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I've never been a big fan of Marks and Spencers. I haven't been in the shop in years and the last time I did visit, I felt uncomfortable with a hovering salesperson. I'm not impressed by labels either. I really couldn't care less what name tag is on my clothing, I just want good comfortable clothes that last. Per Una provides just that.
I have owned a fewpairs of per una jeans, in fact I rarely buy anything else now. I still have the first pair I ever bought when I was searching for something comfortable and a bit stretchy after giving birth to my oldest son, now age 9. The fad at the time was for those super low cut jeans that let everything hang out if you bent over, and no way I was wearing those in public. I'd rather have stayed in my maternity clothes. The jeans are faded now, but after being my favourite pair of jeans for many years, and still worn on regular basis, I'd expect that after 9 years. But the fabric is till intact - no holes in the knees like most of my cheaper pairs of jeans, the seams are still in good condition and the zipper still works perfectly. I hope to get at least another 3 -4 years out of them.
I like Per Una Jeans because they have a higher waist than most, meaning you don't have to worry about your knickers being on display, or worse builders bum. I really couldn't see how that was fashionable for anyone, but all the more so for older women who have already had children. I'm happy to see the super low waist bands aren't as popular anymore, but I still think Per Una is a bit higher than most. The jeans also come in long, short and medium which has been quite helpful for me as I tend to need a longer length than most, and whole I don't mind showing off my socks as much as my knickers, it still looks unsightly to have your trousers and inch or two short.
Per Una look just regular jeans, but they have 1% elastine. It doesn't sound like much, but it makes a huge difference. There is no gap at the back when you sit down, and no matter how you move, these fit perfectly. If you put on or lose a bit of weight, they still fit as they are the fabric just adjusts itself. I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. But the best part is how soft and comfortable these feel. After my second son was born by emergency C section - these were the only trousers I could wear for months besides sweats - and while I don't mind sweats around the house, after you've had a baby you do want to wear something decent now and again. I had some major complications, so it was months before the incisions healed ( I had two - no idea why). Per Una was brilliant - the jeans were also grand in the early stages of pregnancy. But whether you have children or not, these are quite simply, the most comfortable jeans in the world, and they do wear very well.
I have since bought four more pairs of per una. One pair was used and I would guess a good few years old when I bought them. I've had all of them roughly 5 years or more and they form the main part of my wardrobe, but only the 9 year old pair and the one other used pair really show any signs of wear.
The downside to Per Una is that you can only buy it at Marks and Spencer or online. They are also moderately expensive. Prices range from £29.50 - £39.50 with Marks and Spencers. I prefer the Roma Bootcut which is thankfully the cheapest. I have found them on ebay several times though from £10 - £12 for a new pair of jeans, and this is how I have bought most of my jeans. I am not usually one to spend a lot of money on myself, but after taking into consideration how long these jeans last, I do feel they may work out cheaper in the long run than most bargain brands, even Primark. It also means less waste for the landfill.
I have tried to look up Marks and Spencer's ethics, but haven't found much. There was an issue with sweatshop labour in India, but this was four years ago. I do know they use fair trade cotton, but have been unable to find further details on working conditions for their factories.
In addition to jeans, per una makes a whole range of clothing. I have only ever bought one other item though, a lovely T-shirt, which I washed with new jeans and stained terribly after the first use. Sadly it has been resigned to being worn around the house or under other clothes, but it is still in excellent condition other than the staining after perhaps 8 years. I do like many of their other items, they seem to have sensible but stylish clothes suited to a wide range of ages, but most are too expensive for me.
These jeans are good quality they feel soft the colour is deep and they fit perfect I am 5ft 4inches and the size 14 small fit great. One satisfied customer.
Marks and Spencer have got a winner with Per Una. They are good quality clothes that wear well and when washable, do not loose their shape or fade. Just looking on a well known auction site at what the second hand value is, is enough to show their worth. The sizing is good on all their skirts but I find that the trousers are often a smaller fit. There's a good range for all ages, although I think their market is not for teenagers. If you buy a new item as comes in and wait, you often find that you can buy co-ordinating items in the next few weeks which helps make up several different looks. One of the things I don't like though is the addition of jewellery as these are often gaudy and if like me, you are allergic to any metals other than gold or silver, these are a waste. I would rather see a reduction in price and buy my own accessories.
