The Womens Room fantasy shop

Style Icons

After all the fuss about M & S this week, how to cater for the older women fashion wise, seems to be front of everyone’s mind – and about time too! As we have said before (and no doubt will say again – many times) one of the things retailers do wrong when addressing the older consumer, is to lump them all together in a 40 plus generic group.

Like tweens, teens and twenty somethings, there are many different customer profiles and age segmentations in the 40 plus market, and until this ‘one size fits all’ approach stops, they are never going to figure us older women out.

While discussing how we thought M & S could improve their clothing ranges, Amanda said “why don’t you put a fantasy range together”. So I started to pull some thoughts and images together as to what direction I thought they should go in and it dawned on me –  sod it. Let M & S sort it out, I’m going to create a Womens Room fantasy range – as we know exactly what customer profile we want to appeal to.

So welcome to The Womens Room (fantasy) shop, created specially for stylish 40 plus woman.

We start with our style icons who are aspirational but real – the kind of women we admire, hard working, talented, creative and stylish. Imagine them in our advertising campaign and in-store graphics.

We would also have an amazing online presence (obvs) with a whole section devoted to streetstyle – just like Amanda’s great images from Italy. We also would hope to feature some amazing women from the UK, wearing The Womens Room of course!

European streetstyle inspiration

European streetstyle inspiration (images from The Sartorialist)

Our transitional collection for next Autumn/Winter (due to hit in Sept – not July like other retailers) would feature black, white and pops of neon.

Prints would be polka dots and geometrics, in easy to wear Equipment style shirt shapes, slim fit trousers and knee length pencil skirts. Classic black tailoring features easy to wear body skimming (not fitted) dresses and softly tailored masculine inspired jackets. Add classic men’s style brogues, kitten heels and bright neon bags to accessorise!

Black, white and pops of neon

Casualwear is easy and menswear inspired, featuring dark wash, skinny and baggy jeans, soft easy to wear chinos, teamed with classic white shirts and Breton tops.  Add white Converse, loafers and an Ally Capellino bag to complete the look. Think Margaret Howell meets Toast in Milan.

The casual collection

We hope you like it.

Look out for ideas for store design and the next collection, due to hit end Sept – in our dreams!


  • Penny Hodgkinson says:

    I would buy this whole collection today if it were available – speaking as a 50 something country mouse from Suffolk who feels invisible when I go out shop – I use mostly mail order such as Toast, some Boden but it is all bit too ‘cutesie’ now , some Wall and (ssh) menswear depts – if M and S rally to your call I will be the first in line to buy! Love your blog – it is the first thing I look at when I log on in the morning!

  • gillian taylor says:

    Already I have fantasy ordered the whole collection!! I hope M&S are listening because looking at some of the New Season horrors they have on line at the moment they need to!! My favourite being a cashmere longline jumper in black – lovely you may say but it is embellished over the whole of the front with an enormous lion head!! I kid you not!!

  • Monix says:

    Buy this in a heartbeat – do you stock a size 16 please? And longer lengths for us tall girls?
    You do! Heaven…

  • Jude says:

    Brilliant, Jane! Love the casual range particularly. Will you be doing nightwear too?! Can’t wait to see the next hit…..

  • having been in the fashion business my entire professional life, I find myself at well past sixty in a constant puzzle as to what & where to buy. However I would buy everything in your collection apart from the wide legged pants – age unfortunately does not give you added height and slim proportions & narrow pants are a must.

  • Louise says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head – when does it open!
    I’ve long been drawn to menswear, I love Albam Clothing for example….. And much prefer mens coats, I still wear a classic French car coat I bought in Brick Lane 25 years ago!
    I bought a great shirt from Cos quite box shape, but not baggy and longer at the back, great with peg trousers and loafers/ plimsoles – i’d like it 10 times over including a fine grey stripe please…..
    So yes, something to rub shoulders with the likes of Toast, Margaret Howell, Cos, Ally Cappelino – but really understanding the proportions of the older (& taller) woman ( ie a bit more generous on arm sizes, yes Cos I mean you) oh and can you stock shoes in size 8 AA please?

