Q: What’s in a sleeve?

A: It’s the future of M&S fashion

Could something as simple as the sleeve be the key to securing Marks & Spencer’s fashion future? The high street powerhouse’s new style director Belinda Earl is confident that yes, it is.

Asserting her intention to lead the way on ‘quality and style’ at yesterday’s M&S AGM, Earl pledged that next season, 90 per cent of the label’s dresses will have sleeves.

The proliferation of sleeveless dresses on the high street is a bugbear for many women who feel self-conscious of their arms, and Earl is determined to give her customers what they want.


‘You told us you wanted dresses with sleeves, so for autumn 90 per cent will have sleeves. I can personally promise that I mean real sleeves, full, three-quarters and half,’ she said.

‘To be absolutely sure that we meet your expectations on this, cap sleeves, which cause much debate have been reclassified as sleeveless. So it’s official: sleeves are in.’

The renewed focus on responding to customer demand comes as the retailer posts its eighth consecutive quarterly fall in underlying sales of clothing.

We're convinced that Earl has hit upon a winning formula, however - and brilliantly, we won’t have to wait too long get our hands it. M&S’ new-season collection, the first under Earl’s direction, starts landing in stores on 25 July.

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