Per Una is a range of women's clothing sold at Marks and Spencer. It was launched by the company in 2001 as a joint venture with George Davies (the founder of Next), and became the sole property of M&S in 2004.
The range was the first standalone one to be offered in M&S stores, and the Per Una "area" instore is always clearly defined with lots of the "three heart" branding, and a slightly more upmarket display mechanism than the rest of the womenswear. At first this drew me in, as I saw it as the best bit to shop in, but nowadays, the self-contained nature of the merchandising means I tend to just avoid it!
When it was first launched, Per Una was definitely aimed at a younger more fashionable M&S shopper. It was priced higher than other items, but the quality was tangible - better fabrics, better design, better construction. Back then I could only rarely shop in Per Una because I wasn't earning much, but I used to love the sale, and have several items from this era which I still love to wear now. One is a black fishtail shirt with a net petticoat incorporated - sexy, gorgeous and classic - and I have even seen this on ebay recently at over £30 for a used item! The clothes at that time had a similar feel to Monsoon and Whistles - lots of detail, lace, sequin embellishment - they felt relevant to me in my early twenties, as a working woman starting to grow out of Topshop!
Nowadays, as I have said, I tend to avoid Per Una. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but over the years the range has gone from being the trendy young offering to the "middle-aged mum" section. As M&S have launched other womenswear collections such as Autograph, Limited Collection and now Indigo, somehow Per Una became the least appealing label on offer. I don't know if it is solely down to the departure of George Davies, but the clothes have changed markedly for the worse, at least in my opinion. The detail is still there, but now its somehow "too much" - you don't want beading, sequins, frills and a paisley print all at once! The colours are mostly autumnal and dark, though annoyingly there's not much black - and the fabrics are cheaper and dated. Maroon crushed velour shirt, anyone? Thought not.
To be fair, although I don't bother with Per Una instore, I still check what there is online, as every now and then there is something nice which appeals. Or perhaps the sad truth is, I'm getting old! One thing that hasn't changed is the premium pricing - a poor strategy in my opinion especially in the light of how successful the much cheaper Limited Collection is (and how much better the clothes are). For example a black Per Una shift dress on the site now is £79.50 - I could be shopping in Hobbs or Whistles at that price!
I guess this range still has appeal to consumers, or it would have disappeared. The clothes are available in sizes 8-22, and very widely available, so its not exclusive in any way. I can't even moan too much that its gone old and frumpy as I now have much better choice overall in M&S anyway.
So although I think its dated, ageing and overpriced, at least its all in one area so I can simply walk around it! Not all bad, then...
I've bought all sorts in Marks and Spencer, including clothes, and most of those have been from the Per Una range.
I have to say I've become more and more disappointed in Marks and Spencer clothing in general. I can rarely find anything that I would wear in the Per Una range, it all seems to be geared more towards...how can I say this politely...middle aged women. I'm 27, so not exactly a young thing, but I find a lot of the Per Una clothing too 'old' for me.
I also have noticed a decline on the quality of some Per Una clothing. Not all, mostly woolens and t shirts. They don't seem to hold their shape after washing as well as they used to. Which isn't ideal since M&S tries to convey an image of quality and luxury.
One other thing that has put me off the Per Una range is the price. You can get something the same in another shop for half the price. If the Per Una stuff was of an obviously better quality this would be ok, but unfortunately it's not always the case.
Per Una is Marks and Spencers attempt at aiming itself at the younger market.
I must admit as an under 30 there is very little that I would buy from Per Una. I do not find it sells fashionable clothes compared with other high street stores. I also find that they are very expensive for what they are.
From the couple of things that I have purchased I find the quality to be ok although no different to other fashion high street stores that cost the same or less.
