Saturday, 3 August 2013

RACHEL LOVES: Kate Spade at Bicester Outlet Village (and my new beautiful bag!)

Right now I am feeling very excited and happy. Even more excited and happy than normal. Why's that? I hear you ask. Well, I have just bought myself a Kate Spade handbag.

This is me, excited to take my new bag on its first outing!
As you may know, I love handbags. I particularly love beautiful, well-made leather handbags. And I love beautiful, well-made discounted leather handbags even more, so having purchased my latest beauty from Bicester Designer Outlet Village for nearly half the original price, I'm a very happy bunny indeed.

If you are an extremely loyal blog reader (or friend), you may also know that I adore Kate Spade, and have done for a few years since I first came across her in New York whilst there for my 18th birthday. I've written about my Kate Spade bangles before as I love them to pieces and always get compliments on them. Even from strangers. And you know a compliment's real if it's from a stranger, right?

Well, I'm thinking my latest purchase may just result in a spot of bag lust... Don't feel bad. It hit me as soon as I stepped into the shop. As did lust for EVERYTHING IN THERE.

Kate Spade is my favourite designer. End. Of. And she doesn't just make handbags either, but clothes, shoes, jewellery (I'm a big fan), accessories and cute little home pieces too. The interior of Kate Spade shops are basically how I'd like my house to be, which adds to my love for the brand.

It's interesting how Kate Spade has built such a fabulous image. I go into the shop and I just smile, before even looking at anything on offer. I also went into Michael Kors at Bicester, and while they have lots of beautiful bags too, it just doesn't have the same effect on me. Sorry. It doesn't tug on my heart-strings and make me smile like Kate Spade does. It's all about the brand. Mulberry does the same.

Inside Kate Spade at Bicester
Along with the bags, jewellery, clothes and accessories, it's the whole Kate Spade vibe that I'm in love with. Fun and playful yet elegant and sophisticated. Everything I aspire to be. You'll know what I mean as soon as you enter the shop - airy, light and bright, with jazzy music and everything laid out beautifully.

The Kate Spade motto is 'live colorfully', which just sums it all up if you ask me. And a good mantra by which to live. I was amazed to discover Kate Spade is actually just one year younger than me - the brand, that is, not the lady behind it all - founded in 1993. I love that there are cute little quotes popping up everywhere as well. For example...

On my dustbag
Alongside the care note inside my handbag
On the inside of my giftbag
SO. CUTE. It also said 'share your last piece of gum' on the bottom of my price tag? Isn't that adorable?

Being an oh-so-hard-working student, I don't often have time to read fashion magazines as much as I'd like to, but as I'm on my summer holiday at the moment I've been able to treat myself to some guilt-free mag readage. Upon doing so, I was somewhat amazed at the prevalence of Kate Spade! It seems the brand is really starting to make waves this side of the Atlantic, and I'm SO excited about it.

As far as I'm aware, there's currently a Kate Spade shop in Covent Garden, and apparently there's going to be a Kate Spade pop-up in Selfridges soon and I cannot wait. What Kate Spade really needs, however, is a UK website and social media presence, but I've been told they're coming soon. Exclusive(-ish) scoop for ya there. 

When I discovered Kate Spade had a store at Bicester Outlet Village I almost jumped for joy, and naturally persuaded mama and the sister that we needed to go ASAP (read my review and guide to Bicester here.) And considering both the other Hosie ladies treated themselves to some Kate Spade goodies, I think they can thank me really. By way of Kate Spade vouchers, please. 

From my experience of Bicester, I know that it can be somewhat disappointing. I've found that often the discounts aren't that great, and the only things on offer are a bit rubbish. Not so at Kate Spade, my friends. Their discounts were some of the best I saw at Bicester. I didn't go into the shop thinking 'I'm going to buy a handbag', but when the handbag lust hits you, what can ya do? It happened with my Mulberry Alexa just as it did today. It must be love. (Love, love...)

Compared to a lot of designers, whether discounted or full-price, Kate Spade really is much more affordable. I'm not saying it's cheap as chips, but it's totally buyable. So much so that I nearly bought multiple items, and I never spend money. Only when it's love. I know it's love because the thought of my bag sitting in her dustbag inside the giftbag upstairs in my bedroom is making me smile. Despite having had my Mulberry for a year, it still makes me smile. Is it weird that I love handbags so much? Probably, but I don't care.

The shop assistants in Kate Spade knew how I felt. They were lovely. Sometimes, shop assistants are just annoying, aren't they? Not the Bicester Kate Spade ladies. Wearing smart yet stylish uniforms of black dresses with fun, bright jewellery, they were delightful. We bonded over our Kate Spade love. They told me I needed to work for them. I agreed.

I was torn between so many things. Here were some of my faves:

Alongside the handbags (obvs), I'm a particular fan of Kate Spade jewellery. Regardez...

