When you hear Bicester Village mentioned what reactions does it conjure up? Great parking? Last season’s product? Not as far from London as you first thought? 30% discounts? Well, this pedestrian high street is home to over 100 designer outlets and is the 2nd most popular attraction for Chinese tourists visiting the UK (after Buckingham Palace!) Surely I can find a designer bag deal here?
Of the 100+ outlets, there are 88 stores that have bags on sale. Of these 88 shops, 46 are probably worth a visit. If you want to visit all 46 outlets in search of your next bag you will need to put aside 3 hours. I submitted to the entire village in the name of research. The result was exhaustion but pleasantly surprised. Here are my top tips for shopping for a bag at Bicester:
Not just to avoid the crowds and car park queue. I visited on a Wednesday and nearly half of the bag shops I visited were offering an extra 20% off, for one day only. I understand this is a common mid week feature. This promo meant with the 30% off already on the retail price, I could enjoy 50% off. Here’s just a couple of offers both mid week and weekend from Kate Spade and DKNY respectively.
Last season’s bags
The outlet stores are ‘so last season’ except for one, read on to find out which brand is more generous and is selling S17 bags! If you are happy with last season’s products you will will find that you will enjoy a minimum of 1/3rd off the retail price.
Opt for a timeless or classic shape. There are plenty of bags that don’t look season specific. As long as your friends aren’t fashion editors, I’m sure your circle will be none the wiser and will stare jealously at your arm candy!
Here are some bags to have in mind when shopping
1 Evening bags – classic blacks, metallics or bright colour clutches and shoulder bags to contrast with the LBD! Choose well and you’ll get your money back with a year full of work events and parties.
2 Bags for work – with Michael Kors, Longchamp and Marc Jacobs there are plenty of well made and structured looking bags; ideal for the corporate world. However, if you are a bit like me and happy for your bag to stand out a bit, embrace the colour and metal finishes here. Have no fear!
3 Bags for holiday – catch the eye against a casual and light outfit, these bags are ideal to carry on the way to the airport or on a night out in resort. Sometimes we all need something bright to get us in the mood for sun and cocktails.
And just for the hell of it, hats off to Burberry who had bags from this year (one retailer who wasn’t about all about last season), but they also had the most noticeable bag – spot the butterfly wings below! Close second Dolce & Gabbana – even with the discount this blue purse was over £500 but it only manages to hold a phone and credit card. The keys and lipstick would have to stay at home – not sure the handle or strap is needed!
So I leave you with this advice; some designers dominate this ‘model village’ looking high street; Ralph Lauren, Prada and Boss fill their outlet with two floors of fashion to choose from. So wear comfy shoes and bring a bottle of water to avoid calling it day after an hour.
Top tip: visit the Bicester Village website in advance and look at the map. If you have one from your last visit bin it now! The one I picked up today will be out of date in just seven days when next weekend, the street will be even longer with new shops just open.
Once you know where the brands are located on the street, don’t deviate. Stick to your plan or be prepared to lose a day of your life! You’ve been warned.
Just leaves me to add happy shopping!