I love a bargain as much as the next person, trust me, and I try to shop smart, investing in pieces that will be wardrobe staples from season to season. But knowing when to pick up a bargain and when to walk away can be tricky, especially in an outlet setting when it could be a one off sample.
I visit Dalton Park pretty regularly (being an avid film fan and keen Cineworld Unlimited member) but when I’m not watching the latest movie releases, I like to browse what’s new in the stores on the mall. So even if you’re not super savvy when it comes to outlet shopping, I’m sharing some top tips to help you make the most of your visit – and keep your credit card happy!
What I’m wearing: Denim jacket, hoody and jeans – all Levi’s. Bag – Radley (similar ones available in the outlet store) Converse x Play – finally tracked down a pair online (woo) but you can get Converse at Sole Trader at Dalton Park among other brands… (or try Adidas and New Balance stores)
Know what you’re looking for
This might sound obvious, but if you’re standing in Next holding a neon jumper that you would never be interested in buying on the high street, why are you considering it at outlet price? Sure, the appeal of a discount and a bargain is very real, but is it what you came out to buy? Ask yourself if you’re buying it because it fits a purpose, or a space in your wardrobe, or just because it’s cheaper than RRP.
A good example of this is the denim jacket I’m wearing in these photos. I’d already bought a blue denim jacket from Levi’s around this time last year and it’s seen a lot of wear (and a lot of air miles this year too, thinking about it) so I was keen to get a black one which would be equally versatile. Around October/November you may find the sherpa lined denim jackets, which look super cosy and I was tempted but stuck to my original plan, thinking about what I felt was missing from my wardrobe. Since buying it, I’ve already worn it with a few different outfits and whilst I know from mid November to around January/February it’ll be more winter coat temperature, as soon as there’s a mild day the black denim will be back out. Expect to see it a lot in any content I share – I’ve already warned you!
Tied into the above, ask the staff if they have any other sizes/colourways and how often they get stock. I’m in the Levi’s store more often than I should probably admit… but it’s the customer service that makes me go back. Pre-summer adventure in Australia, I went in a couple times to try and get a pair of 501 denim shorts. If you’re nearby, there’s nothing wrong with asking when stock is delivered and seeing if you can put something on hold/planning a trip back. Of course this is a bit trickier if you’re just in the area for a day.
Also on this – though chances are the staff will tell you and you can do a bit of homework and check the latest offers via Dalton Park’s website before you go – ask if there are any other deals running. There may be a buy 2 and save an extra 20% or perhaps they’re honouring student discount too. If you don’t ask, you won’t know. And if it’ll save you a few more pennies, then that’s your mid-shop coffee covered!
You don’t have to buy everything from the first shop you go in. Say you’re looking for outdoor jackets as you’re planning to go hiking in the Lake District, take your time looking at Berghaus, Regatta and Mountain Warehouse before you decide which is the best option. The same applies if you’re looking for make up. Pop into the Beauty Outlet and The Body Shop before you decide exactly what you’re after. There’s a new beauty store heading to the mall soon, bringing the higher end brands which is exciting!
The deals at outlet stores can sometimes work in your favour if you bulk by. Now before you go overloading your basket and running out of space in your car, let me explain. The Body Shop is definitely an example of this; if you buy 4 items you get 40% off. One top tip is to stock up on the essentials. Whether that’s cleanser, or an extra shower gel to take you to the 4 items to get the increased discount. It’s also worth thinking about any upcoming birthdays where you can pick up a gift, or Christmas. I’ve seen the advent calendars in store so they’re a great one to get with the discount and make a lovely gift, even if it’s a treat for yourself.
Outlet shopping can sometimes be the luck of the draw. You might not find everything on one trip but don’t let that dishearten you. Like I said, I sometimes look around to see what’s in store with no intention of buying, I just want to get an idea of what stock is in. With outlets you do have to consider that you’re looking at last season, so don’t expect to see all the new Radley collection in store. That being said, they do have some outlet exclusives which you can only buy from the likes of Dalton Park. So that’s almost a bonus tip!
Whether you’re out with friends, family or popping out shopping on your own, enjoy it! Take a moment to enjoy a coffee break, try one of the Lindor samples in Lindt (and I can’t be responsible if you buy all the chocolate in their pick and mix – it’s just too tempting. Get me a few cappuccino ones though if you do!) or even get some lunch at Pizza Express. Cineworld is at the end of the mall, so why not round off your shopping trip by putting your feet up and watching one of the new releases?
Are you an avid outlet shopper? What are your top tips?
Post in collaboration with Dalton Park Outlet Shopping Centre. All words and photos are my own.