Sunday, March 18, 2012

Now that's what I call an Outlet - feat. BFC

I remember going to a "designer outlet" for the first time. I had been looking forward to it for ages, imagining fantastic finds of still-on-trend pieces, future classics and quality goods to which my budget would normally not stretch. I expected big names, big savings, a big smile on my face.

Imagine my disappointment when I saw that the brands offered were high-street's last season items with 70% off. What was supposed to be a treasure hunt ended up feeling like a rummage around the dregs of an end of season sale. I don't want to sound like a snob, but I can afford to shop M&S at regular prices and the sale happens at least twice a year. As nice as it is to get a bit of a bargain, what I really want from an outlet are designer pieced that I normally can't afford. A dress at £200? Yes, if I think it's worth it. £400? Or maybe £800? Generally not. I tried another couple of outlets where the experience was a similar one and then just gave up.

Through in-law visits to Oxford I came across Bicester Village and was hooked. This was exactly what I had wanted from an outlet: high-end names at prices that make them attainable to me.

I won't give a rundown of all stores open here (just check out the list on their website) but I will briefly present the ones I always pop by.

Diane von Furstenberg
Current season's items up to 50% reduced. This is where I bought my failsafe give-me-a-waist dress (think it was a current season, paid £150 instead of £280).

Vivienne Westwood
Clothing, shoes and accessories. Some menswear as well. Here I found a 3 of Anglomania dresses...

ca. £100

 ca. £100

ca. £90

...and recently also a suit.

Jacket under £198
Skirt £98

Clothes, shoes and accessories and a great choice at that.  Some great necklaces and I am sure that will be one of my next purchases!

Bags and purses (incl. men's), some clothes and shoes. I purchased a wallet, that had a RRP of almost £300, for £120.

My go-to for luxurious leather goods, I love their notebooks. Tends to be just previous seasons'. Reductions of up to 50%.

Usually just pop in and back out as I find it all a bit too... garish but during my last visit I came across this dress (down to £120 from £300) and just fell in love with the colours.

Also worth mentioning:
Jimmy Choo
Alexander McQueen
Matthew Williamson
Temperley London
Matthew Williamson

There are many more and if you want, you can easily spend a whole day there. If you are after some high-street bargains then Karen Millen, All Saints and Reiss are worth mentioning.

Another major point of interest over the next few weeks will be the British Designer Collective, who will be at the village from 21st March. Not only will you be able to purchase pieces from the likes of Peter Pilotto and Marios Schwab at up to 60% off but you will be treated to an "enriched journey that surprises, delights and captures your imagination" (BFC).

I will definitely try and get down there in the next few weeks and make sure I report back!

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