Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Bicester Village Outlet: designer fashion at a discount

It was my birthday on Friday (yay) and my mother & I spent the morning shopping at Bicester Village in Oxfordshire. It's England's best outlet mall by a very, very long chalk. I can speak with authority as my family lives a mere 25 minutes away, and we've been visiting since it opened some fifteen years ago.

That'll be visiting regularly: my father even persuaded me to drop in with him to choose a shirt on the way back from picking me up at Heathrow the other week. (And I gather that that kind of behaviour is not unusual. Bicester is only 25 minutes from Oxford and 45 from Heathrow, so tourists have made it a major destination.)

Over the years, we've watched Bicester Village change focus from a mid-range destination to a very, very appealing designer shopping experience. There's Gucci's only UK in-mall outlet, along with DvF, Jimmy Choo, Bulgari, Armani, Temperley, the ubiquitous-at-outlets Polo store, Dior, Anya Hindmarch, Smythson and a whole raft of other Vogue advertiser names. The lower rent stores have all but disappeared, and only the top end of the High Street is represented here, including Jigsaw, Reiss & French Connection.

Mother daughter shopping is grrrreat. Especially on birthdays. She stocked up on discounted Wolfords, and bought me a wool beret & two frocks in French Connection for £9, £36 & £50 respectively, the dresses both reduced from £120. I bought a black Preen-esque dress from Reiss for £67 reduced from £110.

French connection grey wool dress

I also picked up a super sexy cream tux from Theory for a staggering £40 reduced from £310, after being egged on by my mother who, I suspect, is desperate for me to buy date-worthy clothes. Poor Mama. Another birthday and I'm STILL not married. Oh dear.

By lunchtime we were shopped out, so it was a good thing Bicester Village had provided lunch from Carluccio's in the VIP shopping suite. Yup, Muv & I had been asked to a press/bloggers presentation there (something I usually don't do). But how could I resist my family's favourite shopping destination? Especially now that my mother is a blogger too.