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Fashion Stores

Boutique Monique

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on February 18, 2012

Boutique MoniqueBoutique Monique has opened in one of the last areas you would think of for a new vintage clothing store — St. Clair and Oakwood.

This is about as far as you can get from West Queen West (figuratively speaking, of course) with the Oakwood C.I. courtyard holding in Trinity Bellwoods Park's stead, and an abundance of dollar and corner stores rather than chic indie pop-ups and organic green cafes.

Boutique MoniqueNevertheless, this was the perfect spot for Monique Nanton to open her vintage shop, which was bred from a collection that has been 20 years in the making. Collecting vintage clothing was a personal endeavour for Monique, until she started to run out of room to keep it all for herself. She opened an online boutique in 2008, with the goal to one day open her own physical shop.

Boutique MoniqueWhen the time came, she found this then-vacant spot, and decided that it perfectly suited her needs. "I live just around the corner," she tells me when I drop in about a week after her opening day. "And it's close enough that I can go and pick my daughter up from school."

Boutique MoniqueBut St. Clair West, especially this stretch, isn't exactly a shopping destination. Especially one for vintage shoppers with an eye for labels and fine construction. Nevertheless, Monique has moved all of her picks from online to in store, and doesn't seem at all concerned about bringing shoppers to the neighbourhood.

Boutique Monique"I'm a vintage shopper," she says. "And like most vintage shoppers, I go to wherever I need to to find those beautiful, quality pieces. People who know vintage will travel for vintage. "

Boutique Monique
Many of those quality pieces at Boutique Monique have labels that surely your grandmother will remember — Oleg Cassini, Eaton's, Lipton, and more. Then there are those that most will recognize — Guy Laroche, Jean Paul Gaultier, Ralph Lauren — Canadian labels such as Marilyn Brooks, and a whole lot more without the brand recognition and simply selected for their cut and style. Monique is particularly partial to '40s looks, though her collection includes pieces from decades before and after.

Boutique MoniqueThe boutique is divided into three separate spaces; a front area, a room for shoes, and a salon in the back complete with fireplace, vintage furniture, and racks of elegant evening wear. It is from this room where Monique flaunts some of her favourites, which include a gorgeous Ira Berg silk black gown ($60) and a belted straight-cut orange Oscar de la Renta ($75). Button, sequins, and Grecian draping seem to be recurring themes, as are pieces that generally seem to fall between the $40 to $150 price range.

Boutique MoniqueMonique says the lower cost of rent as compared to, say, Queen Street, helps keep the prices down. And to a determined vintage shopper, she knows that the promise of a checked black and white Valentino jacket for $130 just might have the power to make a shopping destination out of St. Clair and Oakwood avenues.

Boutique MoniqueBoutique Monique



Pina Trimarchi / February 18, 2012 at 12:55 pm
Welcome to the neighbourhood Monique. My daughter and I love vintage therefore pleased and excited to see your store right up the street from us. Expect us in soon.
Miss Kriss / February 18, 2012 at 01:45 pm
Oh right NOW that I no longer live there the good stuff starts rolling in! Just jokes. I'll make the trek from Bloorcourt soon enough. Best of luck! It really is a great neighborhood in need of (a small dose of) gentrification.
brixton / February 18, 2012 at 05:32 pm
Just checked it out today - the space is stunning and labyrinthine, full of beautifully arranged and decently priced high quality vintage. A welcome but dangerous treasure trove as I live across the street!
jennifer / February 18, 2012 at 06:03 pm
Yay! St. Clair just keeps getting better and better! I will be visiting for sure!
Kim / February 22, 2012 at 02:19 pm
Wow, store looks amazing, you have a great eye and fabulous style Monique, I'm looking forward to seeing it all in person. Great addition to St.Clair W !!
Heidi / February 22, 2012 at 04:19 pm
Looks fantastic! I'll be taking a walk over to check it out.
Adrienne / February 22, 2012 at 04:57 pm
Store looks fabulous - so much to look through!!! I love the fireplace, nice touch.
salome / February 23, 2012 at 09:50 am
Love the store-This is where you can find such great variety of one of a kind, designer outfit for everyone at a reasonable price. Don't miss out on fabulous clothes for every and any occasion.

Jacqueline / May 19, 2012 at 03:45 pm
Ask for Monique's help in choosing something that suits you. The same skill that went into curating her fabulous collection will focus on what would look fabulous on you! Be prepared to look wonderful, no matter what age/shape/size you are! The dress she pulled off the rack for me was perfect.
Jenni / January 23, 2013 at 06:18 pm
Had a fantastic trip there! Monique was SO helpful. I needed business attire- and haven't shopped for that in YEARS. Under Monique's guidance I came away with a stunning red number that fits like a dream and showed me what i have been hiding for years! I'll be back. Such a treat to have you up the street! No excuses now ;-)
TaraMac / February 21, 2014 at 06:23 pm
Monique is AMAZING. She was so dedicated to finding a dress for me that fit and looked fabulous! The shoe selection was out of this world! I found a dress that I am absolutely in love with. Great selection, great pricing and the store layout is awesome! Will definitely be going back!!!

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