to be seen, but the outlook is not so bad from the shop floor. Here, we highlight nine of the best items to buy from M&S right now.

The jeans

Carrie jeans, £29.50, marksandspencer.com

The unlikely hit of the season, M&S can barely keep its high-rise skinny Carrie jeans in stock. Reviews online rave about how soft and flattering they are. The secret to their success? It’s a leg-lengthening sparkly stripe down the side of each leg. M&S also says that its trademarked ‘Sculpt & Lift’ stretch fabric “pulls you in while clever stitching lifts your bottom for a sculpted silhouette.”

The jumpsuit

Cotton utility jumpsuit, £55, marksandspencer.com

It’s true, everything Holly Willoughby wears turns to gold, but this is genuinely a really versatile piece. Wear it on its own, or layer it with a polo neck or striped tee - add loafers, trainers, ankle boots or kitten heels. Jumpsuits can be annoying when you want to go to the loo, but this zips up the front, making it less of a faff.

The boots

Hiking boots, £59, marksandspencer.com

These are a dupe for the £285 Grenson Nanette hiking boots made famous by Holly Willoughby who wore them non-stop while filming I’m a Celebrity last year. These cost a more purse-friendly £59, plus zips make putting them on and taking them off a cinch.

The dress

Snake print dress, £69, marksandspencer.com

Animal prints never go out of style, but snake is having a real fashion moment this season. This satin dress is a really wearable take on the trend, with its pleated balloon sleeves and midi skirt, plus the sapphire blue colourway suits all skin tones.

The bag

Croc-effect cross-body bag, £35, marksandspencer.com

No offence to M&S, but this just doesn’t look like M&S. It looks more like a hybrid of designer brands like Wandler and Anya Hindmarch. It’s not made of real leather, but it’s vegan-friendly as a result and it keeps the price low too.

The hoodie

Merci hoodie, £25, marksandspencer.com

We love a slogan hoodie, and words just sound better in French, don’t they? This is the kind of thing that will become a weekend go-to, whether you’re hitting the gym or nursing a hangover. Layer it under a boyfriend-style coat (see below) to lend it a little polish.

The coat

Herringbone overcoat, £79, marksandspencer.com

This menswear-inspired coat is designed to look like a vintage piece, and they’ve done a good job. The herringbone pattern is very of-the-moment and the colour makes it look more expensive than it is.

The suit

Herringbone crepe blazer, £55, and wide-leg, high-waist trousers, £35, marksandspencer.com 

The suit is back and M&S has some of the best this season. We love this charcoal herringbone version with high-waisted, wide-leg cropped trousers. Bring the look up-to-date by styling it with a white tee and trainers or tie a leather belt over the jacket for a more polished look.