Uncle Otis turns 23 this year but it has faced many reincarnations since its birth on Yorkville's money-rich Bellair St. Originally home to international streetwear labels, Uncle Otis recently revamped its image offering more contemporary looks with a timeless quality.
The store meets its mandate - casual, yet stylish.
Entering the space reminds me of an industrial loft space. Bric-à-brac is kept to a minimum and clothing becomes the focal point (as it should be - ahem, Anthropologie). You might not think this would be successful, given the simplicity of the clothing presented, but the craftmanship and careful selection of product speaks to a new manner of thinking. Call it a KISS attitude.
Popular brand Liberty of London is sold at Uncle Otis and I recommend the Estaban short sleve t-shirt in blue - a multi-coloured flower print that demands some summer attention ($225). Apart from the cool cotton tees from Rag & Bone and perfect tribe inspired print options from Canadian new label 18 Waits and Canadian-made United Stock Dry Goods denim. Both are brands that emphasize structure and uniformity over garish over-design.
After combing their endless supply of luxury basics, I decided to speak with the kindest gentlemen in the history of retail ownership. Uncle Otis isn't the kind of shop where you will have an employee lurking about, hoping to catch you in a moment of theft. The mood is relaxed, but should you have a question, they are informed and eager to share some info on any of their products.
What I learned:
- 20-25% of their stock is Canadian
- Uncle Otis will be exclusively selling local label Creepl
- Most expensive item in the store: a Uniform Wares watch retailing for $1,000
- Their top seller is button shirts
- Stock rotation is seasonal, every 6 months (get it while its good)
Hours: Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 7 pm, Saturday 11:30 am to 6 pm, Sunday noon to 5 pm