Jack Wills Outlet - Teeny Bop Heaven.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

.... and mine.  Hang head in shame.  I know, I'm probably a little bit older than the average Jack Wills customer but I've got a young and immature head on my shoulders (I said it before you did).

I received an interesting email in my inbox a few weeks ago about a Jack Wills Outlet being opened in Dean Clough in Halifax.  Not too far from the God Parents actually.  An engineered trip was in order.  The seed of suggestion was sown into my God daughter's brain and it rooted quickly and before I knew it, I was heading to Dean Clough with Kirstie, her family and George Dude for a browse.

Not knowing where we were going and bearing in mind I haven't been to Halifax for probably nigh on ten years, I found myself short cutting through the Dean Clough art gallery at break neck speed (George was leading the way) before we found our shopping goal.

And the record for navigating through an art gallery in 3 secs goes to ... George!

The only picture I managed to take of any artwork and it looks a bit rude.

I'm not sure what I was expecting but I knew I wasn't expecting this.  When someone says outlet to you, you imagine a little shop, a bit of dim lighting, a little bit tatty around the edges but this was impressive.  Jack Wills basically have taken over a former boiler room of the old Crossley Carpet factory.  And it's a big boiler room at that!

It's huge!

Welcome!  All major credit cards accepted.

Being an outlet, this is not current stock but given the nature and styling of Jack Wills clothes - that shouldn't really matter.  A preppy shirt is still a preppy shirt, this year or next - we just change the print a little.  A sweatshirt or a hoody is exactly that - we just change and tweak the logo a little but overall - same shape, different colour.  And that's one of the good things about Jack Wills clothing - it doesn't date that much and it's quite formulaic - a glance  through their lookbooks will confirm this in more ways than one.  It's posh university preppy. British style.  As Jack Wills proudly boasts about itself over it's registered trademark "Jack Wills - University Outfitters".

I would imagine most parents would be happy about their kids wearing this kind of look - what's not to like about your child looking like a posh thing in casual wear.  Skinny jeans for the boys with a nice fitted check shirt.  Pretty (liberty) print dresses for the girls most of which are of a bum skimming length. But the big big thing here is you're not really a Jack Wills'er until you have one of their hoodies or sweatshirts (hang head in big shame between knees - I have one .. err two).

So first floor for the men's wear (not interested) and second floor for me .... err I mean Kirstie.  I already have access to the Jack Wills outlet website so I knew what to expect and what price range things would be set at.  Apparently having access to the online outlet is a bit of a privilege and by invite only.  I think I did a mad splurge online one year and they thought - easy prey that Sue there and they were right and passed me on an invite.

This is two floors of clothing heaven for teeny boppers and probably two floors of purse hell for parents.

Lovely original beams and structure

Living the J Wills brand (if you want to)

Great place for hide and seek!

Prices when full price at Jack Wills need a bit of thinking about.  Prices when they hit the end of the sales are pretty good though. I managed to acquire a sweatshirt for £14 one year - cheaper than most high street retail brands.  Most of the JW pieces I have, I have managed to pick up in the sales over the last couple of years and and the pickings have been pretty good.  And believe it or not, though their hoodies and sweats are logo'd and these seem to be the favoured items for teens, some of their items do not have Jack Wills logo emblazoned across them.  For instance, they do a lovely line in shirts for women.  I know, I have three of them.  They do nice little summer cotton tops. I know, I have three of those too.  A little floral jacket, a couple of cardigans ... and so the list goes on but nothing in your face and if I wore any of them, I don't think anyone would say "Sue, you really shouldn't".

Can I just say - the changing room I had was brilliant.  It was huge, airy and even had a mattress on it for George to chill out on.

Lovely big changing room space

George in his luxury cell.

I was tempted by the cute blouse below (I love a good silk/cotton mix) and even thought about a check shirt and I even made the SA go and look for my size for a number of things but I didn't buy. What's wrong with me?  I must be ill. Even the Grumps was surprised to find out that I hadn't bought anything when I told him later about my little excursion.

Wish I'd bought it now. Drat!

Being honest, I do think some of the items are priced a little high for the teeny bop market and I feel sorry for those teenagers who want to join in but their (parents) budgets dictate otherwise.  I always think this is the hardest age to be where acceptance is paramount and for some, they want to be wearing what their peers are wearing.  I see it even now in the school playground - 11 year old girls with their JWills book bags (about £12 - reasonable) and the obligatory JW gilets (around £99 - ouch). 