One thing I do find which I do think is positive is on the occasion that I do find something that I would class as young and hip they fit beautifully. As a mum to 2 children I sometimes find it difficult to find clothes that accomodate by 'child bearing' hips. Being as I am a 12 I find alot of shops make them small for those that have yet to have children. I find that Per Una are very comfortable to wear although I do think the Jeans are a little plain and are very expensive for what they are.
Per una is stylish modern fashion brand, stocked specifically in marks and spencers. offering both day time seperates and evening pieces, along with a selection of shoes, bags, nightwear and accessories, per una is known for its fine tailoring and well cut pieces for a range of sizes.
I have always been a marks and spencer fan, for its high quality pieces, however the introduction of the per una line, has launched it back into being a high street name for both young and old alike.
The pieces are well made from quality fabrics, catering from smart suits and tailoring for the workplace, right through to boho chic, floaty 'summer evening drinks' skirts, and sexy but well cut evening dresses, this brand has someone for everyone.
The prices are the same to slightly over the high street market price, however this is more than compensated for by its attention to detail, investment in long lasting fabrics and the obvious care in manufacture, i wouldnt hesitate to invest in one of their pieces, as it will definately last season to season.
The Per Una range at Marks and Spencer's is meant to be the younger and 'hip' alternative to their normal clothing while still maintaining the air of sophistication or snobbery that they are so proud of. As you can tell, I'm not a huge fan of Marks and Spencer, perhaps its due to being dragged in there too many times for too long a duration when I was younger. Anyway, onto an a brief assessment of the Per Una clothing.
The dresses still have a hint of looking like clothes meant for older people, the lines and cuts are unflattering and don't really mould to your shape, the dresses end up wearing you rather than you wearing them.
The smart casual jackets however, achieve a really good look, whether by accident or on purpose.
The shoes on offer are plain and not flashy, really nice if you want to try out a demure and professional look.
This range just isn't for me, the clothes aren't really worth the price, and while I'm all for vintage clothing, most of the clothing in this range just doesn't measure up and is stuck in a horrible place between trying to be new and stylish while retaining the look of older fashion.
Per Una does some really nice stuff - clothes and bags and womens' accessories, is what I mean by 'stuff'. Poor old Marks and Spencer was a bit of a shopper's disater, just a handful of years ago - and what differentiated their clothes from the slightly depressing ranks and ranks of pastel coloured, mumsy v-neck t-shirts and polyester trousers you'd get in shops like BHS, or the late, unlamented C&A (and bizarrely, still alive and kicking in the Czech Republic, is C&A) was well - basically not a lot.
Certainly M&S still do sell myriad variations on the old-school type of items - if people are still buying, I suppose it would be foolish for them not to - but they've also diversified into more sort of - would you call them 'boutique' or specialized ranges available in store, such as Per Una, and more recently Autograph. These ranges contain much more stylish, prettier clothes, for the 'modern woman' I suppose is what they're aiming at, and on the whole I think this has been a great success for them. It's obvious there's some sort of unifying theme underlying each of the ranges / collections - for Per Una, the theme would probably be something like 'well made clothes in a variety of fabrics, each with areas of interesting detail.' I hesitate to say Per Una clothes are 'feminine' as I think that has some unfortunate connotations, but they do tend to often feature perhaps floral or beaded designs and / or details, and over the years it's been a consistently impressive range.
I have a few favourite Per Una items; a long tweed-effect boucle-tweed fitted coat (brownish) which has a pin-on flower on the lapel (you see - the nice floral detail!) and is lined in viscose. As a congenital hater of the fabric polyester, I customarily search high and low for coats lined with viscose (or better yet, coats that are lined with nothing at all) - but unless you are shopping in a bespoke tailor's in the west-end of London (or so I imagine, never having set foot in one) they are not easy to find. Per Una came up trumps for me here (you see - good quality fabrics!) Another couple of favourites are two tunic-style buttonless cotton shirts, which have wide split cuffs - the shirts are bias cut (see - interesting detail; quality workmanship) and very flattering to the, um, less than conventionally-perfect female figure.
