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Last Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008, 13:28 GMT
Underwear under fire: Your views
Jeremy Paxman
Jeremy Paxman has written to Marks & Spencer, saying the quality of its socks and underwear has declined.

The Newsnight presenter is to meet with M&S chief executive, Sir Stuart Rose, after emailing the chain, complaining socks wear out too quickly, and pants no longer provide adequate support.

Mr Paxman says he consulted widely on the subject, from people in his gym to the Houses of Parliament.

A Marks and Spencer spokeswoman said "the quality of our underwear is probably the highest it's ever been."

Here are a selection of your comments and experiences:

Although I am no fan of Jeremy Paxman, I believe that he is quite right with regards to his criticism of certain M&S products. I myself have noticed a gradual deterioration in the quality of underwear items in particular over the last few years, with an emphasis on lower price rather than good quality which traditionally has been the hallmark of the company's products. I hope Mr Paxman may be able to influence matters positively.
David Pagett, Malvern, Worcestershire.

I had been a big fan of M&S briefs for years and thought that with the M&S Autograph Collection and subsequently the MW Collection, I had found pant heaven. These underpants ticked all the boxes: the material was a wonderful soft texture, they were a snug fit across the bum so there were no uncomfortable (or unsightly) creases, and most importantly they had ample width across the gusset and sufficient room up-front, so the contents stayed in place without the need for frequent adjustment. This is no longer the case - gusset widths seem to have shrunk (can we blame Europe?), so buying pants from M&S has become a hit and miss affair. I imagine that the one in four men quoted by Stuart Rose are either smaller than average or that their pants are bought for them by unwitting (or possibly sadistic?) partners. My own partner, knowing that blokes would tend to suffer in silence rather than discuss the subject, did put pen to paper on the subject to M&S last year but their response had been the classic rebuff 'no one else has complained'.
Ian, Wakefield, UK

I think this is a fact overall, not just M&S. We live in a throw away culture that causes us to make a decision to throw away and purchase another.
Janet, Binstead, UK

I certainly do agree with Mr Paxman. I have been brought up with the ethos that M&S underwear is of a superior quality to most other brands. However, I have noticed recently that they do wear out much quicker. Please fix this M&S!
Paul Taylor, Northallerton, UK

For some years now, underwear and socks from Marks & Spencers have not been of sound quality. Jeremy Paxman is quite right to question them. Generally, there is a tendency to accept what we are given without question and this apathy can be taken advantage of. If a problem exists then complain or at least make your concerns known to the company's highest level. At the very least you will feel that you have tried and, who knows, like Jeremy Paxman you may get a serious opportunity to change things for all.
A Carter, London

I have some fantastic M&S underpants from years ago. One pair is still my favourite....The last pack of pants I had to take back. They were hilarious if meant as a joke. Thick elastic waist with barely any stretch, and then the cut was so long I could nearly pull them up to my armpits. Hilarious! Is this a symptom of product being made cheaply overseas? Quality control is definitely up and down, and it's supposed to be sorted before it hits the shops.
Gary H, Wales, UK

I agree M&S socks use to last a long time (until you got bored with them) but having purchased socks recently from M&S and BHS, M&S were a lot better.
Alan, Coventry

My daughter is visiting from Canada. Top of her list, she told me, is M&S for knickers. Best in the world for her, she claims, and she is a well-travelled lady. Don't let the quality slip please!
Iris Davies, Newcastle upon Tyne

I found the quality of my husband's underwear poor. We had to discard several underpants and many socks because they became thin and developed holes. Also some of the socks lost colour. When I complained I was told that I had to wash all by hand and more or less to go away. I haven't been to M&S since.
Maria Robinson, Hammersmith, London

I neither agree nor disagree with Jeremy Paxman's comments. However, I do find it unbelievable that Sir Stuart Rose will be meeting him to discuss his views. Would Sir Stuart have met me if I commented on the state of M&S products? In a word, no! It's one law for celebrities and another for the rest of us. Sir Stuart would have made himself look far better had he simply said nothing.
Kevin Connolly, Belfast, Northern Ireland

I'd love to know how poor the underwear is getting. I can't get hold of decent undies over here! M&S, please open up a branch in Perth !!!!
Ian Connell, Australia