However, this is still a lovely outlet and I still really like their clothes.  What does really surprise me though is the choice of location for this Jack Wills venture.  I'm not complaining - it's nice to have something which is almost on my doorstep but why the north of England and especially Halifax a little old textiles town which is not really on the map for a lot?  If anyone knows - do tell - I am curious with a capital C.


Final Note.

  • If anyone from Jack Wills/Aubin & Wills is reading (fat chance) - any chance of opening an Aubin & Wills outlet here too?  It would make me very happy.

  • If anyone from Hollister is reading (fat chance) - any chance of getting your lighting sorted out in your shops so I can actually see the merchandise?  Make like Jack Wills and get some brighter bulbs at the very least.  I walked out of your Trafford Centre store as I couldn't see a thing in there and it made me very grumpy.  How can I tell what colour something is if I can't see it?  Go on - do it now! I'll even donate you a few bulbs if it helps.

  • That's it.  Getting off my soap box now.  Thank you for reading.


  1. OMG!! Am so with you on the Hollister complaint. I have threatened The Child that I'm going to invest in one of those miners head lamps, so that I can rummage hands free, with light. Apparently, in the Dundrum store in Dublin, they have found some torches amongst the merchandise when they tidy up in the evenings, lol!

    1. That's really funny but it's not a bad idea. Head torch at the ready next time. I wanted to see what Hollister clothes were like up close but peering that close because I couldn't see a thing was not what I had in mind.

  2. Haha! Sounds like what my mom says when she goes shopping (which are also the things I secretly think...)

    1. You know what they say about us all turning in to our mothers???

  3. Love the changing rooms - something about exposed brick and beams make it so welcoming, haha. The the cotton/silk shirt looks great with your jeans like that!

    steph / absolutely-fuzzy.com

    1. Stunning building - I was almightily impressed but I've been impressed with their other shops too in York and Leeds - they seem to pick some really good architectural buildings but this one definitely comes out top. I keep thinking about the cotton/silk shirt too. I knew it ... should have got it!

  4. That outfit with the blouse is so lovely (like every detail), I can't believe you let that one go! I really like several of their shirts/blouses this season - although after visiting the Manchester store a few days ago I too came away empty handed. But I'd just been to exchange a pair of cords at Aubin&Wills, so they've had enough of my money for a good while! (can highly recommend the skinny cords, but do stress having to try them on, for the waistbands varied immensely between many pairs of the same) size.

    Love the pic of little George in the luxury cell. I should like to have my own. He looks so happy toddling around there! x

    Also....I often see many 'middle aged' men wearing the heavily branded JW stuff, yet very few teens. Whilst I'm not exactly a fan of the brand's connotations (the patriotic, overly privileged, white youth vibe) I do find myself drawn to the style (plus A&W). There is always conflict in my soul ;)

    1. Don't - I'm still beating myself up about it. I should have got it, I know. I always like the shirts/blouses in JW and AW and I have got my eye on one each in JW and AW this season. Liking the idea of cords but I always worry that I might have a flat patch where I've been sitting ... but I could be persuaded. I've seen a lovely pair of green ones in the Gap adverts - but I know I would look just dreadful in them. What I like and what I can wear is usually poles apart.

      I see so many teeny bops wandering around in the logo'd sweatshirts that I find it very off putting. The only redeeming features on mine is that they are not quite as blatant as some but they are comfy. I think they are almost overselling themselves to the point where dare I say it, they are becoming a little "chavvy". A bit like what happened with Burberry a few years back being adopted by "yoof" culture. But I still like their styling too ... I think you've just got to pick out the choice pieces.

  5. LOL! Love the photo of George in his "cell". Hubby has just discovered Jack Wills and have bought a few items which aren't too bad. Surprisingly. There's a rather large store here and I've only been in a few times. I wanted a sweatshirt but I winced in pain when I saw discounted price of £49! Lovely stuff though.

    p.s. you should've gotten that top! It looks perfect on you!

    1. Love the changing room cell - it has proper locks on the door to stop little terrors from escaping. I have a soft spot for JW clothing - quite simple and practical styling at the end of the day so what's not to like? Yup - the hoodies and sweats are a little pricey but at least you're not looking at Aubin Wills prices. That really will make your eyes water.

