Tag Archives: susan fermor

“Phwoar! Schoolgirls in short skirts!” says stain remover

Never one to shy away from the big issues, the Daily Mail recently ran a shocking exposé on the migrating hemline of the British schoolgirl:

From mini to micro: Schoolgirls’ skirts are shorter than ever at an average of six inches above the knee… and two thirds of parents say they don’t argue about hemline height

Schoolgirls’ skirts are shorter than ever, according to a national survey of 1,500 mothers.

Hemlines have crept up three inches in the last five years and are now six inches above the knee on average, compared with three inches in 2008.

Schools have become more relaxed about skirt lengths, and so have mothers, according to research.

Source: Daily Mail, 25th September 2013

Of course, when I say they’re never one to shy away from the big issues, I specifically mean the big issues that allow them to print photographs of celebrity schoolgirls and hint at nascent sexuality in a way that would be creepy if done by a middle aged stranger on public transport but apparently is entirely legitimate practice for a national newspaper.

Is this story true? Broadly, probably – but I’m fairly confident the stat that hemlines have raised by three inches in the last 5 years is almost entirely fabricated. I’d love to see the data (the research methodology I mean – I’m not proposing I get sent on a fact-finding mission to perv on the hemlines of underage girls. I don’t work for the Daily Mail, after all).

As the story, makes clear, the figures come not from a year-on-year measuring of trends, but on an opinion poll carried out amongst mothers. Even if it were the result of two opinion polls – one in 2008, and one recently – we’d have a slightly more reliable result. Instead, the article details only the length mothers think their daughter’s school skirts used to be.

Of course it’s worth asking for a moment – of the mothers of rebellious teen girls in 2013, how many had rebellious teen girls of a similar age in 2008? Or are we asking mothers of 16-year-old girls to guess at the skirt length of 16-year-olds five years ago? Or, worse, to recall the length of the skirts their daughters wore at the age of 11? 

Still, all of this commentary is secondary to the real purpose of the article – to promote the company who paid for the ‘research’:

‘The popular school mini-skirt is fast becoming the school micro-skirt,’ said Susan Fermor, a spokesman for Dr Beckmann, which conducted the research.

‘School uniform tends to follow fashion to a degree but seems much slower to catch up than other forms of clothes. But short school skirts never seem to go out of style.

‘Schoolgirls don’t seem to the rules stop them – they just hitch up their waistband once they leave home in the morning

For those not aware, Dr Beckmann is the name of a brand of stain remover. If that doesn’t tip you over the edge of creepy, I don’t know what will.

“Men need help buying lingerie!” says lingerie firm ahead of Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, it’s little surprise to see the PR industry taking full advantage. Take this classic playing of the ‘men are hapless’ angle, from Martha de Lacy in the Daily Mail last month:

Men are pants at buying knickers! £100m of underwear bought as gifts lie unworn in our drawers because men keep getting it wrong
– One in five women NEVER wear the lingerie their partner gives them
– Women most dread receiving crotchless underpants and leather knickers
– Men in Edinburgh spend most on lingerie sets for women: £55 compared to national average of £42
– Welsh women most likely to hate lingerie gifted by their partner

Lingerie has always been a popular Christmas gift for a man to give his girlfriend or wife. But that doesn’t mean he ever gets it right.

Over £100m-worth of ‘lingerie let-downs’ lie gathering dust under beds and in the bottom of drawers thanks to bad choices made by men when it comes to purchasing underwear gifts for the women in their lives, according to new research.

Source: Daily Mail, 16 November 2012

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It ought to be no surprise to regular readers of this site that the story – emphasising how clueless men are about lingerie and how much of a classic and popular present lingerie is for Christmas – was placed into the news by a lingerie company, by the name of Fox & Rose.

What may well prove a surprise, however, is that a near-identical story appeared at almost exactly this time last year, in the same publication, previously used to promote laundry specialists Dr Beckmann:

Too racy, too lacy: Twelve million pairs of Christmas knickers will NEVER be worn
– 24 million pairs of knickers will be given over Christmas – half will never be worn
– 31 per cent of knickers bought by men for their partners are too small

A pair of knickers might seem like the perfect last minute present purchase as Christmas Day looms ever closer… but men should choose very carefully.

A national survey has shown that half of the 24 million pairs of knickers given over the festive period will never be worn. They’re too small, too racy, too lacy, or simply the wrong colour.

Twelve million pairs will simply get pushed to the back of the underwear drawer, while a third will get worn just once before being relegated.

Source: Daily Mail, 13 December 2012

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A year apart, the same story – replete with saucy headline and baffled befuddled men chaps – appears, advertising completely different products. Given that the research is the same, we can do some basic maths:

  • 2011: 12m pairs of knickers go un-worn
  • 2012: £100m pairs of knickers go un-worn
  • Therefore, the average price of a pair of knickers = £100m / 12m = £8.33.
  • However, in the 2012 research, we’re told that the average price is actually £42

Thus, we can tell, that either the price of lingerie has risen dramatically in the last 12 months… or this data is simply meaningless PR drivel designed to play on and perpetuate an existing stereotype for the purposes of flogging underwear at Christmas.