Bicester Village: All the dream designers (except Alaïa, Chanel and Hermès, of course!) in one nicely maintained outlet shopping centre an hour outside of London. There are plenty of other online reviews about the aesthetics, transport, and restaurants at Bicester. I’m reviewing the most important bit, in my opinion at least, the shopping.
Bicester’s stores are well-presented, similar to their full-price counterparts, so don’t expect to find rails stuffed to the brim (eg – a sample sale environment or Century 21). From what I saw the discounts were okay, about 50% off RRP, so similar prices to The Outnet.
Dolce & Gabbana’s collections are large and always go on sale. Here is s selection of similar items from the above photo in this iconic rose and peony floral print.
Shop Dolce & Gabbana
I went to Bicester hoping to find a dress for a September wedding and left with the exact opposite, a pair of Jimmy Choo Havana burgundy suede boots I had been trying to hunt down online for months. Definitely not the most practical purchase when you live in rainy London, and certainly not what I set out to find that day! That said, I love these boots and they had been on my wish list since they sold out the winter before. When I spotted them in the Jimmy Choo outlet that sunny September afternoon (perfect timing leading up to the autumn season) I knew it was meant to be.
They were £630 less 20% due to an in-store promotion that day so I paid £504, about half off the full-price of the £1,050. I’ve found both sale and pre-loved versions of these boots that you can shop as well!
Shop Jimmy Choo Havana Boots
The Best Stores at Bicester Village
I suggest visiting all of the superbrand outlets, along with Aquazzura, the newly opened Manolo Blahnik (!) outlet, Jimmy Choo, Loro Piana, N.Peal, Roger Vivier, Wolford and Yves Salomon. Take note, the Carolina Herrera outlet is only CH Carolina Herrera (diffusion line) not Carolina Herrera New York (couture line). A Christian Louboutin outlet is opening in spring 2020 as well.
Shop Oscar de la Renta Gowns
My advice is to keep an open mind, but don’t feel like you have to purchase something just because you trucked out there! Worst case scenario you checked it out, fostered relationships with Sales Associates at your favourite stores, and had a nice lunch.
Bicester Village Top Tips
📊 Research beforehand. Peruse online outlets such as The Outnet, Yoox, and Glamood to get an idea of stock and prices. This way you’ll have a benchmark when shopping at Bicester. Remember, most stores at Bicester only allow returns for store credit (and realistically, are you really going to make another trip to return something for a credit note?) so it’s essentially final sale, online you have a return option if something doesn’t fit.
📌 Browse through your old wish lists and Pinterest boards. Is there anything from last season you’re dying to purchase but couldn’t track down? Put these items in the forefront of your mind, you may get lucky!
💳 Check if you’re eligible for a VIP card. Contact Bicester directly, or see if one of your credit cards comes with a Bicester VIP benefit. A quick google search showed info from Amex, Visa and Mastercard. The VIP card entitles you to an extra 10% off at participating boutiques.
🌧 Tippy Top Tip Bicester gets seriously crowded, make every effort to visit on a Monday or Tuesday, ideally in pouring down rain so you’ll really have the place to yourself.
🗺 Upon arrival map out the stores you want to visit (go green and download the Bicester Village app) and keep your eyes on the prize! Use your time and energy wisely and don’t get distracted by discounted body lotion at Molton Brown.
📱 Try and get SA’s whatsapp/email details so you can keep in touch about new arrivals or any specific pieces you’re looking for. They can always ship to you! I’ve found the SA’s are nice and will try and find your dream items! I send thank you notes as I genuinely appreciate their extra efforts.
💸 If you’re looking at a pricier piece of clothing (eg – a couture dress) I think it’s worth asking if the manager could approve a little extra discount off the price.
🗒 Before your trip take stock on any often worn basics that need replenished or replaced. Stop into Wolford, Joseph, and N.Peal. I know buying a Wolford bodysuit for 30% off isn’t terribly exciting, but savings are savings.