10 fun ways to get a new look this summer in Toronto
Summer's the perfect time to revamp your wardrobe - while you're doffing those layers, why not ditch them for good? Instead of heading to the nearest chain store for a shopping spree (though you might want to do that anyhow - more on that in a moment), there are plenty of unique and awesome ways to reinvent your wardrobe.
Here are 10 fun ways to get a new look this summer in Toronto.
Go to a clothing swap
Strapped for cash? No problem! If you have enough items to get rid of from your wardrobe, they could be your ticket into a clothing swap. Most swaps have a required minimum (usually around 10 items), and your goods should be in good condition and seasonally appropriate. But if you have nice things that you're simply bored of, this is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to a new wardrobe. Some great ongoing swaps include Nathalie-Roze & Co.'s Uber Swap series, Swapsity, and Toronto Clothing Swap.
Get stuff for free
If you have nothing to swap, then try the Really Really Free Market at Campbell Park, near Lansdowne Station. You just show up and pick anything strikes your fancy. Goods have to be clean and in working condition so you won't have to sift through junk, and you might even find a useful free service for your makeover, like a haircut.
Visit a pop-up shop
There are loads of fantastic pop up shops all around Toronto in the summer - you just have to make sure you're quick enough to catch them. Oak + Fort offers high-quality minimalist selections at reasonable prices on Queen West, while neighbouring Wildfox is a unicorn-loving sweatshirt wearer's dream. Meanwhile, PopUp120 is a rotating pop up shop with such joyous things as a $20 rack. For more pop-up ideas, check out our list of fashion events this summer in Toronto.
Give your lashes a makeover
How about doing something that shaves time off your morning routine and makes you look great, like some brand spankin' new falsies? Or maybe an eyelash or brow tint? There are several new lash-focused salons popping up on the radar that are worth a visit. Wax & Lash is conveniently located downtown on Yonge Street, while mid-town's Privilash also offers makeup lessons to get the most out of your new peepers.
Pop by a new Ten Spot location
Finish off your new look with a little mani-pedi and a Charlie Chaplin (if you don't know what I'm talking about, look at their shop window). The Toronto chain of waxing and manicure salons, with locations all over the GTA, has a new spot (har) that recently opened in the Annex, and another coming soon to Yonge and Eglinton. They're consistently voted as the best place for getting your bits waxed and painted, and it's pretty much a guarantee there's a location near you.
Be the first in town to wear a clothing brand
Tired of looking like everyone else and want to get the edge on some fashion trends? Hit up newcomers like Parloque and Room 29, both of which offer hard-to-find international designer items, some of which are sold nowhere else in the city (such as New Zealand menswear brand I Love Ugly at Parloque).
Line up for a capsule collection
You'll actually have good reason to hit up H&M if you have a thing for balloon animals, as their collaboration with artist Jeff Koons (featuring balloon-dog handbags) will be released on July 17. Roland Mouret and Banana Republic pair up in August with a 25-piece collection, while Joseph Altuzarra for Target will be available late summer on September 14. (Then there'll be plenty of polite shopping to tide us over until things get ugly with Alexander Wang for H&M come November.)
Get your old clothes fixed up
Sometimes you just need to take something that's past its prime and make it new again, and repairing your old favourites doesn't mean forking out the big bucks either. The Toronto Clothing Repairathon is a public event where volunteers fix your clothes for free (yes, free!) while teaching you how to take better care of your duds. The Repair Café is a similar monthly gathering, but you can also bring electronics, furniture, and small appliances that need a little TLC while they sew your favourite top back together. They even have a 3D printer on site to make new parts.
Shop for Toronto-designed beachwear
For a city that lives under snow and sleet half the year, we sure know how to make up for it with fabulous swimwear. Brands like Bather act as a bridge between the beach and street wear for the menfolk, while Reese brings all the sex appeal a non-European beach can handle with sheer bikini tops. Cascata Blu is also great for more traditional solid-colour bikinis and tribal patterned covers.
Get a custom piece made
There's no better time than summer to get a custom piece of clothing made - you need less fabric and the cuts are often simpler, making it more affordable. You could also customize a vintage piece that needs to be brought into the current century. Labl's Elizabeth Oliveira is a designer in addition to a seamstress, making her a great choice for the fashion-conscious, while Fashion by Pearl focuses on more formal wear - so you can have one-of-a-kind summer wedding attire.
For more fun things to do this summer, check out our Toronto Fun Guide.
Writing by Esther Rogers. Photo via Wildfox.