To many modern British women, Marks and Spencer is synonymous with one thing (OK, two, if we’re including Percy Pigs): underwear.
The iconic department store might not be our go-to shop in the way it was for our grandmothers, but its hold on our knicker drawers remains remarkable. Over 21 million M&S bras are sold every year, with one in three British women owning one – and for adolescent girls in search of their first AA-cup, a mum-escorted trip to “get measured” at the M&S lingerie department remains a rite of passage.
September 2016 marks the 90th anniversary of M&S lingerie, and to celebrate, we’ve rounded up some of their most iconic underwear designs over the years. From delicate petticoats to contemporary celebrity collaborations, it's a whistlestop history tour of what lies beneath.
The longline shape of this delicate bra from the 1920s wouldn't look out of place today.
Slips and pyjamas, 1932
Some surprisingly modern-looking candy-coloured nightwear, as seen in a Downton-era M&S Christmas magazine.
Bustier bra, 1953
Old Hollywood-style underwear will never really go out of fashion, but it was at its peak in the early 1950s.
Ah, the mid-1950s, when an innocent expression was best paired with aggressively pointed breasts.
Knitted nylon slip, 1963
A Jean Shrimpton-esque model strikes a pose - back when slips were strictly worn under dresses, not as dresses.
Underwear illustrations, 1967
These whimsical illustrations of floral lingerie, from a 1960s M&S campaign, capture the hippy-ish mood of the day.
Underwear advertisement, 1970
Back in 1970, it must have seemed pretty radical for a heritage brand like M&S to be jumping on the revolutionary bandwagon. Groovy, baby.
Lingerie advert, 1972
Can't you imagine seeing Taylor Swift on a tropical beach somewhere wearing every single one of these looks?
Crochet lace bra, 1974
Because nothing says 1970s like crochet.
Vest and knickers, 1984
We tend to think of 1980s fashion as bold, brash glamour, but this page from an M&S magazine shows a softer, more casual side.
Fern lingerie advert, 1985
This shot, however, is pure 1980s: just look at that backcombed hair.
A million 16-year-old girls would sell their grannies to wear this to V Festival this year.
Body separates collection, 1995
Ah, the 1990s: such bland, soothing minimalism.
Bras for teenagers, 2014
This makes us feel a bit weepy. The no-nonsense, sturdy, seen-it-all-before women in M&S underwear departments are exactly the kind of women you want to help you choose your first bra.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for M&S, 2016
Supermodel Rosie H-W's M&S range continues to bring some celebrity sparkle to the halls of Marks and Sparks.