Apart from seeing the clothes up close and early, the other great highlight of a press day like the M&S one we went to last week is speaking to an expert. We spoke to Soozie Jenkinson, who is head of lingerie design for M&S and has spent the last 16 years with the brand getting to be (surely?) the most knowledgable woman in knickers around.
We’ve talked about M&S shapewear before, but Soozie told us that there have been three recent developments that have lead to it becoming really interesting. First is innovation in machinery, which now allows fabric to be cleverly knitted to reinforce, support and hold in our lumpy bits without relying on boning, seaming, fabric layering and corset-style clamping. There are now hardly any seams which means comfort and a smoother line.
Second is the complete elimination of VPL with the new engineered selvedge edge of all the stretchy fabrics use. Apparently VPL was the one thing M&S customers really hated about underwear, particularly shapewear, so the new selvedge stretch edge has been worked on seriously and now even looks pretty as well as practical.
And lastly, the penny has dropped and someone -perhaps Soozie- must have said, ‘why does shapewear have to be boring?’ and the designs are getting both prettier and sexier. We loved the neon colours and the old fashioned ice cream pastels and 50s styling. The Portfolio lingerie range, which launches in the early spring, is actually designed for the over 40s, looking at better cover, comfort and good fabrics without compromising on style or sex appeal.
Since we had possibly the UK’s number one expert on lingerie cornered, we asked Soozie what her favourite M&S bra of the moment was, and it’s the Perfect Fit T Shirt bra, with memory foam (moulds to your shape and remembers it even after washing). She says it is extremely comfortable and has matching knickers with the engineered fabric and stretchy lace. Amanda immediately bought a set (from the store, it doesn’t appear to be on the website yet,(this is the closest we found) and is wear testing it. So far, so very comfortable and fab.