  • sarah says:

    If you build it, we will come!

  • notsurebut says:

    This is it sign me up just perfect.

  • Helen says:

    Love it!! These are the perfect basics. I’d just want to add a couple of pieces of Marni-esque print/necklaces into the mix, to stop it being too ‘safe’ and monochrome… (nb: this is SO much better than Mary Portas’s thing for House of Fraser ((-:)

  • Jane says:

    Helen – yes I agree, need more print, watch this space.
    Thanks for all the great comments, we have a customer focus group right here.

  • Sara says:

    Like it? Love it more like. The only fly in my ointment was that I grumpily thought “I bet M&S nick these ideas without any acknowledgement or recompense to you” The devil on one shoulder hopes they do so I can buy it, the angel on the other thinks they should hire you as a consulant.

  • Jane says:

    Dont think I havent thought of that Sara.

  • Paula says:

    This is perfect. I too would buy most, if not all of it. M&S’s problem with the 40+ market is twofold: 1] there is no single vision at work at M&S, they buy by committee and 2] their buying staff are fixated by youth and are indeed themselves young. They don’t seem to grasp the demographics of the market.
    The other issues are declining quality, and also their fit. But neither of these come into play unless you’re attracted by the clothing in the first instance.
    None of this is rocket science!

  • Amanda says:

    We have all been talking about doing something for years.
    We should have done it . WHY didnt we ????
    Start this brand now Jane ….

  • Karen says:

    Brilliant. I’d buy for sure. In fact, I have those Converse shoes. Funny how all these women look amazingly stylish, and not a pair of nude skyscrapers between them!

  • Nicola says:

    One of everything in a size 12 please!

  • Cathy says:

    Fantastic, when does the store open? oh if only.

  • Jill Davis says:

    I absolutely love this, and stylish women in glasses – the joy! I have been enjoying your musing’s for many months now and been a bit shy about leaving a comment. But I can hold back no longer. I would like to add practical and stylish rainwear to the collection. This must be completely waterproof and NOT pink or any other girly pastel shade. I want to look good when walking my dog! Looking forward to more range development ideas. Such fun.

  • freethequay says:

    PLEASE start this as a capsule web operation, al a toast and their pyjamas all those years ago. I used to love toast, but their quality has gone way down and the dresses are mostly too clingy and cut miles higher than the natural waistline hence look too cutie young. love cos but cut too boxy, Margaret howell too expensive and sort of too knocked back, want a bit more glamour…

    you would clean up I swear….

  • teenrobson says:

    Love, love, love all of it. Please try to find a way of getting this to me asap.

  • LINDA CHARIE says:

    Yes please, love fantasy collection, you have nailed it for style for this over 60. There is nowhere between Topshop, Riv island & M&S where we can buy slightly non-frumpy but trendy clothes. Agree with ‘freethequay’ when she says Cos is too boxy, Toast just not right and yes I lurve a bit of glamour. I also loved the Italian street styles, how do they manage it, I want lessons leading to a degree in Italian style! When am on the beach in greece is 3 weeks I know I will have all the wrong beach clothes but maybe we dont have long enough each year to practice the art of hot weather dressing.

  • déjà pseu says:

    I would dive in head first and require a team of sherpas to carry my shopping bags home. This is Just Right.

  • Carole says:

    Would be my Perfect Job designing this range,I have tried my utmost in various companies to achieve this but because of politics and actually customers rejection of such stylish garments. I have failed miserably to achieve it!!!!.

  • Jane says:

    Carol you are number one on our list as our designer! J x

  • Tamsin says:

    So inspiring – what a fantastic collection of attires proving that the 40 + group are immensely stylish. Go for it Jane – we are right behind you with our wallets ready.

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