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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).

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.

Advert showing an interior scene with three women and two little girls all wearing read- to-wear clothes
M&S Magazine Advert Christmas 1932
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)
Short sleeved green dress with blue floral pattern
M&S Utility Wear Dress
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

Sleeveless dress with full pleated skirt and floral pattern of red and white roses
M&S 1950s 'New Look' Dress
Three men in lab coats test a stocking for size on a plastic leg
M&S Textile Technologists Product Testing Stockings in 1957
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)

1990 -  The 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
Autograph magazine article with a photo of a model wearing a black dress
Advert for Launch of the M&S Autograph Range

2009 - To  celebrate the 125th anniversary of the company, M&S designers created a range of dresses inspired by fashion from the archive
Window display with decorative bunting and mannequins wearing dresses
M&S 125th Anniversary Window Display 2009
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