What can you actually buy at Bicester Village (for £200)

 

Jumper: £29.99, H&M (in store now). Leather skirt: £160, Hush. Bag: Sophie Hulme. Shoes: Next (old). 
I haven’t been properly shopping at Bicester Village since I was at Uni in Birmingham. We used to stop on the way at the beginning of term and I spent the best part of my student loan on Ralph Lauren polos and Karen Millen dresses. So when we had a wedding to attend nearby, we planned a stopover in the Oxfordshire shopping mecca. There is even a new train station, Bicester Town, which brings you directly to the Village (and a shuttle bus that picks up from Bicester North).
And boy, has it changed…
Firstly, the food offerings are real game-changers. Villandry, Hix’s Fish Dog van and the newest opening – Soho House’s Farmshop. It just means you can really make much more out of your day than a simple shopping trip (my husband was pleasantly surprised!). Plus also, for a Sunday, it wasn’t too crowded – they also allow for walk-ins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, back to the shopping. We all love outlet shopping…the feeling of getting a coveted designer bargain – but what really is a bargain? I always think if you wanted to buy a Chloe bag at the original price, you might as well look at Bicester as they have great discounts. But what if, like me, you have a bit of money to spend but within reason. Say, £200 – are there any bargains to be had? I decided to investigate (it’s a tough job)….
Yep, there was nothing in Stella McCartney – but it was lovely browsing the store….and the kidswear is worth looking at.

 

Grey coat of my dreams reduced to £500

But I walked away empty handed (that bag is from the White Company!)…

 

 

Anya is definitely worth looking at. I spoke to a reader at Laura’s J Crew event on Wednesday who had the most gorgeous raffia embroidered clutch she bought from Bicester, which I was gutted I didn’t see! But the leather wallets were £115 and the glitter ‘Valorie’ clutches were between £122 and £175.

 

The key in Bicester is to have a plan…if you have a certain budget, make a list of shops you can afford to go into.  For £200 I knew I wanted to get one amazing item, rather than a few little things – so accessories were on my agenda.
What I love about Bicester is that it doesn’t feel like ‘bargain’ shopping, all these stores are beautifully merchandised, the staff are always polite and you don’t feel intimidated (see the list of brands here). Nothing is strewn over rails and there is no bargain bin rummaging – so you can make a calm, collected decision. As much as I love heels, I knew I don’t really get enough use out of them to spend a lot of money. I was after flats – preferably ones that will make me feel up to date fashion-wise but also that I can walk in. So the next stop was Marni.

 

I was never a Marni fan before I started at Red and the Fashion Director, Nicola, was a self described ‘Marni Freak’! And now I get it – androgynous, sporty yet classic clothing with a bit of bling thrown on most things. I’ve always loved the pieces that have come in for shoots etc but never actually owned any – was this my chance?

 

 

Silver, (almost) flat and this season’s Mary-Jane style – these are different to anything in my wardrobe and would look great with a pair of girlfiend jeans (I love the Topshop ones) and a classic grey coat.

But….they were £220 so above budget grrrr…

So I move to The White Company, which always makes me happy. If you, like me, love all things grey and white and would one day love a White Company life, then this store is definitely worth going to – classic white bedding, candles (which I stock up on presents for ‘impossible to buy for’ people), dressing gowns and baby clothes for gifts. I bought a hand towel for £6, which for once, my husband approved of the purchase!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we stopped at Sandro. I had high hopes for this store, but weirdly, I found it a bit pricey – nothing within my price-range – coats, although gorgeous, were around £275.

 

 

 

 

Rupert Sanderson had some good deals – heels for £99…

 

 

 

And Tory Burch’s leather accessories are worth checking out – this bag (which would go with everything) was £159.

SO….what did I decide on??

 

Jumper: £29.99, H&M (in store now). Leather skirt: £160, Hush. Bag: Sophie Hulme. Shoes: Next (old). Sunglasses: £90, Ray-Ban
Well, it had to be the Marnis…yes they were £20 over my limit but sometimes….it’s okay. I could think of at least 10 times I could wear them this month alone! And a stand out flat shoe is ALWAYS a good investment for me, just ask En Brogue blogger, Hannah.

 

 

 

They’re very different to any other shoes I own, so they’ll take a bit of getting used to – but I love them. Funnily enough, between writing this and posting, Red Magazine came round my flat to shoot and they brought loads of shoes in this kind of style – so they’re obviously a ‘thing’ (phew!).

Next time you’re considering a visit to Bicester, don’t let budget hold you back, it’s such a wonderful day out, open late most nights (8pm Mon – Weds and 9pm Thurs – Sat) and the feeling you get from bagging that designer piece (even if it is something as simple as a Le Creuset pot – which is also a v good store if you’re in the market) is priceless.

This post was in collaboration with Bicester Village (but my trip was overdue anyway).

25 Comments

  1. Your shoes are so pretty! They areally are lovely and unusual. It's so nice to have a little splurge now and then. I live about 15 mins from Bicester Village but must admit I don't go nearly as much as I should. I am now very tempted to make a trip there this weekend!

  2. Love this post; great to see what's in Bicester Village if you're on a budget. Enjoy your new shoes, they look gorgeous on you!!

    Tanya @highflyerstyle (High Flyer Work Wear, without the high flyer bank balance)

  3. Phew, thank goodness you went back for the Marni's – I was even regretting it for you until I saw them at the end! I am so lucky that BV is local to me, I've managed some amazing bargains – Valentino rock stud python bracelet for £45 is probably way up there with my favourites but my Prada bags have worn so well and were a fraction of the RRP. Their Christmas sale is the best. Funnily enough I wore the M&S bling sandals there (the one's inspired by you!) a few months back and was asked if they were from Marni! x

    1. Thank you! I think it's inevitable bloggers work with brands to keep going, but I also think it's important to still keep it editorial and make it work for an interesting article – what I'm trying to do, anyway 😉 xx

  4. Thanks for such an informative post! Unfortunately I live too far away (literally different continent!) to contemplate Bicester but it was great fun reading about your shopping adventure! How are you enjoying the Hush leather mini skirt? It looks fab on you in photos but just wondering how you find the fit, leather etc. Been eyeing it myself but haven't committed yet as normally I'm not much into leather. Thanks!

    1. The leather is super soft – much nicer than my Asos one (but more expensive)…I have the size 8 and it sits quite low but then I wouldn't want it any shorter -but I love the wrapover detail, makes it look more interesting than a classic mini. Hush is so good, this season – I must admit.

  5. Great choice! I love your shoes. I was thinking of going to Bicester myself, and I'm thinking about train fare vs the amount of savings I'll get. Can you give me your opinion? I really want to buy a Gucci wallet. CAn you estimate how much discount they give?

  6. Absolutely loved reading your post. I love Bicester and really need to get down there again. Those shoes you bought are gorgeous – I just wish I was a girl!

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