Contributed by Jaime Kawamoto
I admit to not having the patience for vintage shopping. Scouring through crammed racks of dubiously cared for hand-me-downs while inhaling the intoxicating odour of mothballs and decade old sweat is not my idea of a good time.
Thankfully, there are places like Bungalow. Located in the north end of Kensington Market, they carry a mixture of vintage and newer items in a brightly light and well organized store. They also have furniture and home dĂŠcor pieces like a gorgeous Art Deco ashtray ($30) that made we want to take up smoking again.
The layout is simple: one side for boys, one for girls. The first stop for me is always the centre rack. This time of year it holds beautiful summer dresses. I fell in love with a ruffled 60's frock ($35) but didn't quite fill it out. There was a flowery Ann Taylor halter ($30) that won me over though.
Tank tops and shirts are a particular weakness of mine. I found the perfect checkered Ralph Lauren short sleeve blouse for only $12 and a rather daringly cut 60's tank for $10.
Bungalow also has an excellent assortment of jeans. They stock everything from American Eagle to Paper, Cloth and Denim at great prices. Just be sure to read the tag inside the women's pants. Some are measured to the hips, others the waist. I had a scary moment when I got the two mixed up!
The men's side of the store has some great finds too. I loved the wall of t-shirts, each bearing its own slogan. There are the odd "labels" (Abercrombie & Fitch plays a pivotal role) but if you want to show your affection for brunettes or Pepsi, there are a lot of unique choices. I was also charmed by a buttery brown leather jacket ($50) with a classic ruggedness.
I am a shopper with strong opinions and my own style so I adore the laid back staff. Nobody tried to push a blouse on me to match the rosy mini that went with nothing I had picked out. I also never had more than three hangers before someone whisked them away to a change room. The staff is attentive without being pushy which is a rare find. Talking to one sales associate, I mentioned my issues with vintage shopping.
"We don't overstock the racks and everything is cleaned before it goes on display," she told me proudly. This makes it so much easier to actually see the clothes when flipping through the racks. And the neutral smell means I'm not fighting for air after five minutes. The store is so inviting and visually appealing I felt free to spend time and money.
I shop vintage to find pieces that are distinctively me. Bungalow is always up on the latest fashion trends without forsaking the timelessness of true style. And I always have the patience for style.