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A snapshot of M&S womenswear through time

The images here and on the next page represent a snapshot of how womenswear has been developed at M&S  over the years - some of the highlights are listed below and you can download the full timeline (in either PPT or PDF format) using  the link below.

1930s - Ready-to-wear women's clothes introduced. Before this women had been able to buy stockings, handkerchiefs and hats at M&S, but this was the first time they could buy whole outfits.

1941-1945 - M&S technologists helped the government to develop Utility Clothing standards (a set of rules that limited how much fabric, thread and how many buttons could be used to make items of clothing)

1950s - The Dior-inspired ‘New Look’ style became popular, and  M&S used new easy-care man-made fabrics to make dresses, which meant ordinary people could buy high fashion clothing

1967 - Twiggy made her first appearance modelling for M&S when she was 18 years old (real name Lesley Lawson, she got her nickname because she was so slim)

1990The first model of superstar status, Claudia Schiffer, appeared in M&S magazine adverts

2000 - The St Michael label was dropped and new labels were introduced for M&S clothing, such as  the Autograph range and per una

2009 - To  celebrate the 125th anniversary of the company, M&S designers created a range of dresses inspired by fashion from the archive

2015 - 1970s inspired suede skirt ( inspired by items in the M&S Company Archive collection)  hit the headlines when it was worn by celebrities Alexa Chung and Olivia Palermo

View other relevant M&S womenswear-related resources or see the teachers' notes page for discussion and activity ideas

Scroll down for a list of links and other related resources on this topic.

M&S magazine advert Christmas 1932
Green rayon crepe dress from the M&S Company Archive Utility Wear collection
M&S 1950s New Look dress
M&S advert for women's Courtelle jumpers, September 1971