The Best New Clothing Stores in Toronto, 2008
We all need a little cheering up, don't we? The economy's in the toilet, the weather's awful, and you can take your pick of global meltdowns (finance, the Middle East, Jennifer Aniston...).
But we can always count on style to keep us sane. Whether it's throwing together the perfect outfit or finding the all-time best vintage frock, staying stylish is one small way to feel more together in uncertain times, and bring a little beauty to everyday life.
Shopping won't save the world, but, by buying vintage and buying local, we can all feel a little better for it.
Despite some grumbles about the store's prices, the new TO outpost of one of Vancouver's chicest stores has already found many fans who are happy to part with their hard-earned dollars for a prize from the impeccably edited selection of lovely labels. Think Whyred, Surface to Air, Zero + Maria Cornejo, and Preen for the ladies, and Oliver Spencer, Engineered Garments, and Robert Geller for the menfolk. We pant after the navy wool A.P.C. coat with the white fur placket ($1050) and Opening Ceremony's black shirred silk shorts ($250). More »
In addition to long walks on the beach and puppies, my turn-ons include pretension-free vintage stores, and The Public Butter fits the bill. Tucked away in Parkdale, this laidback store uses a standard pricing scheme that makes browsing a breeze. You're looking at $40 for dresses, $100 for leather jackets, $40 for purses, $20 for tees, $100 for men's blazers, and $40 sweaters. Guys should peep the shirts - I liked the red gingham cowboy shirt and the short-sleeved pale yellow top printed with various bottles of booze. More »
This store boasts an all-Canadian roster, with most of the designers hailing from Toronto. There's a boho vibe to the goods, like Sans Soucie's clothing crafted from screenprinted pantyhose ($15-$500), Babu et Moi's colourful wool coats ($450-$599), and upcycled knit shrugs by Precocious ($80). Check out the great accessories, like Julie Moon's poppy pins ($20-$40), Klutch's rainbow of envelope clutches ($100-$200), and feather headpieces and hairbands from LaKrause Headwear ($35-$100). More »
69 Vintage owner Kealan Sullivan has expanded her vintage empire with a new wallet-friendly by-the-pound place where the cash-strapped can stock up on vintage at $15 a pound. The dingy basement setting is depressing and the pieces here are often flawed or a little wacky, but digging around can yield a treasure or two, like a pair of red leather high-heeled sandals with snakeskin accents ($8 a pair), a jaunty yellow mens' sweater, or a straw purse with blue gingham lining. More »
If you're hanging around the trendy Ossington strip, be sure to pop into Penny Arcade on Dundas, a must-see vintage destination-to-be. There are plenty of fantastic finds that range from the cheap-and-cheerful (a gray bird-print-blouse for $33 or vintage men's tee for $14) to the fancy-schmancy (Yves St. Laurent pumps for $74 and a black swing-coat with a puffy collar for $140). Hint - mosey on over to the top-notch boot section ($55-$125).
This airy boite wins the customer service nod for its ever-cheerful and totally helpful staff who are more than happy to help find that perfect piece. The store stocks a lot of Canadian lines at good prices (read - nothing over $250, and super sale deals) like Allison Wonderland, Lily + Jae, Anastasia Lomonova, and Frug. Stand-outs include Majolie sweaters and Adrienne Butikofer skirts, and the $89 Blank jeans on sale for $49. More »
Another place to get your cheap denim on is in Parkdale at Franny Vintage. Cheap Mondays for girls and boys go for $70 a pop, and Naked & Famous for $95-$125. Accessorize your new jeans with some vintage goodness, courtesy of men's plaid shirts and jackets ($20-$30), pointy-toed pumps ($20-$35), or an eighties-tastic patchwork leather purse ($20-$40). More »
During a recession, more people tend to wise up to the whole quality-over-quantity thing when it comes to shopping. Enter the bespoke men's clothiers Green Shag. The folks here will work with you to craft the shirt ($260-$400) or two-piece suit ($1750 and up) of your dreams. The commitment-shy can choose an already-made sample, or one of the shop's colourful handmade bowties ($50) or ties ($75). Top everything off with some bright ceramic cufflinks, such as the Phallic Series, featuring wang-like structures from around the world ($80). More »