Saturday, October 25, 2014Mostly Cloudy 16°C
Fashion Stores

Oliver Spencer

Posted by Kevin Naulls / Posted on December 3, 2010

Oliver Spencer TorontoOliver Spencer decided back in 2002 that contemporary menswear was missing something: him. The clothes he wanted to wear didn't exist yet, or that is how he saw the state of affairs and so he took it upon himself to create his own wardrobe in the hopes that other men would catch on. They did and just three weeks ago, on a small stretch of Queen Street real estate, Spencer opened up his first Canadian doors and the results speak for themselves.

Oliver Spencer TorontoSpencer remarked, "we didn't think we would sell so well in the beginning." "It has only been three weeks and I am very pleased." It doesn't surprise me that there has been such positive reception for Oliver Spencer, a brand well known for its modern attempts at the neo-traditionalist garb of today's man.

Oliver Spencer TorontoThe emphasis is - after all - in the quality of fabrication, with the breadth of his collections produced in England - a true homegrown designer with global aspirations. In fact, it seems there is a lot of hype surrounding the UK brand, since just this past weekend the newly opened store experienced a break in. It was an episode where thieves left their "shopping spree" with a selection of jackets. He makes a joke about their "taste level," but I sense some pride in his tone too, since it seems that even criminals want a piece of Spencer. Please do not take this as permission to ransack his shop.

Oliver Spencer TorontoEntering Oliver Spencer, some guests mentioned that it "feels like the perfect apartment," which highlights the cozy, homey quality of the store. Everything seems familiar, but where you might be designing your plans for a breakfast nook, Spencer is here to sell.

Oliver Spencer TorontoThe famed Donkey Jacket greets you as your fingers graze the first few racks - it is a tailored jacket that boasts elbow patches and shoulder panels in waxed cotton, which is paired with melton wool. It comes in a variety of palettes, including black or navy, but my favourite is a checked wool which adds a bit of whimsy to the working man's staple.

Oliver Spencer TorontoFor those wondering if Spencer is planning to bring his Monocle collaborations to Toronto, you'll need to wait a bit before anything is finalized. Spencer says, "It is something I would like to bring, but it is still new and we're figuring things out."

A vast selection of dapper shoes coat a back wall, including Spencer's partnership with Quoddy ($395) and some of his own design ($550). Again, his shoes are made in England, but upon inspection they feel sturdy and look timeless. You'll find a brogue boot and some less fanciful-yet-equally-stylish solid leather boots and shoes to suit most tastes.

As for shirting, I think Oliver Spencer is a good example of the kind of designer who makes clothes that you'd want to return to. If not return to, buy 10 of, since the checks resemble core essentials that you'll wear quite regularly.

Oliver Spencer TorontoA red check shirt ($195) is the perfect pop of colour to wear under a field jacket, or even a sharp blazer. For the quality and versatility you'll find, the price points are good. Spencer noted that prices will typically be at the $195 mark, but could go up to $210 - the idea is, this isn't a fast fashion acquisition and you will wear it to death.

Another great find is a waxed cotton duffle coat ($560), which adds a boost of interest to the ubiquitous waxed cotton jackets seen in stores. Or for the ultimate in luxury, a 3/4 length tailored wool jacket will set you back a cool $750, but you'll be so impressed by the quality of tailoring and fabric, that any doubt will simply come through as a whisper.

Oliver Spencer TorontoFor those gents who might see Oliver Spencer as a challenge, don't. Spencer says he is offering "luxury, but with flexibility," which is another way of saying he does not wish to discriminate against the less discerning. Consider this an education of sorts, with your end grade being a new wardrobe of looks that will - easily - see heavy rotation. Like I said earlier, you'll wear these pieces to death and come crawling back for more.

Welcome, Oliver! Speaking as a Toronto man, I think it is encouraging to know that we're worthy of some new menswear. My only request is that you keep it coming. Oh, and before I forget, please bring us your navy quilted Signalman's jacket with plaid lining and crushed leather buttons. I need it.

Oliver Spencer TorontoPhotos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

9 Comments

Geo / December 3, 2010 at 02:54 pm
user-pic
looks very clean space! and nice to see a great store opening up in the queen west village!
Trin / December 3, 2010 at 02:54 pm
user-pic
How are his prices for the quality, compared to, say, Gotstyle?
(If you have any other suggestions for decent / decently affordable menswear in town, please let me know!)
David / December 3, 2010 at 03:42 pm
user-pic
I have a few Oliver Spencer items (mostly shirts) and the build is really good. It is top quality. Better than Gotstyle I'd say because the styling is a little more timeless and less based on trending.
HUK / December 3, 2010 at 03:42 pm
user-pic
I'm going to go there and leave a wad of gum beneath those desks. You'd better check on Tuesday 'cuz I'll be in over the weekend.
Lolla / December 3, 2010 at 04:12 pm
user-pic
Just what queen west needed...another chain store with boring clothing.

I wish for more unique Canadian designer stores.
handfed / December 3, 2010 at 06:10 pm
user-pic
Hey Lolla, why don't you go over to Queen/Spadina and get yourself some "Canadian"-inspired moccasins; Leave the men's stuff to the Brits, thanks.
Greg / December 3, 2010 at 10:02 pm
user-pic
Brogue boots bonanza. Yet another try on, buy online.
karen / December 5, 2010 at 08:28 pm
user-pic
The clothes are stunning. And while Cdn designs are great, we're lucky to have a designer like Spencer coming to Toronto (after stores in London and NYC). Bravo.
Andrew / December 6, 2010 at 09:19 am
user-pic
Beautiful clothes, but way out of my price range I'm afraid.

Add a Comment

Search

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.

Reviews

Recent Reviews

Refine the list using the categories below:


Loading...
Other Cities: Montreal