When M&S' new collection is unveiled, it usually instills the sort of panicked feeling that, suddenly, I want to immediately change my entire wardrobe for spring-ready pieces. It's the sense of new season fervour – gone are the short days and long nights, only to be replaced with sunny days, rosé in the garden and pretty, flowing summer dresses. Only, today we're all dealing with a very different kind of panic, and not one that is particularly relevant to our clothes. We have bigger fish to fry, as they say, or at least more important things to worry about.
But we must have something else to think of, other than coronavirus and the chaos it's currently causing all over the world. While fashion, in all its forms, may feel like a flimsy distraction, at least it's just that: a distraction. And news today of M&S's new collection, dropping into stores and online from now onwards, is proof that we can – and should – carry on. We can look forward to drinking rosé outside the confines of our own houses. And we will.
So, what can you expect from this British high street institution's 2020 spring/summer offering? Well, the dresses are good. As in, really good. From pretty white midis (one of this season's biggest trends) to belted black dresses, there really is a dress for everyone – and all at a very affordable M&S price.
It's also worth mentioning the suits. Short suits are still big news for this year and, while many styles emerging are notoriously unflattering on anyone under 6"5, you can rely on M&S to make one that is, in fact, wearable for those who aren't Gigi Hadid.
There's also a trouser/blazer combo in yellow gingham that will look sharp for work (if indeed we're ever allowed back into a workplace that isn't our own homes) and could work equally well with heels and some jazzy jewellery for a wedding.
In short, M&S' new collection is not going to help prevent coronavirus (there are no hazmat suits involved). But looking at it may make you think ahead to summer days when (hopefully) we're in a much better place than we are now. It's important to try and live as normally as we possibly can right now. And if that means rejoicing over the fact that our high street is home to an institution as reliable as M&S, then so be it.