Whether we admit it or not, I truly believe every woman (and some men of course) find happiness in spending money – not necessarily a shopaholic, but close enough. Note, I said “spending money” not “buying products” because “buying” implies it’s a worthy invesment, and from personal experience, that’s not always the case. Especially, when it’s an impulsive, comfort decision which I think is going to make me happy inside, but actually the thing stays in my wardrobe for months on end, not being touched.
Needless to say, shopping is also a delicacy. A luxury. A reward when the hard-earned pay cheque arrives. A novelty that never wears off. This summer, I stumbled across the perfect place to practise this guiltless pleasure – Bicester Village.
Located on the outskirts of Oxfordshire in the UK, Bicester Village consists of over 130 boutiques. The first noticable thing about Bicester Village is how small the place is. Not small as in compact. But the boutiques are square, with cute little roofs, glass doors and mini hanging shop signs. It’s like a fairy wonderland, which makes me want to visit again in the Winter, now that would be pretty.
As you walk through the down the brick road, every single well-known brand lines the street, you name it! From Gucci to Polo Ralph Lauren, from Micheal Kors to Rag & Bone, there is literally something for everyone. Men’s boutiques consist of formal wear, to shoe shops and casual clothes. Whilst women can indulge in handbags, scarves, shoes, lingerie, dresses and jeans – the list is endless. And it doesn’t end there – Polo Ralph Lauren Kids even had a queue spilling out of the shop front. Whether you want to spoil yourself, treat your family and friends, or just take a lovely excursion, you’re sure to enjoy it.
Other than retail therapy and delicious coffee and food, Bicester Village offer even more services. When I go shopping, I love carrying my bags – that’s part of the joy isn’t it? Looking at what brands someone is carrying, showing off your own huge, cardboard bag. But something made me feel uneasy, which was that a lot of the young, fashionable women (predominantly from the Arab world, dressed in glamorous abayas, or jeans and classy turbans, with sunglasses that never come off) did not carry any bags… They visited every shop. They tried on endless dresses and coats and scarves. They paid for priceless pieces of clothing, with one swipe of a credit card that came out of a luxurious Mulberry bag. But they drifted from shop to shop with no shopping bags. And there was me and my brother, lugging our purchases on every finger. It was only then that I realised, Bicester Village offered “hands-free shopping.” Handsome young boys would collect your purchases and deliver it to your car! Or, even better, deliver it to your chauffeur driven car that you could hire to take you to and from home, anywhere in England. Mind boggling.
Right, I think that’s enough eye candy for today – the shopping bags, not the men! On a serious note, I would recommend this retail outlet 100%. One thing to definitely bear in mind is that if your’e a curvy girl, like me, most of the sizes in these extravagant shops only go up to a size 10/12. However, there are plenty of other purchases to indulge in. I personally loved the scarves in Burberry, so I would advice them to any of you ladies who wear a headscarf. The jeans in Sandro and dresses in Ted Baker are also worth checking out. If you need a place to pray, you can also pop into the very fancy and cute prayer room located next to the huge Dior store – very good marketing skills there.
So, enjoy your summer, spend wisely and let us know if you ever visit here or at any of the other equivalents across the world! La Vallee Village in Paris is definitely next on my list!
Till next time,
Humaira is a full-time student, part-time photographer, regular writer and all round happy soul. She likes to live life to the full and works on various other projects including running her own blog and contributing to other publications. She will be bringing us the latest from the world of fashion and style, particularly under the new revolution of Islamic influence on 21st century vogue. Stay tuned to read all her articles!View all Humaira Ashraf posts.