Ani + Wren
Ani + Wren, a new retail concept just steps from the Summerhill LCBO is about as hip and with it as a contemporary women's boutique can get. Aside from the massive windows, clothing racks made out of plumbing pipes, and exposed brick walls (painted white, no less), there are other tell-tale signs of its obvious ultramodernism - including the trendiest of clothing folded carefully on tables or suspended from perfectly spaced out hangers, not to mention the classic two-part store name.
But Ani + Wren isn't just another run-of-the-mill fashion destination, as I discovered on my recent visit...it's a maternity store. Lani and Lauren Levy, the owners, were quick to voice that I'm not the first to be bamboozled by their swanky aesthetic - and that's exactly what they hoped for going into the business.
"It all started when I was pregnant with my first," Lauren said, "I didn't have any fashionable clothing options!" So, the two birthed Ani + Wren (pun intended) to push the idea that expectant mothers don't have to sacrifice their personal style and adopt a frump-tastic one for nine months. Instead, they can shop with confidence amidst a whole slew of fashion-forward maternity - and non-maternity - brands to wear during and post pregnancy.
The first piece to catch my eye was a maroon bodycon dress by Diane Von Furstenberg ($365), no doubt designed with a non-preggers lady in mind. I could've sworn there was no way someone with another human growing inside her could get into such a form-fitting lil' number, but Lani whipped out a semi-creepy prosthetic bump as proof that it can.
Everything - from the casual Splendid waffle henleys ($90), to the sleek Slacks & Co. blazers ($295), to the poppy red Isabella Oliver evening gown ($319) - have been tried and tested with said quasi belly, ensuring a comfortable and flattering fit.
Aside from chic clothing, Lani and Lauren also make it a point to carry lifestyle goods like sunglasses, jewellery, candles, and organic apothecary. The idea is to make Ani + Wren a one-stop shop for moms-to-be - but, considering their fashion-savvy tendencies, it might as well be a haven for all.
Photos by Morris Lum