Designer outlet shopping - joy or nightmare!?

Friday, 30 August 2013 |




So, for some reason I decide that a trip to Bicester Outlet Village would be a good idea.  For me, once the shakes have subsided at the thought of going to a designer outlet centre, I throw on an ensemble which I consider to be with it and rather hip and possibly looking somewhat "posh".

Arriving at the Village is no mean feat, stressed from being parked in the biggest car park ever, the A41, I finally approach and circle the Village car park like a maniac, daring anyone but anyone to take any free parking space that comes up. For some reason I've turned into a possessed driver.

I'm all parked and a brief glance around at the posh cars sends a little shiver down my spine.  I suddenly question, why am I here when George or Primarni (as I like to call and lots of others out there tee hee) are my comfort zone for clothing.  Fear not I hear faintly in my head, they do big sizes - yeah right in Clarkes shoe shop!

My first step into the Village and I'm swamped with a vision of designer clothed individuals laden with bags.  I hold my head high and start my descent into the unknown of the designer world.  So far I've walked past a handful of shops and glanced briefly in the windows, nothing has got my eye as yet.

My first shop is a handbag shop - no fear of being stared at as if to say "really love you think you are going to fit in these clothes".  It's a terrible cliche but one that I assume they are thinking which they probably aren't.  I browse around the handbags pretending that the price tags are of no significance to me but inside I'm screaming "seriously, how much".  The sales assistant stops me and asks me to pick something out of a bag, it's a little draw they have going on.  I pick one with 20% off - most people would jump with joy, all that extra money off.  I just thanked her and thought, 20% off the hundreds does not tempt me to purchase anything in here.  So I forlonly leave the shop swinging my little Debenhams handbag, which I have to admit has got a little threadbare but I love it - it fits everything, even the kitchen sink so why throw it away.  If I had my little designer bag I would have been swinging it with pride, however on this ocassion I tuck my handbag firmly under my arm and pray no-one sees where the leather has started to come off.

I continue down the Village briefly doing that sideways glance as if I'm interested and looking longingly into shops with some really pretty outfits thinking my butt ain't gonna get in those clothes.  As I'm walking along there is an endless stream of people carrying bag after bag, designer name after designer name being thrown into my face.

However, feeling deflated my eyes light up when I see Joules, ah posh t-shirts. It's only a small shop and it doesn't take me long to browse.  Plenty of floral tops, some lovely light colours - nothing black, my interest wanes quickly.  I remind myself that black is not the only colour in the world.  I pick up a t-shirt which says 16, I hold it up and think well it looks like a generous 12!  A 16 come on, I've seen more fabric on a tissue.  My heart sinks and I leave the shop empty handed.

Onwards and upwards I say and in the distance I see Bose, how can I get excited in a clothes shopping outlet for a company which sell electrical items.  I had to really fight with my little legs (and that they are) to carry on walking past and I did it.  I practically skip with joy though as I know I'm nearing Clarkes shoes (yep, told you, I'm at an age where heels don't exist and comfy rubber soles are hip).  I start to panic a little as I near because Clarkes is no longer there, ahhh they've shut the shop down - there is now no physical reason to come to Bicester Village anymore, Clarkes has gone.  I stand confused and staring at some designer shop which has taken over my comfy shoe shop.

I'm just about to turn and walk back to the car when in the distance my eye catches the little Clarkes sign, oh my, how I didn't skip all the way there but considered the funny looks I may have gotten I beat a hasty skip towards it.  Ok so from the front it looks smaller than the old premises and dear lord, small is an understatement.  Let's just say you have to be prepared to get cosy with anyone you meet and that possibly involves meeting their feet as you bend down to retrieve the shoe you want off the bottom shelf.  I prayed that I didn't need to try any shoes on as if I bent over, bam my butt would take someone out and the shop display too.

I don't know whether I had arrived in Clarkes at the wrong time but there was very little on the shelves and my disappointment carried on with shoes that resembled something your granny would wear.  I know I'm not fashionable and I live in my Clarkes boots (summer, spring, winter and autumn, I know!) but even I wasn't prepared to dip my little pasty feet into some of these shoes.

So another shop I leave disappointed.  I decide that Bicester Village really isn't for me.  I know the place is a fantastic means for people to get designer clothing at decent prices but for me Bicester Village is a place to go to people watch and nothing else.  


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