There's no way of planning a lavish fancy shopping trip in Brussels without including Privejoke. It's a bit of an icon in Brussels, and not without reason. The store is older than I am (27 years) (the store, not me) and has been oozing style since around the time I thought Apple's was the most fashionable brand in the world. (Apple's is so unfashionable these days - and probably was in those days too - that I can't even find it online. But trust me, you'll find cheap synthetic clothing there as bad as anywhere. Which doesn't mean I wasn't absolutely thrilled when in the last year of elementary school my mother treated me to an entire Apple's outfit of my choice. A baby blue sleeveless shirt and grey pants that felt like they were made of polyester. I'll tell you what, dancing to "...Baby One More Time" just doesn't feel the same without those pants.)
None of that in Privejoke. They redecorated a year or so ago, and I really like the style. I don't have a decent picture and plucked this off their unfinished website - the colours are bland, but it gives you and idea:
It's basically a hip store with a hip decor, hip clothing, hip personnel and a hip audience. (And if you're wondering whether I sometimes feel out of place there, why yes I do!) But seriously, the clothes are just so stylish and beautiful. I never walk out without having desperately clasped some or other garment, lamenting because it was too small or to expensive. Because the selection ís pretty expensive. Not gee-I-could-buy-a-housebroken-tiger-for-that-price-expensive, but expensive nonetheless. The sales usually aren't very spectacular (I guess most items fly out of the door, so 40% off is the lowest they go, if I remember correct). They do have a pop-up outlet in the same street, though, for those who are budgetarily challenged. You'll find some beautiful coats for a third of their original price, among other things.
As I indicated above, sizing is pretty small, too. This has become a major frustration since I started working: now that I'm a lady of means (well, to some extent at least) and I can finally afford beautiful clothes, I can't find them in my size. You might suggest to simply drop some weight, and you're probably right. But I'd rather the industry just made clothes my size, really. It spares me a diet and the people around me a significant amount of whining.
Back to Privejoke: they have some stuff you'll find in a lot of boutiques (Paul & Joe Sister), but there's also a lot to discover. Virginie Castaway, for instance, who makes gorgeous dresses. They also sold me the most comfortable sweater ever by American Vintage - the collection must've sold like crazy, because the owners recently opened an American Vintage shop a few yards down the street. Whoever's into pretty basics will be enchanted, I'm sure. If all of this tickled your fancy, go down to the Kolenmarktstraat/Rue du Marché au Charbon. They're open every day of the week.
(You should go there even if you're not interested at all - it's a beautiful little neighbourhood. And right around the corner is Kokob, a great Ethiopean place!)