Retail wonderland

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IMPULSE shopping is so much fun. I had forgotten, after years of training myself in the fine art of making only sensible purchases. But one not so fine day last week, I took myself off to Kildare Village for a spot of Christmas shopping…and fell right back into old habits. Do I regret it? God, no, it was fantastic fun. I ran from store to store, accumulating stuff as I went.  Did I feel guilty? Not a tad. Because, in case you’ve been living under a stone, you’ll know that Kildare Village is a luxury outlet centre – a very, very lovely luxury outlet centre – offering up to 60% (and oftentimes more) off designer labels. This place, people, is my mecca.

With the day to myself, a list of people to buy for and a small wad of cash to help me help my designated Kriskindler (too lazy to do his own shopping – Dad!), I caught an early-morning train to Kildare (for bus options, check out the very efficient Dublin Coach, running from Dublin and Limerick). The village opens at 10am on weekdays (9am on Fridays and Saturdays) and gets busy quickly, especially at this time of year. And speaking of this time of year, I have to make special mention of the festive lights and decorations…talk about making me feel like a kid again, and a kid in a sweetshop at that.

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The list of boutiques open at Kildare Village reads like a a rundown of London’s Bond Street. There’s Mulberry, Lulu Guinness, Links London, Furla, DKNY, LK Bennett, Church’s….I could go on. You’ll also find Karen Millen, Ted Baker, Coast and French Connection. And beauty brands like l’Occitane, Molton Brown and Kenneth Turner. All in all, great choices for men, women and kids, whatever your budget.

And budget is the main reason you’re visiting Kildare. Despite the array of posh labels, the huge discounts put everything within reach. Even more excitingly, in addition to the massive knockdowns that you expect going to an outlet centre, many of the individual boutiques announce additional reductions as soon as you walk in the door. DKNY, for example, and Gerard Darel, both had something like an extra 20% off the day I visited; most of the other shops had at least a section dedicated to the current special offers. Imagine how crazy that can make a bargain-hunter like me…not pretty.

So, while I was in Kildare Village, I (naturally) looked after me, but I also looked after you, picking out what I consider to be some of the best buys for the Christmas season. So let me tempt you (and please forgive my amateur photography)…

In Reiss, I came across this head-turner of a dress. Red and sequinned with a detachable Peter Pan collar, it’s too perfect for the whirlwind of Christmas parties. Best bit? It was €295, now it’s just €147.

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I came across another great glitzy number in Karen Millen – this bronze dress, believe it or not, is now €89.95, down from a whopping €325.

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For some reason, like a magpie, I kept being drawn to shiny things, so I fell hook, line and sinker for this Fleur tee dress in All Saints, down from €185 to €54.40. And because it can be worn both as a top and as a dress, you have double the excuses to buy!

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Then there was this stunning shirt in Nicole Farhi, was €266, now €169. A well-cut, simple white shirt is an essential in every woman’s wardrobe…but the gold collar raises this one far above the ordinary. Can’t help thinking how incredible it would look with a simple black blazer.

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By far the best bargain I came across in the course of my day, though, was a stunning Margo red dress coat from Louise Kennedy – down from €1,295 to an unbelievable €295. That’s €1,000 off. Wowsers. No pics however…if you’re that interested, you’ll just have to get off your behind and check it out for yourself. It’s worth it, I promise.

Kildare Village is also a haven for accessories fans, and there’s an abundance of irresistible shoes and bags. Like these lovelies in Karen Millen, were €199, now €130.

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LK Bennett had some great shoe offers too, such as these leopard-print boots (€455 down to €130) and dinky dancing shoes, perfect for partying (were €380, now €90).

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My heart, though, was left in Church’s, the home of the leather brogue, where the selection was amazing. I challenge you to look at this picture and not drool…

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Even with a hefty discount, these babies are still undeniably pricey but if you’re going to invest in a good pair of shoes, you can’t beat these sequined grey brogues, were €540, now €259.20.

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My main reason for visiting Kildare Village was to eke out some great gifts, and I definitely found what I was looking for. Here are just a few examples…

Reiss iPhone cases €21

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Ted Baker collars, were €70, now €45

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Molton Brown bath and shower gels and body lotions, two for €29.34 (a saving of 33.3%)

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Lulu Guinness star bag/purse (pictured centre) €46; convertibles were €75, now €37.50; pill boxes, were €50, now €25.

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Special mention must also go to the Clavin Klein Underwear boutique, perfect for picking up pyjamas, nightwear and undies for men and women, and Cath Kidston, the go-to shop for floral kitsch in every shape and form!

So that was what I saw and photographed…but what did I leave with?

Well, put it like this – I must have benefitted from my ‘resistance’ training as I think I shopped considerably sensibly, considering the lavish amount of temptation around me. I bagged me (pardon the pun) a Furla black leather tote, was €180, down to €117, but bought for €105 once additional in-store discounts were taken into account. And I finally, for the first time ever (*hangs head in shame), invested in a pair of good jeans. Yep, it took me all of three minutes to try on and fall in love with a pair of Seven For All Mankind Gwenevere skinny jeans. (Cue the rationalizing.) Luckily for me, they were heavily discounted, down to €130. And it is Christmas so I thought I’d buy me something nice. And sensible, don’t forget sensible – these two purchases will be worn to death over the next, ooh, 10 years. Cost per wear…calculator anyone?

These massive discounts might be the main reason people first visit Kildare Village, but there are many reasons to return. The facilities are top-notch, utterly gorgeous, and include a playground for the kiddies, a Starbucks for refreshments and l’Officina restaurant for a leisurely lunch. It’s basically just a lovely place to while away a few hours, although serious shoppers may want to dedicate a full day – there’s a lot of ground to cover here, folks.

This blog has always sought to unearth great fashion at the best prices. And that’s exactly what I found at Kildare Village – a hugely enjoyable shopping experience offering designer labels with knockout discounts. So, Greedy Edie’s top tip for the Christmas season is to get yourself and your shopping trolley to Kildare Village to indulge in some guilt-free retail therapy. And do it soon – there’s nothing like acting on impulse!

Edie xxx

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