Marks and Spencer does me 'ead in. Hastings Battleaxe resurfaces....

Urgh, this week has been a bit of an effort. Still on Middle East time, Trumpoid horrors across the Atlantic and a struggle to alleviate the gloom with retail therapy. As I can't do much about the collapse of the world as we know it,  I'll stick to ranting at M & S. However, cataclysmic feelings of doom were finally soothed in the Lilac Room...

New White Stuff skirt from the Lilac Room
      Am I going to write about Trump? No.
      We have been back from our cruise a week now, and are finding it hard to readjust.  Am still waking at 4am thinking it is time to get up, while falling asleep around 8pm every evening.
      Things for me were not improved by having the AGM of our WI the evening after we came back. We had been travelling for at least 16 hours the previous day and arrived home at what felt to us like the small hours, even though it was only 9.30pm by English time. As WI President, the AGM is one of the biggest nights of the year - proceedings to be led, charity cheques to be presented, speeches to be made.  Despite excellent help from our dedicated and efficient committee members, at the end of the night I was so tired I felt sick and dizzy, and it has taken days to recover.
      Add to that miserable weather - wet, chilly English November instead of bright sun - and the true nightmare of the American election. Therapy was called for.
      Food and wine would be first choice, but both are out after gaining six pounds on that wretched cruise ship. I booked us another holiday to Malta early next year, but that was not enough. So, it had to be retail therapy.
      In our absence, Marks and Spencer had released the latest episode in the on-going saga of their declining clothes sales, and stated their intention to close a number of UK stores. For an already struggling town centre like Hastings, this would be an utter disaster, and I'll bet ours is one of the stores on the hit list.  I've ranted and blogged plenty about how Marks could turn themselves around before - see here - but of course they take no notice! Anyway, thought I'd better get down to town and turn their failing fortunes around.
     So, there I was, desperate to be cheered up, card at the ready.  What did I find?
     One everyday outfit choice I like for winter is a plain straight stretchy skirt with a longer top or jumper over, plus opaque tights and boots. So, I'm looking for stretchy skirts. Subtle grey and black check - dull, but cheap, and it would do for my purposes.. But stop right there! In Hastings the choice was a mini length at least four inches above my knee, or a frumpy midi which would be ankle length on me.  Am I going to wear either of those? No way. See picture below.
The long and short of it....
    Even if I had wanted to buy those things, needless to say our store didn't have them in a size 12. I looked on the M and S website when I got home, and ended up even angrier.  First problem. The mini skirt is photographed on a model - wait for it - 5' 11" tall, wearing a size 8.
    Now, in their press blurb, Marks rattle on about catering for 'Mrs M & S', who is apparently Mrs Average in her 50s. Well, that sounds gross to me anyway - am style-conscious Battleaxe, thanks.
    But let's talk realistic, and let's imagine Marks is indeed trying to cater to this poor old Mrs Average. Right. The average height of British women is 5' 4".  The average UK dress size is 16. OK, I can understand why they don't want to display their clothes on dumpy plumpies, but why choose a size 8 beanpole?
    Anyway, in what universe would Mrs Average woman over 50 wear a skirt that short? Just look at it!  Look at those bare, toned, skinny young girl's legs! Does that inspire any grown-up woman? And  in the middle of winter!
   
Marks skirt on a leggy beanpole - not for Mrs Average
    Secondly, and even worse, they do not specify skirt lengths for each garment on the website. The listings for all the skirts just say 'above the knee', or 'on the knee', 'below the knee' etc. On whose knees? The beanpole?  Mrs Average? Mine? Dammit, Marks, how much trouble is it to get a tape measure and tell us the actual length of the bloody things.
    I won't even go there with the long frumpy midi version. It was so horrible I couldn't even face looking it up.
    These are all such simple things it beggars belief. After spending so much on rebranding, restaffing, restructuring again and again, why can't Marks do better? It will be truly infuriating if our Hastings store goes, leaving the town centre knackered, just because the company is managed by IDIOTS.  Even Tu at Sainsbury's has more intereresting stuff in more sensible sizes.
    I like skirts just on the knee. Length between 21" and 23.5", depending on where it sits around the waist. This is not outlandish. There are many, many pretty skirts this length made by the brands I favour, for example White Stuff, Sea Salt, Mantaray from Debenhams. Could Marks do stuff like this? Of course it could. Do these other brands specify skirt lengths on their websites? Of course they do.  Better still, Debenhams photographs their clothes on size 12 models.  Here is an example. Note, also, how the models in White Stuff and Mantaray are wearing black opaques, like most women in the winter...
Mantaray - size 12 model.
    So, off to the Old Town and the lovely Lilac Room, with the lovely Robin behind the counter. What do I find? A delectable White Stuff skirt. Tweed, not stretch, far more expensive than Marks, but I had to have it, so did.  When was the last time I was in Marks and 'had to have' something? I can't remember. I rarely go into the Lilac Room without buying something, and have to ration my visits. It is truly one of my most favourite shops. Here's the link to their Facebook Page.
      

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