      Oh and stop it now all of you - I know, I know I should have bought it but I was practicing being frugal and now it's coming back to haunt me! I'll probably turn in to Sue the Bounty Hunter again in search of this blouse. I may be some time ....

  6. Ah, I see that you 'trained' your son to like going shopping with you! With mine i's not always successful. I managed to 'train' him to like cafes but with shops...the shop has to have a lift or an escalator and a section of toys...therefore, in Sheffield we are quite limited in choices.

    1. At the moment, going anywhere is a joyous occasion for George. Whereas Ben does the teenager "aawwww mum .... that's just sooooo boring".

      I think you need to indulge more in the joys of online shopping :o)

    2. I do that as well...i am a terrible shopacholic!

  7. Hi Susie

    I work in the Jack Wills Outlet in Halifax, that shirt look so cute on you. I've tweeted your blog onto our twitter account, i think your blog is so cute and so do the team, get in touch with us on twitter.Follow us on twitter @JWHalifaxOutlet

    Hope to hear from you
    p.s we still have some of them shirts, plus a few of the new autumn 2012 pieces

    1. Hi Abigail, I am so embarrassed at this point because I must sound like a raving loony but thank you for stopping past and reading. How did you find this post? I do love the shirt but I don't stop past the outlet very often as it's a little out of the way and I don't think you can post. Any size 10's left?

      Will pop across to twitter to see what's happening. I'm a bit of techie novice when it comes to twitter and all things modern. But glad you like the blog!

  8. As someone who works at the Hollister flagship store in Regent's Street, I couldn't agree with you more about the lighting. That coupled with the strong fragrance smell gave me a headache the first few times I worked there! I even made a joke that the managers should provide us with carrot juice in order to improve our eyesight.

    Jack Wills has definitely gone from strength to strength over the last couple of years, so its marketing team must be doing something right!

    Interesting blog btw!

    1. Hi David. Thanks for leaving a comment and it's interesting to hear from someone who actually works in one of the stores. I remember having a look outside in November when I was going down Regents St but couldn't quite bring myself to go in. I was hoping it wasn't just me being old and fuddy duddy but I'm actually naturally drawn to bright spaces and this helps so much when you're shopping and you're not trying to walk up to windows to gauge the colour of an item because you're not quite sure what the exact shade is. I admit the first Hollister I went in to was the one in the Trafford Centre - I was accompanying my god daughter (now I sound really old) to buy her a birthday present. I lasted about 5 mins before I thrust some money in her hand and told her where I would be waiting for her when she finished. And I'm quite a hardened shopper so it did really get to me actually. Strangely enough though - I never noticed the fragrance.

      Did your managers take your comments in good spirit? I take it that they did as you say you are working there currently.

      Yes Jack Wills has certainly built itself up over the last few years - it's a shame they weren't able to commit more to their Aubin and Wills spin off which I preferred. But I guess, in order to survive, you put your money on what looks to be the best horse for the course. Thanks for leaving a comment.

    2. Hey Sue,

      Sorry for my late reply. I don't think Hollister/Abercrombie will change anytime soon. We are told to say that the darkened rooms and loud music is just part of the store's aesthetic and that the music is played with regulations. Even though their sales have dropped as a result of changes in the clothing market, they are still doing very well indeed.

      It is a pity though that Aubin and Wills didn't work out. They seemed to have pretty credible ad campaigns with Alex James from Blur and Sophie Dahl. Similar with Abercrombie and their Ruehl experiment.

      Have you written anything on your blog about Scandinavian brands (Acne, Nudie, Humor, Tiger etc), because that seems to be the way the market is going.


    3. I'm afraid I'm a bit of an old fogey David and don't know enough about the Scandinavian brands and rarely come across them on my travels. I also don't think I have a budget which stretches to them unfortunately. I've heard good things about the Nudie jeans though.

      And I was gutted about Aubin & Wills going bust. They priced themselves out of the market a little ultimately but their styling was absolutely impeccable. The lookbooks were amongst the best out there.

  9. I say it, they are becoming a little "chavvy". A bit like what happened with Burberry a few years back being adopted by "yoof" culture. But I still like their styling too ... I think you've just got to pick out the choice pieces. best latex mattress reviews

    1. I have to say I agree. The branding on the sweatshirts kills the whole look for me and I think will ultimately prove to be their downfall. Yet, I can't get away from the fact that some of their more classic and subdued pieces are made really well and damn their shrunken boyfit shirts do fit me well.


Susie So So