Carbon offers Toronto's menfolk an uptown middle-ground for those looking for something between crisp clubwear and schlubby streetwear.
The store stocks a variety of clothing that would form a good foundation of any wardrobe - not too flashy, but not too boring, either. First, there's a mound of great denim to choose from: dark Nudies ($199), faded William Rast s ($269), nineties-looking True Religion s, and stone-blue Earnest Sewn s. Those looking for Adriano Goldschmied 's ultra-distressed pairs ($284) can grab 'em here.
One of the brands that owner Alex Mazelow is super-excited about is Gitman Vintage , who sling things like fitted chambray shirts and patterned button-ups. Also popular are the Alternative Earth line of organic cotton tees; my faves include the gray striped Henley ($68), the blue zippie ($42), and the long-sleeved black waffle shirt. James Perse tees are also available.
(And for those who want to channel their inner Ari Gold or Johnny Drama, the shop has been doing a brisk business in Entourage shirts. While I'm not a huge fan of the show, the boys' style on there has a certain polish to it that I like, and the tees being sold actually have some charm to them, like the faded Miller/Gold Agency tee.)
The wares' casual-yet-pulled-together vibe suits the neighborhood; the Eglinton nabe was a big draw for Mazelow. "We knew that they were giving this area a facelift, and it really needed a men's store," he said. "And it matches us--comfortable, but sophisticated."
Mazelow wants to eventually turn the shop into a "lifestyle store," and has started selling wallets, with plans to sell ties and cuff links in the future. Shoes will be in-store come spring, including pairs from Creative Recreation and deck shoes to elegantly finish off the effortless, vaguely Euro-chic ensembles Carbon offers.
When in doubt, I say, do as the Euros (and Carbon customers) do: effortless.