Beautiful bangles, similar to my own

What a treasure trove

This reads 'THE CRÈME DE LA CRÈME' and je l'adore
I love wearing statement earrings, even in the day. How fab are these?
Such beautiful spade (clever, eh?) necklaces
 Aside from jewellery, just look at these beautifully made wallets.

Kate Spade make fab quirky gadget cases as well, and I really want to  buy this for my friend whose surname is Ring:

And oh, the handbags!

They are all beautifully made with fabulous linings, not to mention as practical as they are pretty. This pleases me greatly.

And so, which handbag did I buy? Behold, the Brighton Park Sloan bag in dusty blue:

Naturally, I had to try her on for size in the shop (whilst still carrying my Mulb LOLZ).

Yup, it fits!
Oh, how pleased I am with my purchase! I don't have a blue handbag at all (how very remiss of me), and considering practically my entire wardrobe is pink and blue, my new baby is going to go with everything. 

It's also really important for me that a handbag is practical, and not only does my Kate Spade beauty nail the water bottle test, she aces everything on the practicality scale. The main bag opens and closes by magnetic poppers (no faffing around when you need to get into your bag quickly), and is divided into two main capacious sections and a big zipped pocket in the middle for valuables. There are also three side pockets (one of which is also zipped) in the beautiful striped lining.

I love the ladylike handles, but there's also a detachable long strap for if you need to swing her over your shoulder. There are so many features of my handbag I love - it's soft yet structured with little silver feet on the bottom so it stands up easily and the bottom won't get dirty, and the smell of the leather is divine.

Despite being fresh from the store room, there was a tiny dusty mark on my handbag. The store assistants offered to clean it up for me, and despite doing so perfectly, they still offered me a further 10% discount. How kind is that!? What a win. So, at full price my beautiful bag was £410, yet I bought her for a fabulous £245. 

I don't generally buy myself things or spend money during the year, and I work really hard with my part-time job, and this is exactly the sort of thing I like to spend my money on. Some students spend all their money going out, paying club entry fees and drinking, and that's FINE, but I prefer not to do that, and to save my money for beauties like this.

My current excitement is shared by my younger sister, Holly.

As this is her first proper designer snazzy handbag, I'm almost more excited than she is! Unsurprisingly, and because my sister is one of the most indecisive people in the world, I was extremely encouraging in her "do I, don't I?" in-store deliberations. Trust me, she's glad she got it. Isn't it preeeettty? 

Doesn't she look sophistiquée?
Our new loves were beautifully wrapped up in dustbags and then in pretty green giftbags and away we went. Although not before Mama Hosie got a piece of the action by treating herself to a gorge navy scarf  - it's covered in the words "ooh la la" and little red hearts, and as mama is a French teacher and total Francophile, it couldn't have been more her.

And so that's that. I probably don't need to say it, but I thoroughly recommend a visit to Kate Spade at Bicester. Or Kate Spade anywhere really. Go forth and Live Colorfully! (American spelling, sorry.)


  1. I love your blog, especially your posts like this! Like you I adore Kate Spade and Mulberry. Your new bag is beautiful, such a good choice! I hope you keep posting things like this on your year abroad! xx

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Glad to hear you share my handbag loves! I am definitely going to try my very best to keep blogging as usual on my year abroad. Thanks for reading :) X

  2. i'm quickly becoming addicted to your blog, rachel.
    i absolutely love your bag. my birthday's coming up soon and i'm seriously tempted to make a trip to a kate spade store, everything there is so pretty

    rebecca x
    Saved by Cake

    1. Oh thanks Rebecca, that's really kind. Your blog is so cute too!
      Ooh yes definitely go before your birthday! Ideally with a generous friend or family member ;) X

  3. AMAZING POST!! Now reconsidering buying a Kate Spade instead of a Michael Kors with my intership money! I also love your sisters bag, such a beaut colour!! xxxxxxxx

    1. Thanks so much H Brooks ;)
      YES YES YES do it! I'd definitely say that's a good decision. Keep me posted and thanks for reading xxxx

  4. I love them both. If you don't mind me asking how much was the second one-your sisters? I think I fell in love lol!

    1. Thanks Helen. I totally know the feeling! I'm afraid I'm not entirely sure but it was certainly significantly cheaper than mine, despite being one of the 'new in' bags. Hope that helps and happy shopping :) x

  5. im going in a few days for this single shop alone, after recently getting a purse i now feel the need for a bag, im passing Bicester so it would be rude not to right? after reading your fab blog i cannot wait...far too excited now!

    1. Ha ha love it Nikke! In my opinion Kate Spade is the reason to go to Bicester :) hope you find yourself something lovely! X

  6. LOVE this post, and your purchases!! Kindly ignore my comment on your other post, as you have clearly answered my inquires about Kate Spade handbags, here haha! Cheers:)

  7. Kate spade necklace is a great way for attracting attention to shine out in the crowd and it is a perfect ornament for any occasion.


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