Forget ‘fancy little knickers’, Marks & Spencer should be proud of its big pants

    23 November 2018

    Another week, another offence-on-tap incident. The victim? Marks & Spencer, specifically its Nottingham shop window, and a display showing ‘must-have fancy little knickers’. The crime? Being adjacent to a display showing men’s suits, described as ‘must-have outfits to impress’.

    One of those outraged described the display as ‘vomit inducing’, according to the BBC. She was ‘incensed’ and put off from shopping at M&S, owing to the representation of women ‘as being preoccupied with fancy little knickers, whereas men are presented as powerful and needing to be impressive’.

    This misses the point, in my book. For what was wrong with the display in M&S’s Nottingham shop window had nothing to do with putting knickers on show – it’s a window display, you don’t have to look at it, or indeed shop at M&S, if you don’t want to – and everything to do with the fact that M&S had chosen the wrong kind of knickers to show off.

    Everyone knows that it isn’t those itsy bitsy teenie weenie knickers that one goes to M&S for, but big pants that you can pull up above your tights, and that somehow, without even meaning to do so, somehow keep everything together. Ladies, let’s be honest, how much more comfortable do you feel in giant Bridget Jones-style pants than some tiny snippet of material cut out from the scraps of your big pants? A thousand per cent, I bet.

    Big is beautiful: M&S briefs in all their glory

    It is a fact universally acknowledged that if you – and I speak for all tights-wearers here, however you might identify – are wearing the right tights, you day will be better, more comfortable. The same goes for knickers, and Marks & Spencer do, and have always done, the best.

    They wash well, wear well, and go with everything. The ones I have in mind – full brief, full coverage, full of joy – are the sort I don’t wear near my beloved. If he’s any chance of looking at them, that is. They’re for riding, cycling, the gym. Days at work with difficult meetings. Long journeys. They’re practical and versatile, and come in lots of colours, the crew-neck jumper of underwear. I once saw a queue by the rack of them in the Kensington High Street store. Friends rave about them: ‘Have you SEEN these pants? You must get some.’ These are knickers in demand.

    And so it is unfortunate that M&S chose not to include the full brief, truly its iconic pant, as its window-dressing item. This is the ultimate relatable must-have. Though, let’s not lie, someone, somewhere, would still have been offended.