Yesterday I went in to Marks and Spencer's at their invitation to take a look at the Portfolio range for over 45s in the flesh, so to speak. At the Marble Arch store, there were some fabulous things: a Limited Edition tunic dress which looks as if it has missed its way en route to Net a Porter and several Autograph silk dresses and tops I loved.
But Portfolio. No. Not for me.
I looked around for the calf-length denim skirt but could not see it. And do you know why, ladies? Because it has sold out. Yes, the Portfolio range is massively popular and the denim skirt has flown off the rails. What does this tell us? It tells us that M&S is serving its customers. The one's who want affordable Marni look-alikes, and the ones who want to look like early 1980s geography teachers.
Across Britain there are tens of thousands of women who want to dress like frumps. Is this a crime? Personally, I think it should be, but I am an adamant supporter of freedom of expression, even when that freedom is the joy of beige.
I was taken upstairs to the press showroom and shown some of the next batch of stock and there were some big improvements, quite a few things I liked.
But I made the point as comprehensively as I could, that M&S like much of the rest of the high street is making far too many sleeveless dresses that rise above the knee. This will be passed on. We live in hope.
PS M&S also say that they now ship overseas.