BICESTER VILLAGE: HOW I SAVED OVER £1000 ON LUXE LABELS
Situated near Oxford – an hour from central London – Bicester Village is admittedly a hit or miss designer outlet destination. Anyone that’s been will confirm this – and I totally agree.
Over the last few years, I’ve had a real mixed-bag of shopping experiences there…
The worst was when I ended up spending more on my train fare and left with only a £10 French Connection T-shirt – purchased purely because I couldn’t face going home with nothing! However, on another occasion, a stylist friend found the Mulberry bag of her dreams and when Mr Husband and I went together a few years ago, he got FULLY suited up for our wedding in the Spanish mountains, while I did a mega splurge in Reiss with pieces that I still wear today. So you see, hit or miss, the choice is yours…
So, when I suggested Bicester to a group of my bestest mates as a way of celebrating the end of my #nospendtilspring challenge (I hadn’t purchased a solitary stylish thing since early January ’18, except for a pair of pink Gucci-dupes in New Look that were only £2 in the sale!) it was met with initial excitement but also the reality that we might come back with absolutely nada!
And on Instagram too, once I shared on my grid that I was bigging up a Bicester trip, the comments were varied. Some reported back with salivating shopping experiences, others walked away empty handed…
So what was I to do, faced with such an incredibly first world, fashion problem?
After much WhatsApp debating, the bestie and I decided that a day out together (without kids) brunching, lunching and mooching around the shops like we did in the 90s would be worth it for the nostalgia alone! If we walked away bagless, at least the bank would be happy, innit? It was a win-win, so off we went…
We were right! The uninterrupted, long train journey (minus our kids) savouring a hot beverage (AMT’s turmeric steamer with coconut milk) with a squeaky fold-out tray followed by an espresso shot was utter bliss in itself and nearly brought a tear to my eye.
Mum life is so bloody busy! Funny how it’s the simple things that we have now come to cherish, innit?
Anyway, we arrived mid-morning at Bicester Village direct from London’s Marylebone station and it was time to shop! (Without the kids! Have I told you that?!)
To cut the fashion story short, THIS particular trip was a farking SUCCESS and in total, get this, I made a massive saving of over £1000!
And what’s more, I felt that I made my first proper step into finally committing to my new philosophy on slowing down my shopping habits in an attempt to build a more concise, well-thought out edit rather than just buying things, wearing for a couple of months and then fighting with them as they bulge out of the wardrobe! I’ve really come to hate that!
My clothing conscience is a lot more switched on these days…
I love everything that I purchased SO much, I was truly grinning like a person possessed, which I haven’t had for a LONG time on a retail trip. Pun intended!
OK. So here’s how I did it with some savvy designer shopping tips that will hopefully help if you’re looking to update, slow things down and curate a wardrobe with a little bit of luxe…
THE TIMELESS PIECE
I’ve been looking for the perfect trench coat for YONKS! I’ve never owned one and was determined to find a style that was timeless. No gimmicks, in a classic camel; something that would serve me season after season.
After all, every spring, the mac ‘returns’ and Mark Morrison plays on a loop in my mind…
Prior to visiting Bicester, I’d been watching Burberry trench auctions over on ebay and stalking sites like Vestiaire and The Outnet. When I went into the Burberry store at Bicester Village, I was in house-check heaven as there was so much choice, but sadly not a style that stood out for me. The prices were still quite steep, starting from around £220 but that was for very lightweight trench styles…
And THEN we popped into Temperley London where I found HER! Isn’t she BEAUTIFUL?
THE BADASS ACCESSORY
I love accessories. It’s a simple way to keep your wardrobe looking fresh. Just switch up dem details, innit!
While timeless pieces are great staples to have, I’m also massively drawn to the different and it’s the reason why I am loving everything Gucci right now.
Since Alessandro Michele became the Italian label’s creative director back in 2015, I have been stalking his thrift-meets-eclectic vibe that has a wonderful Wes Anderson way about it which really speaks to me!
Which is why, I didn’t go for a safe option of the black belt, but went for the magenta colour way instead, to add a pop of colour to my grey/navy/black/denim daily wardrobe.
THE UPDATE ITEM
Finally, I really wanted a new purse! (Gawd, I sound like a spoilt brat!) But after having spent my budget on the Dream Trench and the Gucci belt, I thought that’s enough! (Good girl.)
However, here’s the thing, sometimes you can just inject a little magic into something that isn’t broken but just needs a bit of a shake-up. Before you know it, you’ve fallen back in love with it. I was gifted this designer wallet a few years ago when I was a Beauty Editor on a magazine (great days!) There’s nothing wrong with it other than I was bored of it (back to being a spoilt brat!)
So, step forward Anya Hindmarch and her leather and embellished sticker shop. Originally launched in 2015, their popularity heralds from a fondness to those childhood days of puffy, scented stickers that we’d attach to our fav’ books and pencil cases. For someone that’s 40 and still madly loves Hello Kitty, I am a total sucker for this kind of stuff. You’ve seen my phone cases, right?
They range from just £5 at Bicester Village plus there’s a medley of pom-pom key rings and smiley-face mini coin holders too that can all serve as worthy ways to just tszuj up a wallet or purse. I went for the large crystal space invader in red and instantly my seven year old purse got back its punch.
Now that I’ve got some key luxe items and details, the urge to purge my wardrobe is making me somewhat irritable. I’m planning a wardrobe detox over the next few weeks plus unpack my spring wardrobe from those vacuum bags (which are brilliant for anyone with limited storage space or too many clothes!) But that’s another blog post, innit?!
So, what did you think of my Bicester purchases then?
Don’t get me wrong, as a time-rich but very cash-poor fashion freelancer, I felt sick parting with my plastic, but to be honest, the amount I spent in total was probably near what I’d frivolously wank away in three months anyway! At least this way, I’m no longer encouraging a wasteful wardrobe that I literally have to fight with to get access to everyday. It just plays on my mind too much these days for me to ignore…
Fancy a Bicester Village day out then? Wait for me to save up and I’ll probably see you there, ha!
The Bicester bus is coming, and everybody’s jumping…
Thank you for reading.