Tuesday 15th of June 2021
The Bloodstock Blogger

The Bloodstock Blogger: Swapping ‘dirties’ for dresses

The Gaitpost’s Bloodstock Blogger, Sophie Buckley, jumped at the chance to swap her everyday gear for a Personal Shopping session at Bicester Village to help prepare her wardrobe for a busy summer of racing fixtures.


From this….my normal wardrobe staples…

...to this!

…to enjoying the VIP Lounge at Bicester Village!

“Clothes were never something that I thought about growing up. My mother dressed me and looking back at the photos it wasn’t a good look. Corduroys and knitted jumpers were definitely my wardrobe staple.

Even now I can mostly be found sporting jodhpurs, jackets and woolly hats. It is not a great look but practical. However, going racing requires some significantly smarter outfits. Dressing for racing as a woman can be difficult, mainly because of the weather. Looking good and staying warm is not easy!

My first and only high fashion experience came when I was nineteen years old. My old boss and friend John Martin had Lady of Chad running in the French 1000 Guineas. Over lunch the day before he decided that he wanted to dress me for the occasion.

The Bentley was summoned and John and I were driven into Paris with his two black Labradors. Also following in the car behind were the other lunch guests, my uncle Christopher Musgrave, bloodstock agent Hugo Merry and James Ramsden.

We pulled up outside Chanel. At this point I was definitely feeling nervous. Especially when I went inside and was instructed to find an outfit. This was a big task for a nineteen-year-old, non-fashion conscious, farmer’s daughter from Ireland. Within minutes John was waving his black amex card around, half the shop had been shut off and Christopher, Hugo, James and the two black Labradors were sitting on a large sofa which had been moved for better viewing. 

Then came the pretty woman moment when there were clothes coming at me from every angle. There were constant gasps of horror from the shop assistants as I said no to about 90% of the apparently ‘in fashion items’ I was shown. They were probably wondering what woman in their right mind would turn down such beautiful clothes. During the process John was running around draping handbags over my shoulder and sunglasses on my head and the three men on the sofa were enjoying the rather bizarre but funny performance. The dogs that were adorned in Gucci collars and leads were looking thoroughly bored. In the end I was fully kitted out head to toe in Chanel and went racing looking suitably chic. Unfortunately, Lady of Chad was not placed so it was not a totally happy ending. 


bicester set off

LK bennett


The Bicester Village Personal Shopping was a lot less stressful. The lovely personal shopper Fiona Huntingford whisked me around the shops that she thought were suitable. It soon became clear that clothes shopping was rather like being at the horse sales, I like everything that it is out of budget!


Luckily, Bicester Village has a huge range of shops with some great deals, both designer and high street, and we were soon mixing and matching to put together a capsule collection that would set me up for the summer ahead. Having a Personal Shopper is like working the horse sales with a good bloodstock agent. They know where you might find that perfect dress, like a horse that is a potential black type performer.

As I am not a keen shopper I was starting to go off the bridle by about 12pm but after a quick pit stop we were off again. Accessories, the ‘investment’ jacket that Fiona assured me would be on parade for the next decade or two and shoes were all tried with pleasing results. I enjoyed my second Pretty Woman moment with far more enthusiasm that my Chanel experience. Fiona looked after my every need, helping source different sizes in the changing room, bringing more suggestions, guiding me through tricky colours combinations and taking care of all my purchases.


It was a great day and I have recommended Fiona to many friends in the same situation, who like me, could not believe this really is a free service. The Royal Ascot outfit was purchased along with a few other totally necessary items! It was great to get some advice from an avid follower of fashion who helped me find things and push my fashion boundaries.

I crossed the finish line tired but with a great result (I just hope my husband isn’t reading this!)

Reader Invitation

Bicester Village will treat the first 20 people who book a complimentary Personal Shopper to:

– VIP Valet Parking

– the VIP Lounge for the duration of your visit

– AND a Champagne breakfast on arrival.

To book your visit, email MMessage@ValueRetail.com or call 01869 250727 and quote The Gaitpost to verify your place. We’d love to hear how you get on!


You may also like…

Join us on Facebook

Follow on Twitter