Feelin’ Lucky

Posted in Daily Outfits, Fashion.

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Vintage skirt and shirt, Dune sandals, Dorothy Perkins belt, Me and Zena necklace, Primark bangle, Urban Outfitters hat

At the weekend I went to Bicester Village, a discount designer outlet. I’m always looking for new, money-saving ways to shop, and as Bicester has been mentioned on a few of my favourite blogs I thought I’d take a trip to Oxford to see what the fuss was about.

I’m not sure what I was expecting – an Alexa for £100, maybe? – but I came away empty-handed and unimpressed. This is not a cheap way to shop, and neither is it an enjoyable one. It could be that I’m just not the target customer for Bicester Village – a Missoni dress, while stunningly beautiful, still costs £500 – but I found the long queues, piles of unfolded clothes and hoards of pushing people akin to a trip to Primark. Only this time I didn’t have a bag full of purchases to distract me.

To me, shopping for designer pieces should be special. If I were ever to spend £600 on a bag, I’d want the sales assistant’s full and undivided attention. I’d want space and time to consider my purchase. I’d want it in a thick paper bag with ribbon handles. I’d want (and need) a glass of champagne afterwards. I would not want a pushchair rammed into my ankles as I handed over my credit card, or the dress I’d just spent a month’s rent on shoving into a plastic bag along with its receipt.

Am I naive to assume that the price of high end goods should include exceptional service, even at discount outlets? Or should I accept that if I want to save on the RRP, I need to let the service slide? What do you think of designer discount outlets?

PS – I did have an enjoyable experience in some shops – namely, the less popular ones. Theory had some beautiful LBDs at £50 a pop, and Joseph’s wool blazers were a steal at £39. The sales assistant in Diane von Furstenberg almost convinced me to blow £250 on a classic wrap dress, and the lunch at Carluccio’s was delicious.


Minimum Mouse

I actually love Bicester village, but I never go on weekends as I went once and it was horrible! Far too busy! Much nicer on a weekday, and the shops I enjoy most are not the high end designer ones but Cath Kidston, Radley, French Connection, Monsoon and Fat Face. You can get great bargains there too, I once got a pair of gorgeous Hugo Boss shoes for £20 which I wear loads. But sometimes I go and there are few bargains to be had. At the moment the brands’ best bargains are probably at the sales in their main shops and haven’t got to the outlets yet. Plus if you ask nicely at the info desk, or register on their website you can get a voucher that gives you an extra 10% off in most of the shops.


I adore your skirt! So very pretty. And I’ve added the place where you got your necklace to my favourites for browsing later, I love it!

As for Bicester Village, I’ve never actually been, but apparently there’s a discount Cath Kidston store there, so I hope to go at some point.

I agree that if you’re forking out on an expensive purchase, it is special, and you want the experience to be special too. I tend to splash out more on special shopping trips, as then the item has a greater value in memory too 🙂

Fiona x

Sirens and Bells

I love this outfit, very summery 🙂

I agree, when paying more for clothes, I think it’s only fair to expect better service. In Primark, I expect rubbish service because the clothes are so cheap, but in shops where the clothes are incredibly expensive, I expect the staff to be helpful and polite etc xx
Sirens and Bells

Lizzy Lips

I’m with you Jen, even if you are saving a couple of hundred quid on something if you’re still spending a small fortune you want the experience to be extra special.

I made a purchase at Mulberry last Christmas from their outlet store at Cheshire Oaks, I went late one night after work and it was really quiet. The store was as perfectly presented as the New Bond Street equivalent and the service was brilliant. They gift wrapped my perchase and carfully tied a bow around the bag. It made buying an extra special gift for my sister equally special for me too.


I used to visit Bicester quite often although it was probably over a decade ago since I last went. I’ve still got a fabulous Jade Jagger cuff I bought in the Paul Smith outlet.
Whilst rifling though a rail of dresses in Gianfranco Ferre was horrified to discover to biggest spider I’d ever seen in my life hanging off a cocktail frock. My screams got everyone’s attention. x


Bicester is not really somewhere you can go to buy things at high street prices. Its really still top-end designers at expensive prices. I love the Cath K shop there as they usually have a good selection of things and the Mulberry shop is lovely but its still very expensive.



I don’t think Bicester et al would much interest me as I bet I’d find, on checking the label, that it’s still all made in China. It seems kinda lazy to buy “labels”. I enjoy putting the effort in to find local stuff or really old-fashioned English quality.

I’d rather do ethical shopping from People Tree or get second-hand.

