EXPLORE A NEAT SHOP THAT TICKS EVERY BOX
Where: Kingston Retail Park
It sells: Women's wear and accessories
Open: Monday to Friday 9.30am to 8pm, Saturday 9am to 6pm, Sunday 10.30am to 4.30pm (first half-hour for browsing only)
Contact: 01482 320390 or www.outfitfashion.com
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Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
T his time of year is always tricky for retailers: the ends of the sales are still hanging around and yet new, spring lines are arriving every day.
One-stop shops like Outfit are perfect for a browse at this transitional stage, letting you check out the very last reductions while seeing all the new stock from several stores at once.
Not sure whether I was looking for a winter bargain or a new spring time lift, I headed to Kingston Retail Park to see how Hull's Outfit was looking.
Like many stores, Outfit's windows are a bit of a hotch potch at this time of year: Wallis' window was full of springtime lines and floral decals, while the window devoted to Dorothy Perkins was simply filled with a massive sign declaring up to 70 per cent off. As both new lines and bargains make my heart race with excitement, however, I did not see this as a problem and hurried inside to explore both options.
So many shops at this time of year look like the back end of a jumble sale but Outfit, as I always find, somehow manages its sale lines so well that you do not get that feeling of being too overwhelmed to browse.
All the sale stock is neatly ordered and tidy. In fact, I head straight for a pretty purple dress on the sale rail of Dorothy Perkins and when I see it has been marked down to £7, it goes straight over my arm ready to be taken home.
Dragging myself away from the bargains, I head into the store itself. There can be few people who have not visited an Outfit at least once in their lives but for the uninitiated, the store includes Topshop, Wallis, Miss Selfridge, fuse, Oasis and – for the men in your life – Burton and Topman. It also has an impressive range of shoes and accessories, so you can literally shop from top to toe.
Without being too crowded, the menswear section manages to tick almost every box from the current male trends and does so at prices that are really reasonable: I spot a large array of coloured chinos for just £20 and that is not even sale prices. Typically, Topman is probably more style led than Burton, which tends towards more staples, but the mix of the two works perfectly as all tastes are catered for.
In the ladies, the sales are raging on but it is good to see some of the new stock. As the window suggested, Wallis has already started filling up with floral dresses (about £40) and bright little cardigans. There are still plenty of woollens around however, which is good as it is freezing on the other side of the door.
It is in the shoe department I almost start to hyperventilate, however: some of the sale stock has been slashed down to prices that are less than a round of drinks in your local. Court shoes and stilettos start from just £7, while a lovely pair of flat boots have been knocked down from £65 to just £15. I grab a pair of them to go with my dress quick sharpish and they are, no doubt, going to fly out the shop at that price.
Did I buy?
Although I am desperate for spring time to break through, I have to admit I do love the very end of the sales, when the true bargains are there for the picking. I added another dress (£12) to my boots and the dress I had already picked up – bringing the sum total for two dresses and a pair of boots to just £34. Happy days.
Staff and service
I was helped immediately with my boots and there were plenty of staff on the shop floor if you were looking for assistance. The pristine order of the shop in trying times is also testament to some very hard workers somewhere.
Outfit's "all under one roof" policy continues to make shopping all too easy and the sale prices mean you barely have to justify your spend.
If you are looking for a bargain end to January or a new dress for the, hopefully, warmer weather ahead, there are few places better.