I Miss You
I Miss You is one of those stores that I tend to avoid for fear of dropping mad cash, as the sheer girth of the wad I'm usually tempted to blow in this higher-end vintage shop is directly proportionate to the many covetable one-of-a-kind treasures on offer.
After slinging vintage privately for more than a dozen years, Julie Yoo decided to open this for-reals shop on the newly hip strip of Ossington Avenue. I Miss You--located just north of Queen Street West--houses a more upscale selection of vintage than most shops in town.
Instead of the usual reams of seventies and eighties synthetic day-dresses crammed in higgledy-piggledy, the emphasis here is on a smaller and more selective collection of vintage frocks that also includes high-end brand names from Yves St. Laurent to Christian Dior.
Browsers beware, however: the more elegant feel of the store means a little bit less relaxed customer service. Many vintage-slingers in Toronto and elsewhere are laidback, friendly, and willing to haggle or shoot the shit. That's not really the impression you get here.
It's a little off-putting, but I guess it comes with the territory when your vintage wares are so fancy-schmancy and in such wonderful condition, with none of the stains or rips that can often be found at your run-of-the-mill vintage store. Yoo drycleans and touches up all her pieces before sending them out on the floor. "You never find them in this condition!" she laughs.
The brand names and the higher-quality pieces she ferrets out are what drives up the price-point (think way more than thrift stores or most independent vintage boutiques, but, generally, less than The Paperbag Princess or Cabaret).
The clothes tend to be in colour-coded sections, with the exception of a few theme areas (fifties party dresses, bright sixties maxi-dresses). The standouts are the swathes of cocktail and party dresses from the forties, fifties, and sixties, including plenty of black beaded numbers, a drop-dead gorgeous fifties cream silk party dress with a bubble skirt and beaded bodice ($349), a floor-length lilac prom-style dress complete with crinoline and netting ($175), and a sixties dark navy brocade shift with thick straps trimmed in white fur and jewels ($125).
(I never really bother browsing the aforementioned synthetic day dresses, however--they're often overpriced, and the same pieces could be gotten at a thrift store or your standard vintage store for much less, albeit maybe in a slightly less better condition.)
There's a smaller selection of blazers, skirts, blouses, and jackets, too. I dug the eighties Thierry Mugler nipped-in black blazer ($225), the uber-cute pink tweed Holt Renfrew jacket trimmed with pink fox fur ($295) from the sixties, and the handful of white beaded sweaters.
A rack of shoes carries a variety of high-heels, from emerald green pumps to a pair of gold lame pin-up heels from the forties ($149), and there often are a variety of designer scarves on offer from Hermes and Pucci...but they go quickly!
The store's an accessory hound's dream--tonnes of colourful, often eighties vintage bags line the walls, like the big red purse with the black snakeskin toucan ($45), a gray snakeskin clutch ($45), and a shiny red eelskin shoulder-bag ($85). In the past I've picked up a small turquoise leather purse with snakeskin detailing, and a big brown leather tote with a chunky metal dragon decal, each of which were under $70. For those who like their purses of an older vintage, there are scads of older brown snakeskin numbers--often from the forties or so--that run a little more.
Those looking for older jewelry are in luck, too: Yoo stocks a small selection of Bakelite pins, along with a display case full of sparkly costume jewelry from all different eras. Like everything in the store, they might set you back a wad, but what a wonderful way to go.