The only slight drawback with Per Una I've found is that the sizing doesn't seem quite consistent across the brand. For example, I'm a size 16 and have found that the bust measurements for various Per Una sz 16 tops varies from about 38 inches (looks right tight on me) to about 40-42 inches (spot on for fit and comfort) to a maxium I've encountered that's not that far off 44. This isn't a function of the stretchiness of the material by any means - it just seems to be - variation.
Of course the other point is that this being a very popular brand, certain items from the Per Una range seem to sell out the instant they hit the shop floor; certain sizes from the new ranges of winter coats, for example, are thin on the ground in-store even a few weeks after these new ranges have just been released.
But these are minor quibbles; on the whole, Per Una's great!
I was bought up thinking like other reviewers that Marks and Spencer's was where my Mum and Nan shopped. However now I am in my late 20's I am finding myself increasingly drawn to M&S and specifically the Per Una range.
The prices are not to bad (depending on the item), and the quality is very good. I know that if I buy something from there its worth a couple of extra pounds for how long it lasts. The different styles there are available is also very good. I am to old to dress like a teenager, and to young to dress like my mom and the Per Una range seems to strike the balance very well. I recently bought some lovely skirts and jumpers from there and have been really pleased with them. The jumpers have washed very well and kept their shape and colour.
My only criticism of per una would be that they have started including 'jewellery' with some of their products. These items are not really to my taste and I can't help feeling the prices at per una have gone up a little bit so they can include these unnecessary accessories.
Like most people I used to think Marks and Spencers was expensive and only for the older generations, How wrong can you be! With the introduction of Per Una in M and S stores comes with it the feel of a designer concession the likes of which are in other department stores.
The staff all wear different uniforms to the standard M and S which are pink, nice and bright. They are also very helpful and friendly not stuck up or pretentious and are very happy to help choose that ideal top or dress.
I love the fit of their jeans as I am quite short and get them in a perfect length due to the fact they come in a range of sizes not just one fits all, which is brill.
The clothes are very modern but also that little bit different. It is very easy to find a key wardrobe piece that can be worn many different ways. The colours are also very on trend and it is easy to find a certain colour in the shop as they are displayed in colour groups.
The fitting rooms in our store are lovely and big, with bright lighting and attentive staff who are happy to go and get a different size, helpful when I have my daughter in her buggy with me.
Although the clothes can be that bit more expensive I feel the prices have come down in recent years and I ma definitely happy to pay the prices as the quality is fantastic and the clothes wash really well. Also the clothes never date so something can be worn for years.
For a long time I used to laugh at my parents and colleagues for shopping in Marks and Spencers as it did have a reputation for 'old lady' clothes, good quality, but quite basic, with nothing particularly stylish.
However, since the introduction of this fantastic 'Per Una' range, I have been a keen shopper in M&S!
I think the Per Una range is aimed more at the younger generation, and has some fabulous good quality clothes, which are stylish at the same time.
The range of clothes available is good, from full work outfits, to evening dresses, to socks and underwear. Everything is beautifully made, and just that little bit different - perfect if you like to stand out from the crowd!
The material used is gorgeous, with some stunning fabrics and the range is famous for its beautiful embellishments - lots of sequins and beading!
The only thing that Per Una will lose points on for me is the price. Compared to M&S's other clothes, they are quite pricey. I notice quite a large jump from one range to the other, although obviously this reflects the extra quality, and, as they say, you get what you pay for!
Overall, a stunning range of clothes, perfect if you want to spend that little bit extra in order to stand out from the crowd!
I always remember my Nana shopping at Marks and Spencer and my Middle Aged mother doing the same. I always thought Marks and Spencer was un-cool clothing to be wearing. However, not long ago (around 2001) they decided to try and get more shoppers interested in their clothing and had a stab at the younger and trendier mum's market. The brand they came up with was Per Una, a more glamorous and younger clothing range for women.
It is designed by George Davies who is the founder of next and the George rang at Asda. He was paid £125 million by Marks and Spencer and it is his biggest pay day since. However it was well worth it as Per Una was regularly taking £250 million a year, which accounted for 10% of Marks and Spencer's total womanswear's sales, in 2004. It has now grown tremendously and is very popular with Marks and Spencer's previous customers as well as those who were newly attracted to the brand with its' trendier approach to clothing.