Actually, shop abroad if you want really quality stuff.

August Paddock

Lovely outfit! We went to Bicester two weekends ago and it was hell on earth! I last went a few years ago and it was okay but I thought it was rammed with the stuff the main shops can’t sell, all thrown together and basically a dumping ground. It was heaving with people, my husband went in Ralph Lauren and it was so packed he physically couldn’t get into the shop. I did however love Cath Kidston, the make up shop I brought some goodies very reduced and I enjoyed looking around The White Company (but still mega pricey) and a few other stores but it won’t be somewhere I’ll visit again soon!


I’ve only been to Bicester once and was disappointed, I think it’s the kind of place you need to be able to visit fairly often to get the best buys.


I completely agree with you. Was considering taking a trip to Bicester village, but now I’m not so sure.

If I’m going to spend that much money the most important thing to me would be the attention of the shop assistant, and the after purchase service received.

I am having a nightmare at the moment because my beautiful designer watch needs a new strap and the designer doesn’t do replacements. So unless I can find a jeweller who stocks the (apparently unusual) strap size I’m stuck looking for a new watch. V unimpressed.


Bicester is close to my granny’s house, and so I will always remember it as the place my sister and I talked our grandad into buying us Levi 501s and Kickers, ha. Although now, I only seem to go when accompanying my sister to hand over my niece to her dad – as Bicester is about halfway in between where we live, and where he does. Bit of a trek for you too, so I’m sad it was disappointing!

I’ve not done badly there before in the non-designer shops, like White Company and Cath Kidston – and my sister has got my niece some gorgeous items in Ralph Lauren. Oh, and she’s also got lucky before in Ted Baker. But it is one of those places – like Primark, really – you either do brilliantly or terribly.

Love the outfit though – looks so fresh with the shirt and I adore the skirt – and am jealous of how effortlessly you can wear hats. I always feel very ‘I AM WEARING A HAT’ when I, er, wear a hat.


I’ve never been there but always wanted to visit. Maybe I wont be so hasty to visit! Am also tempted by teh Cath Kidston!


Loving the look….the hat, the skirt, the necklace – cuteness!

I totally and utterly agree that designer shopping should come with luxury shopping…if you’re going to have a heart attack later on because of the price, at least you should have nejoyed the experience while you were purchasing!

I too was not impressed by Bicester, in fact throughly unimpressed when I went…it was probably roughly about the same time of year, so I think going in summer is never a good idea, given that its a bit of a tourist trap. The one place I’ve heard good things about is the Mulberry factory shop, so when I’ve enough pennies, I’m totally taking a pilgramidge to there!

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping]

Great outfit, I always like your jewellery. I always really enjoy Bicester when I go, although it’s never at a weekend! If it was rammed I can imagine it would be horrible.

I confess that I actually did buy a DVF wrap dress, and whilst it’s still one of my most expensive purchases, I do love it immensely and did get a fairly hefty discount. I’ve also had lovely things from The White Company and bargains from Ted Baker and Diesel.

The Cath K shop makes me want to run screaming though – too many eye melting florals in one place!


I went to Bicester once and did come away with things from Fat Face…who also had the best customer service. I do expect to be treated really well when shopping for designer stuff, but I tend to find the sales assistants to be snobby!


I can’t believe how long your hair is getting!!

I agree totally, as I’ve got older (and have a house!) I find paying out for items that cost that bit more hardwork, even harder if you don’t get the service. Generally I avoid designer, and even more so with outlets as I find round my way it’s generally rubbish.



Ouch, Biscester sounds painful! Someone tried to encourage me to shop there because it’s Kate Middleton’s place of choice. Alas, I don’t have her budget. You look great! Love the grown out hair!


I’ve just finished about 9 months’ work at Jaeger – a shop-in-shop not an outlet, so we were in Fenwicks. I still think we didn’t give the same level of service as a ‘proper’ freestanding store. I’d rather shop in a designer outlet (like the one in York) that has LK Bennett/Jaeger, who are only a *bit* ridiculous already so you can actually find some decent bargains.


Love that skirt Jen! And the necklace. I’ve never been to Bicester village, there are three less high end outlets fairly near to me that are really hit or miss, so I’ve always imagined it to be the same, just with better shops!


I agree, most of the shops in Bicester are far too rich for my blood, the last time I went however I came away with a gorgeous French Connection dress and All Saints waistcoat at a really good price. I didn’t go at a weekend, but I’ve heard it is pretty hellish. If I were to go again I would stick to weekdays and only hit the shops I can actually afford!

Love your look by the way!



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