TWR potted guide to Antwerp part two: where to buy the bargains

left, image from The Sartorialist, right, my new Ann Demeulemeester coat

Last week I was in Antwerp and of course took our Antwerp guide with me. Do go if you get a chance, it’s easy to get to with the Eurostar and our tickets cost £90 return, which is not far off what it’ll cost you to travel around London for a day or two at the moment (I caught a cab for the first time in ages last week, yikes! bank-loan-travel!)

Since it is the home of Dries Van Noten (my favourite designer EVER), Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester I nipped to all of their lovely flagship stores. But although lovely to pay homage, it was impossible to justify buying anything as you don’t get much change from £1000 for a Dries dress today, which even if I had it, is a step too far. Who is buying clothes at this price?

Tipped off by many who knew my Dries obsession, I visited two excellent designer outlet (both old ‘new’ stock and second hand) stores that specialise in Belgian designers and in both I saw better priced Dries, Demeulemeester, Margiela, AF Vandevorst and non-Belgian Marni! Store staff are incredibly knowledgable and really helpful,

The stores are Rosier 41 on Rosierstraat and Labels Inc (which has a great website and they ship anywhere) on Aalmoezenierstraat and you might want to put them on your list of places to visit.

In Labels Inc I had a bit of a meltdown moment, as I came across this lovely Ann Demeulemeester coat above, which is very similar to the one we featured in our first year of blogging. The above picture of the stylish Italian lady comes from The Sartorialist and I have used this image lots when talking about style and the older woman.

I remember desperately wanting that coat and so discovering something similar -I think this is the men’s version of the same coat- at a reasonable price (£190-it would have been close to £1000 when new) I just had to blow the whole budget on it. It has an unstructured, almost sloppy charm and is shrug-ably comfortable. The fabric is featherlight,  it has pressed leather buttons and is beautifully made. I am in love really.

Rosier also has a charming and reasonable B&B Rosier10 so you can actually stay close to the clothes (obsessives only) or I’d also recommend The Glorious, where we stayed this time, with the best barman in Belgium (he’s won awards).

Are any of you buying designer clothes at full price?

10 Comments

  • Monix says:

    Oooh Amanda – the coat is amazing! Does it have buttons up the back too? I am so jealous…
    I never pay full price for designer clothes (accessories yes) though being size 16 the choice is not huge.
    Enjoy wearing the coat !

  • kate says:

    I LOVE that coat! ( I’m not even buying Toast or Cos at full price?)

  • Sue says:

    No,I’m not.And 10/10 for the coat, Amanda.Xsue

  • sarah says:

    I also use the image of that fabulous woman when choosing what to wear. I have trouble sometimes with still trying to look too ‘pretty’. I am trying to do ‘fierce’ with style and keep true to what I really like.
    I am baffled by the prices of designer clothes, I keep going on charity shops, you need time and dedication but I got a Romeo Gigli top ( an all time favorite) last week.

  • Rosemary says:

    That is a fabulous coat – wear well! I’ve always loved that Sartorialist photo – he’s got another of the same woman (I think) in a padded coat which I also adore. Absolutely not buying at full price, and never did – but, like Sarah, haunt charity shops, from whence came my Burberry coat, my DVF wrap and my Dries waistcoat. Hard work, but oh, the thrill of the chase and of finding that elusive bargain!

  • Amanda says:

    Ladies, the thrill of the find is definitely a motivator for me, but also because I do think designers such as Dries and Demeulemeester (and Gigli!) use really great fabrics. LOVE the idea of being more ‘fierce’ Sarah! Monix, yep, buttons up the back to about chest high.
    I wonder who it is buying these designer clothes at full price? SOMEONE must be, but increasingly I think it is not us smarter, older shoppers who perhaps know where to go to get things cheaper and see those high prices as daft in the context of a real life. A

  • Jo says:

    I bought Grazia last week and if you bought everything in the first 3-4 pages, it would cost about £6,000-£7,000 – who’s buying THIS stuff!!!

  • Thanks for the top tips – I do like a bargain & will visit these shops next time I’m in Antwerp (not quite sure when that’ll be but if it’s 90 quid on Eurostar….)

  • Su Mason says:

    Beautiful coat – shape style colour buttons everything. You will wear and wear.
    Because I trade at Portobello I always pick up designer pieces. I do particularly like Dries . . .

  • Ros Badger says:

    Amazing Antwerp, that coat looks beautiful I am green with envy, loving Anne D too but not able to afford her stuff so next time I am there I will visit Rosier41.
    I bought a gorgeous pair of orange patent APC shoes at Designers inc earlier this year. I also love Kloosterstraat; all those amazing antique shops in different styles of building. The whole Antwerp shopping experience is something else. Did you visit http://www.ra13.be/en/ Fab eclectic mix of clothes, cafe & vintage. Love it.

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