Sunday, August 30, 2015Mostly Cloudy 19°C
Fashion Stores


Posted by Briony / Posted on August 12, 2008

CharlieFast fashion tends to translate into shit quality, which is why I steer clear of H&M and its ilk (among other reasons--I'm sure I'll harp on that in a future post). But "cheap(er) and cheerful" doesn't have to mean "China and cheerful".

All too often people stock up on crappy imported one-season wonders of dubious quality, whether it be from the streetwear shops that line the Spadina stretch of Queen Street or from the ever-growing fast fashion pimps, when they could be applying the eco-friendlier principle of shopping closer to home.

There are plenty of Canadian brands that might set you back a little more than a swathe of quickie cotton from Forever 21, but they're more unique, well-made, local, and should last you longer than a couple dozen washes.

Charlie QueenCharlie is a great place to hit for Canuck clothing from contemporary lines at reasonable price-points. Situated at 809 Queen Street, this cute shop stocks plenty of Canadian lines that usually won't cost you more than $200, and are often much less. (I scored a lovely--and pricey-looking--black-and-white ombre silk dress from Montreal's LnE for $115.) "I wanted to support Canadian fashion innovators, but at reasonable prices. I want to be actually accessible to people!" said owner Erin Swan.

Swan (who used to buy for Girl Friday) will be bringing in Adrienne Butikofer for fall--a favourite from this Toronto designer include a long belted black sweater coat with oversized buttons. She'll join the Montreal designer Anastasia Lomonova's disco-style fitted mini-dresses that shimmer with black sequins ($169) and shiny pleated spaghetti-strapped cocktail frocks ($189), along with LnE's purple shift dress with yellow-lined pockets.

The store also carries plenty of those "immediates" (read: trendy tra-la-la pieces), but there's a twist: they're decent quality, and totally affordable. I hate how the throwaway pieces offered by independent boutiques are often crappy quality with an outrageous mark-up. (I'm often tempted to hold up some stupid drape-y jersey cotton top straight off the Chinese import boat that's now retailing for $90 and say, "Really?")

Charlie Clothing
Here, however, there are plenty of faster-fashion pieces that are relatively cheap for the materials, cut, or detailing you can get (and could be a nice long-term addition to your closet--moreso than some tank-dress from Urban Outfitters). Examples include a raw silk ombre gray and cream blousy shirt from Trinity, Lovely Girl's shiny cream silk tank with lace details, and Sole Mio's seafoam silk day dress, which will all run you around $90--and that's before any sales, which lower the price considerably. (And, for those who want to go cheapie-cheap-cheap, trend darling BB Dakota is here, too, with the entire line falling in the muy reasonable $39--$120 range.)

Since you should have some dough left, check out the fall selection of bags from Australian line Mogil, a city exclusive. The foldover clutches and bags are leather with suede accents, and run around $140. (These are an improvement from the boring, cheap imports currently on offer here.) Any remaining dollars can go towards a silver necklace, with Früg's cougar charm ($35) the hands-down winner.

Getting to huff "No!" when people ask if your uber-cute piece came from H&M? Now, that's priceless.
Charlie Toronto



misener / August 12, 2008 at 03:29 pm
Erin is amazing and has amazing taste!
Ugh / August 13, 2008 at 02:12 am
Fuck just throw your keyboard out the window already. You couldn't write your way out of a wet paper bag. Just because it's for a blog doesn't mean you're having a conversation with your braindead friends.
wha? / August 13, 2008 at 08:10 pm
I would love to read Ugh's literary works of art and compare writing styles to this blog. When this poster has their Man Booker Prize, or a Nobel Prize in Literature, then I think they would have earned the right to bitch. Until then, no one cares about your complaint.
Ugh / August 14, 2008 at 03:09 pm
Since when do critics need to have accomplished anything of note to criticize? I don't need to be a Man Booker Prize winning author to know shitty writing when I see it.

Do you have to be a politician to bitch about politics? Do you have to be a director to complain about the latest "blockbuster" trash in the theatres? Fucking flawless logic wha?
helloAnus / August 18, 2008 at 02:37 pm
Horrible post, horrible store. People buy from places like H&M because it is affordable. Why buy something overpriced from an artsy fartsy store like this when you'll be sick of the item a few months later.
krm replying to a comment from helloAnus / January 18, 2009 at 01:55 pm
You don't have to decide between never shopping at somewhere like H&M and hitting the local shops in TO that stock Canadian fashion. I wonder if helloAnus has actually been in charlie and if you haven't, you shouldn't write "horrible post, horrible store". charlie is extremely affordable and you won't be hating anything you buy after a few months. I definitely like to get good cheap basics at mall stores but certainly fill my closet with lots of better pieces from charlie and other local shops.

why do some bloggers have to be so bitchy? it doesn't take a lot of guts to rip someone apart online. if you don't like the blog fine, but honestly tone down the bitch.
umm / January 21, 2009 at 11:09 am
Horrible writing by the journalist in this piece. End of story.
C / February 25, 2009 at 05:11 pm
I thought the writing was fine. Charlie is a great store with a great selection! And you will save money if the quality is good although it's at a higher price (you're not paying outrageous amounts.) If you get sick of something you buy just a few weeks later, then you have a problem. That's called senseless consumerism.
JC / May 27, 2009 at 01:18 am
Get a life....this website wasn't created for prize winning journalism, it was created to promote Toronto and to share experiences from various stores/services in Toronto.
plus de followers / April 30, 2013 at 05:31 pm
Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is fantastic, as
well as the content!

Add a Comment


Find a Fashion Store

Or use the options below to assist you in locating a Fashion Store in Toronto.

Search Results

Please select criteria from the dropdown menus above to start your search.


Recent Reviews

Refine the list using the categories below:

Other Cities: Montreal