Style Tips / How to shop in an outlet complex

Yesterday, I was invited to visit Bicester Village, near Oxford. I met up with the lovely Cate from Bitchbuzz at Marylebone station and we hopped on a train. I was a little apprehensive as outlet shopping isn’t really something I would cover on this blog and I hadn’t been to such a place before in the UK.
Also, as I can’t really afford much at the moment, I had allowed myself a budget of £20 to spend there – which isn’t much fun, even for outlet shopping. Thankfully, we were all given a gift card with some money on it when we arrived which made the whole experience different for me. We were basically given the star treatment all day, and that seldom happens to bloggers, so it is worth mentioning!
The point of this post is not to tell you what I had for lunch there, but to try and give you some tips about how to shop in these types of places, as while I was visiting the shops, I had an epiphany about it.

❤ Wear comfortable shoes! You are going to do a lot of walking, so make sure your shoes are made for walking.

❤ Prepare your shopping expedition. Have a look at the list of brands available in the village you are visiting and pick a few that you really care about and where you know there are items you covet. For me, it was Luella, Agent Provocateur & Cath Kidston.

❤ Research previous collections. In an outlet shopping center, you will find mostly things from previous years. They try to make it coincide with the current season, so you will still find spring clothes in spring, but from last year. So for example, in Luella, you could get all the floral skirts and dresses, the Batman sweatshirts, and sequins.

❤ Decide on a budget according to your means. It is pointless to go to a place like that and spend way more than you would on a normal day. You have to keep in mind that even though things are reduced, sometimes you still can’t afford it, and yes, you might have to leave a bargain behind. I saw great bags in Mulberry that were down to £200 from £1000, but for me it was still way too much so I had to leave it at that.

❤ Don’t get carried away. At some point, I think I was in Jigsaw, I realised I was getting shopping fever. Jigsaw is typically a brand I don’t ever go to. Just not my style. But because of the reductions, I suddenly found myself going into every single shop for about 10 min. Then snapped out of it and went for lunch. Phew! Impulse shopping during the sales, or in a shopping village is NOT your friend.

❤ Don’t hesitate to have items put aside for you. If you find something you like in a shop, ask someone to keep it for you for the day. Think about the purchase and look around, then pick it up on your way home once you are sure it is what you wanted. I did that with a Luella cardigan. I knew I needed a cardigan, and when I saw it, it was love (love, love) at first sight, but it was the first shop I went into so I didn’t want to regret my purchase later.

❤ Always ask yourself “Do I need this?”. This was especially useful while about to die of cute overload in the middle of Cath Kidston. I could have gone home with the whole contents of the shop, but every time I picked something up, I had to ask myself: “Do I really need a make up bag? No, I already have 2. Do I really need a kitchen towel? No, I have enough. Do I really need a duvet cover? Yes, but this one is still too expensive.” And the list goes on. In the end, I didn’t get anything from there.

I hope these tips will be useful to you in the future, if you do go to such a place!

While I was there, I also got to chat a little with Fiona Huntingford from Style Struck, who is also the Style Consultant at Bicester Village (busy lady!), she told me a bit more about her job & gave me a few ideas where to go shopping for myself.

I will show you my purchases in another post…