Paulien Riemis is the face behind POLIENNE, a personal style diary of everyday outfits, interior inspo and travel stories. Paulien has been living in the centre of Antwerp for several years now and likes to buy affordable and wearable stuff. She describes her style as comfy, feminine with a bit of tomboy thrown in for good measure. Want to shop her outfits? These are her favourite hotspots in Antwerp!
Nowadays prescription glasses no longer need to be the equivalent of a fashion death sentence. There are plenty of cool, and also affordable frames on offer these days. The Amsterdam-based eyeglass brand Ace & Tate, which has a shop in Steenhouwersvest, sells a wide range of trendy, qualitative frames at nice prices. Now you can change your look every day to match your outfit. A frame for every occasion! Do you have 20/20 vision? Don’t worry, they also sell cool sunglasses.
After the huge success of the Barnini and Kaffeenini bagel bars, you can now pop into Bite Me by Barnini, a brand-new lunch bar near the theatre, which serves bagels, as well as avocado salads, healthy falafel bowls and some dreamy pies. You can also put together a salad with the available ingredients every day. Like the other two places, the third Nini bar has the same typical vintage interior, making it a very popular spot with Instagram queens. It’s my favourite place to stop for a coffee while shopping in Meir.
In recent years, coffee bars are shooting up literally everywhere in Antwerp so offering something unique can be quite difficult. Buchbar’s concept, however, stands out from the pack. This cosy bar for book and coffee lovers is located between Nationalestraat and Marnixplaats. Their lovingly curated book selection has been installed in the centre of the bar, tempting you to stop and browse after your cappuccino. Besides books, Buchbar also sells some cool minimalist stationary, pretty pencils and coffee cups! The perfect place to unwind or shop for a nice gift.
Off the beaten track, it’s true, but definitely worth the walk. Butcher’s coffee serves a copious breakfast, proper coffee and is one of the friendliest places in town. You may feel as if you’ve known the baristas at Butcher’s Coffee for years, when they serve you a huge portion of buttermilk pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. Another fave is the Butcher’s Breaky, or toasted sourdough bread with avocado, poached eggs and courgette. Now what about that name? This used to be a butcher’s, and they have retained plenty of the old shop’s features in their interior.
Fish & Chips has undergone a radical style transformation after moving to its new industrial location in Kammenstraat. Remember the loud graffiti and ditto music, and the in-your-face skeletons of the window display? Nowadays, this is the place to go for an adult, urban style. Skaters have hit up this place for several years, to shop for their favourite skate brands, like Carhartt, Dickies and Obey but streetwear also like to browse the shelves for their Adidas, Cheap Monday and Nudie Jeans fix. The best thing about Fish & Chips? The huge sneaker wall at the back of the shop, of course!
The Dutch lingerie label Love Stories is famous for its colourful sets, with bright prints, which you can mix and match to your liking. At Love Stories you don’t have to pick a particular style, but you can pair romantic bras with more sporty briefs. They recently traded in their first Antwerp shop, or should I say boudoir, for a larger lingerie paradise in Lombardenvest. Their contemporary collection looks just right in the new warmer, luxurious setting. A great place to find PJs, bathrobes, and fun bedroom accessories!
Read, cycle & cherish: combine a bike shop, a book shop and an interior shop and the result is Mark. Three of Antwerp’s leading stores, Fietsen De Geus, ‘t Stad Leest and Wunderkammer moved into one space in Kleine Markt. There is so much to see and experience here that you can spend hours browsing. Fortunately they also have a kid’s and men’s section. Need gadgets, photo books, postcard, bike accessories or a candle with a nice scent? Look no further, Mark has all this and more!
Kleine Markt 14
After having to shop online or worse yet, hop on a plane or train to find a Monki store, H&M’s pretty little sister has finally found herself a pied-à-terre in Belgium. Antwerp has the world’s largest Monki store with a pink crystal staircase, rainbow-coloured mirrors and even a roundabout. The collection is very similar in style, offering fun designs, striking fabrics and the brightest colours you’ve ever seen. While Monki targets younger customers, I definitely recommend checking out a Monki store. You may want to bring your sunnies though.
If you like an eclectic and lavish interior, Sissy Boy is the place to shop for some elegant gold cutlery, floor lights in the shape of a palm tree and soft, velvet armchairs. The more, the merrier! Besides interior decoration, the Dutch concept store also sells clothes for women, men and children, the prettiest bathroom soaps and a unique range of stationery. Take your time to browse this store to find the perfect accessory for your home or wardrobe. PS: Sissy Boy has the best Christmas decs every year!
The Swedish brand & Other Stories is celebrating the fourth anniversary of its opening in Antwerp and has become a stylish fixture on our shopping streets. Based in one of the most beautiful shops in Wilde Zee, & Other Stores sells clothes, shoes, handbags, jewellery, lingerie and beauty products, in other words all the ingredients for a head to toe transformation. The brand regularly launches guest collabs with celebrities, other brands and fashion icons, such as Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, the shoe brand Toms and the model and actress Lou Doillon.
Korte Gasthuisstraat 17
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Monica Ho shares her list of favourite Antwerp hotspots with shopping addicts.