Penny Arcade Vintage
Penny Arcade is, hands down, my favourite vintage store in Toronto.
Nestled in among dingy-looking storefronts on Dundas West just west of Ossington, the long space feels welcoming the second you walk in, with purses and gloves and ceramic knick-knacks crowding the high shelves, end-tables covered in glasses, and a comfy couch where you can peruse a book about sharks while noshing on jellybeans.
"I want people to be able to come in and sit around and hang out, and not necessarily have to buy anything," said Sheehan, who furnished the space with vintage pieces and kitschy bric-a-brac that mirrors the cozy aesthetic of her own home.
She opened up the store in 2008 when she found that slinging vintage on eBay just wasn't satisfying enough. "I felt that the romance and beauty and tactile nature of vintage was lost on the Internet," Sheehan said. "You want to be able to see the fit of the clothes."
And, oh, the clothes. "We carry everything from trashy eighties stuff all the way up to pressed super-rare vintage," said Sheehan.
Penny Arcade Vintage specializes in dresses, shoes and boots, glasses, as well as bargain pieces that are shockingly well-priced. (One stand-out is the $5 rack. Unlike many sale racks, there are quite a few gems in the rack, whether it's cute tanks, denim skirts or colourful rompers.)
Jean-shorts can be had for $15 to $25, or a leather miniskirt for $30, while a cheery pair of clear-red-and-blue eyeglass frames go for $30. Shoes are also reasonably priced, whether it's red ankle booties ($47), yellow suede loafers ($47), black lace-ups ($37), and seafoam pumps ($30). Those looking for a pair of boots would do well to choose from among Sheehan's many pairs lining the walls of the store.
Boys can also find an excellent selection of vintage shoes ranging from loafers to brogues and lace-ups ($30--$130), along with a handful of rock tees and hearty sweaters and jackets.
One of my favourite things to browse, though, are the frocks. Sheehan has some of the best taste in the city when it comes to her dresses: they run pricier than those ubiquitous seventies poly jobs, but they are all unique and interesting pieces and well worth the cash.
Faves include a black silk eighties number with an open-front tulip skirt ($85), a heavy white sixties cotton sundress with tie-capsleeves ($85), and a crinoline-equipped fifties floral frock splashed with teal and chartreuse blooms ($90).
I myself left with a few key pieces for fall, including a nineties high-waisted acid-wash skirt from the $5 rack, an eighties red leather and black stretch cotton bustier ($32), and a beautiful flowing black butterfly dress from the seventies ($65)--definitely my favourite!