Reconsidering 'New': A Guide to the Best Second-Hand Clothes Shops in Brussels

Written by Sarah Pepper
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Anyone who loves clothes will tell you that the feeling of buying something new and imagining the various ways you can incorporate it into your wardrobe is strangely exhilarating. Adding a beautiful piece of clothing to your fashion repertoire and feeling great in it the next day can make us all feel a little like fashionistas. But, how often are we limited to thinking that this fabulous, fashion-induced feeling can only come from purchasing something on Rue Neuve or Avenue Louise? When we think of buying something 'special' and 'new' do we think outside of the never-been-worn-before box? I would dare to say - not very often. But this thinking is a shame considering all the avant-garde gems that hang neatly on vintage store racks. And if there is ever a place to experiment with second-hand shopping, it is in Brussels.


Brussels has some of the best consignment shopping in the world. With a combination of a fashion scene dating back to the 1900's, feted designer boutiques decorating the boulevards and a transient community, the chance of finding an amazing treasure in a second-hand store is good. Sometimes, actually locating these stores is what makes vintage shopping the most daunting but Sunbeams is here to help with this problem!

There are six great stores to start with. The first is Gabriele Vintage (rue des Chartreux 27). Gabriele specializes in eveningwear and party gear. If you are looking for something divine and original to wear to a ballet, opera or a classy dinner party, and you don't want to spend a fortune, look no further. Unless it is to Burlesque at rue du Midi 64, which is another second-hand gem offering dressier options.

If you are looking for something a little less dressy but a little more jealousy-evoking, visit Ramon & Valy Vintage Shop at rue des Teinturiers 19. This delightful store holds some of the most coveted names: Hermes, Chanel, Dior, YSL, to name some, but for affordable prices. Les Enfants d'Edouard, placed idyllically on Avenue Louise (175-177 avenue Louise), offers the same level of fashion as its retail neighbors, which include Ralph Lauren, Moschino and Alaia, but for a fraction of the cost.

Alternatively, Sussies at rue du Lombard 74 is a hub of quirky, kitschy items that diversify your wardrobe and add to the uniqueness of your overall style (and clothes are sold by the kilo!). Look, (rue du Midi 40) just down the street from Burlesque, is another low-key retro shop where you can purchase everyday attire at everyday prices.

Now - I know that there are times when we will still travel to Avenue Louise or Rue Neuve to satisfy our fashion fix. This is okay. But I challenge everyone out there who loves great clothes to give second-hand a chance and add these great stores to your shopping destination list. Most importantly, rethink what 'new' means when it comes to your wardrobe. Everyone can go buy something 'new' at H& M or Zara, but what you buy in a consignment stores is the only sure way to know that your 'new' shirt won't also be someone else's 'new' shirt at work the next day. Happy shopping!

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