WHY I THINK PER UNA WORKED
Why Per Una worked, I think, was due to Marks and Spencer's unblemished reputation for good quality and decent priced clothing. Once those doors were opened for the younger/trendier market, the customers came flooding in. It was not very trendy nor the cheapest on the market, however it was glamorous and a bit younger and the styles were more flattering and some of them a bit more risqué. The colours were bolder and the patterns brighter. Some of the skirts were shorter and the tops a bit lower. It was certainly not New Look or Topshop; however it was better than the classic slightly frumpy, boring Marks and Spencer's ranges. I also think that it attracted people because it was a bit of glamour, elegance and it had some foreign, exotic qualities about it.
MY OPINION ON PER UNA
I think Per Una is quite a good shop. The quality of the products is very high and the winter materials are thick and warm; although I would expect this of Marks and Spencer's anyway. The materials are soft and lasting. The fine fabrics are fantastic and in everything you buy you certainly get your money's worth. The styles are certainly not for young people although if you are 40 or 50 or 60 and looking for something with a bit of grown up glamour shop here. I mean who wants to see a 50 year old walking around in a mini skirt! Some of the clothes from the recent winter collections '06 and '07 have been a bit dull and boring and nothing new. However, this year was a little bit different. The colours have been bright and bold and the fabrics exotic and wild. It's been a bit more like Per Una and I'm glad as I particularly like their warm snugly cardigans. The range follows the styles and trends of the cat walks, however, twisting them and turning them into more relaxed and more comfy clothes.
SOME OF MY FAVOURITE ITEMS
In the range from Per Una my favourite item has to be the long suffering yet always returning woolly cardigan. It comes in many colours with many different lengths. It is also decorated with many different buttons some matching and some not, some different shapes, sizes and colours. I personally prefer the ¾ length one in red or crimson and with different sized buttons. The wool is fluffy and the different miss-matched buttons give it a sort of lost look and it is very cosy. It is the perfect item to throw over a t-shirt in the cold winter days.
The second best item is the long dress, which comes back every season, winter or summer. The material and colours changes each time and this season it is in silky silver. This looks lovely and ever so grown up. It is best for parties at any time of the year. The summer ones are made of a light floaty cotton and come with more informal patterns this makes them good for barbeques - maybe even teamed with a cardigan when it get chilly.
The prices in Per Una are a little bit more expensive than the Marks and Spencer's basics however, they are worth it to buy something nice to go with your basics as most things are between £20.00 - £120.00 the cardigans are around £40.00 and the dresses around £80.00-£120.00; and the tops generally waver about £20.00-£35.00. The trousers are nearly always between £30.00-£60.00 price brackets. As you can see it is not the cheapest shop however it is worth it. The quality is superb and the clothes are long lasting and can be worn again and again.
* Good Quality
* Nice Colours
* Flattering designs
* Brilliant looks
* Good Staff service
* Superb for Marks and Spencer.
* Prices aren't cheap
* Can be same style after same style
* Can be a bit boring
Marks and spencer, for a long time had the reputation for good quality, mid to high price range, basic and boring clothes for the older generation.
Thankfully for my Nan it still has those things, but in recent years it's added some great new ranges to attract and tempt all ages and even the quirkiest of dressers.
The Limited collection is one such collection, which is more business and even wear well cut and not bad value for the quality, another and in my opinion the best bit of any Marks and Sparks is Per Una.
The first thing I ever bought from the range was a crushed silk long purple skirt. I wore it to a birthday do and 20 people must have commented on how beautiful it was. More recently, I bought a black crochet cardigan, which is a much loved favourite in my wardrobe.
As you would expect for M&S, the clothes are excellent quality, and priced not bad, a little more than you pay for the core range, but you pay for the wow factor of the clothes. All in all I'd say the collection had a little bit of a hippy feel about it, the clothes are flowy and on the quirky side.
A great collection for the more style concious M&S shopper.