Now, I admit that I'm not really a fan of deconstructed clothing--even at its most "polished," it still looks somewhat ragtag to me, so I seldom bothered to stop in at Preloved during my usual Queen West shopping strolls.
But I was pleasantly surprised by the wares on offer at the store's new location. Preloved was one of the victims of the awful Queen Street fire earlier this year, but something good came out of it: Julia Grieve's store got a great new space that is much nicer than their old digs. It is indeed a classy-looking joint, with big windows; a clean, spare layout; and lots of open space.
And the new space is a lovely backdrop to the lovely clothes. Preloved makes their own new pieces under the Bloved line and a variety of mixed-vintage pieces for the Preloved line, apparently, but there weren't any when I last visited--only pieces from the Handcut by Preloved line. It's designed by Peter Friesen and is classic, well-made, and that perfect mix of feminine curves and structured elegance. (And, if you follow fashion, the pieces here are the perfect fall additions to your wardrobe, adhering as they do to the slick cuts and menswear-inspired trends this season.)
One standout is a dress ($179) that is made from three pairs of men's wool pants and two wool sweaters, and has a fitted body, a swingy skirt, and cute little cap sleeves, along with a slight drape to the neck. Another is the structured, strapless, knee-length shift ($169) that comes in brown, black, navy, and olive and would look great over a skinny sweater or bow-tie blouse.
The separates are wonderful, too, from the tweed pencil skirts ($129) with a twist (they're slightly longer in the front and gather a little in the middle) to the smart, fitted blazers crafted out of four different pairs of men's wool pants ($189).
(There is even some Preloved goodness for the little ones--the Me Me by Preloved line features super-sweet sweater vests and sundresses ranging between $49 and $69.)
The only weak spot is the sleeveless sweaters ($149)--I don't think they rise above the usual deconstructed ragtag zone, and neither do the few men's offerings (including vests and sweaters for $129), which would look right at home in a more hippie-ish establishment.
Regardless of the few misses, it's nice to know that each pieces in the store is one-of-a-kind. Customers can also enjoy the green benefits of buying local, and buying clothes made of re-purposed fabrics instead of that pesky ol' earth-stabbing cotton (well, with the exception of the new-fabric Bloved line). Indeed, each Handcut by Preloved item carries a tag that reads, "This garment is consciously created from reclaimed fabrics."
While I can't speak for Preloved's other lines, the current crop of Handcut by Preloved beauties, at least, shows that deconstructed clothing can rise to greatness, and be gorgeous.