The top 10 new menswear stores in Toronto
The top new menswear stores in Toronto are proof that the city's retail landscape has undergone a major sea change. Just three years ago, we described local men's clothing offerings as "sparse," adding with touch of resignation that it was a truth acknowledged by fashion fans and shop owners alike.
Now, skip ahead to February of 2014, which saw two international menswear chains launch Toronto stores within just days of one another. The arrival of Loding and Suitsupply are just the crest in a wave of new retail options for Toronto fellas with a love of cashmere sweaters, pocket squares, or perfectly-cut tees. The shift is so palpable that even Holt Renfrew has taken notice; the high-end department store announced plans to open a men's-only boutique on Bloor this fall.
It's a change that's being felt on the ground floor of the fashion world, too. At MADE Clothing Co.'s launch event for their brand-new custom-suiting studio, everyone I spoke to (guy or gal, bespoke suit or blue jeans) agreed that male shoppers finally had a level of choice that would allow them to tailor their wardrobe just so.
All of the stores on this list have been around for less than a year (and most since the summer); at this rate, I can't wait to see how sharp the men of Toronto will look a year from now.
Here, in no particular order, are the top new menswear stores in Toronto.
Parisian import Loding is a reliable source of quality basics, and we mean reliable: The cufflinks are always $50, the shirts are always $90, the cashmere sweaters are always $200. That's perfect for the kind of no-nonsense gent who wants to pick out five of the same perfectly-fitting piece and call it a day. (Fun fact: Nota Bene restaurateur Yannick Bigourdan was brought on board to help open the store after repeatedly lobbying the chain's owners to open up in Toronto; he's amassed a huge collection of their shoes.)
A favourite of menswear aficionados the world over, Suitsupply has finally landed on Canadian soil. The hip, contemporary atmosphere gets guys in the door, but their made-to-measure suiting offerings (with over 600 available fabrics), well-trained staff and one-stop shop approach is the fuel behind that international fan base. If you're not looking for a custom suit ($799 and up), there's a slew of ties, pocket squares, socks, shades and other extras.
Suits made with 3D body scanning technology? It's a reality down at Queen and Jarvis's Surmesur, the first Toronto location in a popular Quebecois chain. After your measurements are taken via airport-style scanner, you can choose the details of your suit on a touch screen. Best of all, the sci-fi approach is surprisingly inexpensive, with suits starting at $325. The future is now. (Or, rather, in three weeks, which is how long it takes for your finished ensemble to arrive.)
MADE Clothing Co.
MADE's been around since 2011, but the custom clothier finally has found a home in a studio at Queen and Berkeley. The airy space, stocked with an assortment of accessories like patterned socks and cufflinks, is the perfect spot to enjoy a fitting (and a nice glass of scotch). What really sets them apart, though, is their use of Canadian tailors in their made-to-measure suits -- an anomaly among budget-friendly custom clothiers (suits start at $895).
Technically, this out-there boutique at King and Bathurst caters to both men and women, but their edgy-clean aesthetic and killer selection of designers -- from Rick Owens DRKSHDW to Vivienne Westwood to Maison Martin Margiela -- makes the men's half of the store more than worth a visit. Bargain-hunters can check out their 613 King in-house line, which fits right in with the look of the store at a fraction of the cost.
Sure, the world may not know how snappy your underwear looks, but you do, and isn't that what really counts? Harbord St.'s Salt Chuck specializes in skivvies, designed in-house by B.C. native Tiffany Ho. But if you're not in the market for moisture-fighting, motion-friendly underwear in fun patterns (around $30 each), Ho's mixed in tons of sporty basics by designers from North America (Lifetime, Publish) and Europe (Minimum, Weekend Offender).
Lost & Found
The beloved Dundas West combination men's boutique and coffee shop found a new home on Ossington last fall. The selection favours quality heritage-influenced pieces manufactured in North America -- think rugged boots, broken-in button-downs, and century-old Filson jackets. This may very well be your grandpa's menswear, but nobody's complaining.
Working Title is mega-minimal, from the spare, white-and-grey interior to the tightly-edited racks of clothing, but there's plenty of depth to be found at the Davenport and Avenue boutique. The mega-modern sister store to Lost & Found features basics from Scandinavian lines like Patrik Ervell and Svensson alongside a selection of art books and indie magazines, with a gallery space in the basement.
The sprawling, glossy John Varvatos location at Yorkdale, stuffed with splashy extras like boutique amplifiers, may be worlds away (figuratively and literally) from some of the core's indie boutiques. But the quintessentially New York designer's work, which celebrates all things rock-and-roll -- think skinny suits, leather jackets, and distressed everything -- would fit right into any downtown gent's wardrobe.
Of course, nothing goes with a bespoke suit like a custom shoe. Leatherfoot, which stepped into a space on Bellair St. in Yorkville last summer, offers made-to-order footwear (starting at $765) with the leather, soles and finish of your choice. Their off-the-rack options are no slouch, either -- they're a handy source for tough-to-find high-end brands.
Lead photo from Lost & Found