I certainly agree about the socks. They are without doubt less long-wearing than they were (I've been a sock customer for well over 40 years but in the last year I've bought from elsewhere).
Terry Jeavons, Peacehaven, East Sussex

Certainly there is something weird about their ladies knickers sizing now. I fit (easily) into their size 8 skirts, trousers & dresses. The last knickers I bought from them though needed to be size 14 to avoid absolutely horrific knicker lines! Never used to be like this.....
Mary, Cambridge

I have some socks which are a little over 3 months old and seldom worn. I'm due to take them back to M&S as they have worn through already. I have some socks from M&S in my drawer that are well over ten years old and still going strong. Jeremy Paxman is quite right that garments like these are now far less durable than they used to be.
Rick, London

The pants do not seem as stretchable as they were. The problem would seem to be that we are being fobbed off with smaller pants. Five years ago my size for pants and vests were medium. Now I have to have the large size for a good fit. Yet my old medium size underwear still fits the bill. No they are not stretched and worn either.
George Orme, Carcassonne, France

I agree entirely with Jeremy Paxman. It's embarrassing wandering around M&S or Next or wherever surreptitiously removing a pair of pants from the bag of five on display to see how wide the gusset is! It is too late when you get them home. I can't believe that men's parts have got smaller. But the pants have! I should like to know who makes the decisions on men's pant dimensions - is it a woman?
Richard Jones, Great Sutton, South Wirral

Well done Jeremy for bringing this issue up. Most customers are not prepared to return fairly new, but worn & saggy underwear. Hence the reason M&S think most of their customers are happy! The trouble is that the quality from other underwear retailers is similarly poor, so we've got used to accepting that underwear will only last a short time, and we just throw it into our ever increasing dustbins.
B. Dickins, Uckfield, UK

M&S socks last a very long time. I have been using them for years and have not had them wearing out as stated.
Kris, Croydon, Surrey

I haven't noticed a problem with the women's pants yet, Mr Paxman, but I can say that some of their school uniform items are VERY VERY VERY poorly made. The hems of my son's trousers (both pairs) came down after only a little wear, and the white cotton polo shirts - which are (I think) labelled as being suitable for the tumble drier - came out shrunken and unwearable after their first wash, totally unlike the ones I buy elsewhere - even in so-called budget stores. .... I expect quality when I purchase from M&S. I shall not be buying school uniform pieces there EVER again, and will scrutinise any other garments much more closely in the future.
Joolz, Chandler's Ford

I agree with Jeremy Paxman. Having recently purchased two packs of pants I found the elastic in the waist to be extremely inferior and inadequate in that I was continually having to pull them up. I took one unopened pack back and will use the others as rags, all they are good for.
Paul Davies, South Wales

I agree that the quality of M&S smalls is deteriorating. I am now lucky to get two days wear out of a pair of tights whereas ten years ago they would last all winter. I wonder if Mr Rose can personally vouch for the quality of M&S tights?
Anna Petchey, London, UK

What's more worrying is the chafing i have begun to experience from the M&S range. If you look closely at the expression on Antonio Banderas face during the M&S advert you know he is experiencing similar problems.
Rob Phillips, Brockley, UK

I agree. There was a time when you gave no thought to where to buy underwear it was M&S. Now, it's the last place I would got. "Next" are the new M&S, though I got some very decent and supportive pants from Primark, good price too.
David Neterwood, Reading, Berks

I agree with Mr Paxman. Some years ago M&S carried a really good brand of underwear called Urban Survival. These were well made in a variety of styles and I bought a number of pairs and I still have one or two. Unfortunately they stopped selling them and since then they have only stocked saggy cotton pants that I wouldn't ever touch. I'm a loyal M&S shopper and a shareholder, but, gentlemen your pants are pants.
Andy, Cornwall

'Sock' it to 'em Jeremy. After years of buying M&S bras & knickers I have recently become totally disillusioned with both quality and fitting. Visually the M&S undies range is perhaps better than it has ever been but having returned countless items over the last couple of years I must agree that quality of manufacture and accuracy in size is consistantly below par.
Sylvie, Exeter

This is so true - M&S is a standard bearer for mediocrity at a price. I'm very happy with their products because I no longer buy them.
Johnny, Edinburgh

Paxman to meet M&S over underwear
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