The top 10 places to buy a cheap winter coat in Toronto
Cheap winter coats in Toronto, like in most cities, are generally the provenance of end-of-season sales at big chain stores. But what if you'd rather give your dough to a locally-based business - or you just don't want to wait around for Boxing Day? Generally, you've got two options: Buy used (which can be hit or miss), or buy super-cheap (and potentially have your new coat disintegrate by Valentine's Day).
Do a little bit of digging, however, and you can satisfy your sorry budget with your desire to build a quality winter wardrobe. Here are a few of my favourite places to score an inexpensive winter coat in Toronto.
The local Goodwill or Value Village is generally the first stop for any bargain-hunter (and each one has their own secret source). Outerwear selection and pricing, naturally, varies from store to store; consult our list of Toronto's top 10 thrift shops for the one nearest you.
Canada's favourite discount chain (and its sister store, Marshalls) trucks in plenty of outerwear for the winter season; some is made specifically for discounters (like all those "Calvin Klein" pieces inevitably packing the shelves), and not everything will be markedly discounted - but the possibility of finding name-brand gems is always worth a hunt. Check out our list of the best and worst Winners stores in Toronto as a starting point.
Outlet malls and stores
Few of these are in Toronto proper, but if you're ever in the area, it's worth it to make a trip. A couple of potential sources: the Le Chateau outlet on Orfus Rd. (there's a fair bit of outerwear to be found among all those satin-y party dresses), the J. Crew Factory location at Vaughan Mills (they may not be "cheap" by most standards, but compared to regular J. Crew, you're saving a pile), and the Danier outlet store on St. Clair West, which unloads leather jackets at up to 80% off retail.
At least here, you know you're getting a deal: At Queen West's favourite basement full of dirt-cheap vintage, literally everything - including winter coats - go for $10. They've divvied everything into short and long coats for men and women, and though there's plenty of '80s nylon mom jackets, it's worth trawling through to find a $10 gem. (Pro tip: their sister store, Parkdale's Public Butter, tends to get the best stuff - at still-reasonable prices.)
Head to the back to find the vintage selection at this new/used clothing/furniture shop in Kensington. Coats range between $45 (for a sportier nylon-outer jacket for women) and $60 (a wool men's peacoat), while rarer finds will go higher (I recently spotted a to-die-for '50s rainbow-boucle coat for $95).
This newer Kensington spot keeps prices reasonable across the board. They have a few mall-brand coats (including some new with tags) kicking around for about $40, but even oddities like mod striped vintage capes don't go far above the $60 mark, and they've got some Burberry trenches on for $125. (That's better than Exile a few doors down, where coats generally hover around $90.)
Toronto's most ridiculously fast-growing chain of resale clothing stores is now accepting winter-wear - look for used coats to keep trickling into stores as the weather turns. A recent visit to their Queen and John location turned up name-brand peacoats at around the $50 mark. And if you come up empty, just head to another location - there's one in your neighbourhood, and your neighbourhood, and yours, too.
The other major player in Toronto's resale clothing game, Common Sort's two locations (in Parkdale and Riverside) keep things a little more tightly-edited than KX. Expect to find modern brands alongside real-deal vintage, and try not to leave with 17 more used finds.
Flashback/Flashback 2/King of Kensington
Granted, you will pay between $75 and $85 for a winter coat at Kensington's reigning family of vintage stores. But that kind of dough will buy you a wool military peacoat (for considerably less than at the army surplus store further north), or a beautiful Gloverall duffle coat - both of which will probably last you way longer than that nylon thing you got at Joe for the same price.
Off The Truck
This brand-new store in Kensington, which focuses on overstock or damaged goods, definitely comes by its cheeky name honestly - much of the clothing, which comes from Joe Fresh, French Connection and other fast-fashion brands, is a little worse for the wear. But you might also find a perfectly serviceable men's Calvin Klein peacoat for $39, or a beautiful vintage coat (with a fixable rip) for half of what you'd pay elsewhere in the market.
Did I miss any? Leave your favourite spot to score a cheap winter coat in the comments.
Photo of Black Market by Jesse Milns.
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