Calling all bargain shoppers. Three years ago I went to one of the UK’s premier designer outlet shopping villages and returned with 3 top tips on how you could bag a designer bag deal at Bicester. I’ve since returned to Oxfordshire, post lockdown, to see if the designer outlets are still worth considering. Here’s what I found out with a visit to Bicester in September 2020.
Firstly, it was busy, so if you want to maintain social distancing whilst shopping, don’t go, I repeat do not go at the weekend. Visit at quieter times (mid-week) or if you have to go at the weekend, go early and take advantage of the digital queuing. This means arriving at the boutique, scanning a QR code with your camera phone and choosing a slot to return. If you don’t do this you won’t be able to gain entrance into the likes of Gucci or Prada; all the day’s slots were booked up by around 1pm.
Secondly, everyone was wearing masks as they walked the length of the village, this is because it was near impossible to keep one metre distance. Each shop asks you to use the hand sanitiser on entry as an extra precaution for making contact with their products. The good news, despite lockdown, the shops have filled their shelves and there’s lots of luxury goods to choose from.
I set myself the challenge of spotting bags that rocked one of the autumn/winter trends; think chain embellishment or quilted bags, in some of the key seasonal colours, mainly bright red or pink. Here are the bags that caught my eye.
Keeping it cute
Who doesn’t love a camera crossbody bag? The zig zag quilting from Maje in this fabric will catch the eye.
Or, how about rock studs and quilting with the option of a top handle? Lots of colourways available at Valentino.
Keeping it bright
Now you’re spoilt for choice when thinking of a night out, be it cocktails or a special occasion. Top marks go to some of the well known brands for keeping you on trend.
Hello Givenchy with the bright red shoulder bag with accordion pockets which means this bag carries so much more than its looks let on.
Hello also to the Garavani bag collection from Valentino. How about a bright pink heart to capture your imagination?
If you find it impossible to edit the contents of your bag, here are two bags that will service your needs. Bright red leather tote bag in the signature weave from Bottega Veneta.
But if quilting is your thing, don’t worry, Balenciaga has got you covered. Understated but never not noticed.
Now the quintessentially British brand Mulberry has lots on offer. Yes they have the quilting but they also have a few bags inspired by one of the seaon’s fashion trends, plaid check. Here are two to choose from.
Got your back
Not in red but for those who love the hands free mode, here’s a quilted mini backpack by Kate Spade.
Red is dead
And if red is dead to you; it’s just one of those colours that never makes it near your closet, how about the metal embellishment from Chloe or the paler shades of quilted bags from Tory Burch?
Just for fun
All mouth but no metal or quilting. Keep it pink and bold with this tote bag from Acne Studios.
And my favourite is this bright pink shoulder or cross body bag from Missoni – with a brightly coloured shoulder strap that will work with every type of beach summer holiday outfit.
To sum up, the Designer Outlet Village of Bicester is alive and keeping its stock levels up to date with seasonal trends. This is the place that’s never short on designer bag deals and inspiration, even in challenging times.
For more AW’20 inspiration from fashion styles to more bags: