Spring is well on its way to Toronto — though for the most part it doesn’t feel like it right now. And while ushering in the new season, why not usher in a few new vintage pieces for your closet? Below are the five best stores to hit up when looking for some retro wardrobe staples.
56B Kensington Ave.
Just like the characters from the childhood fairytale, the customers of Cinderella Vintage are just looking for the perfect shoe. And while I can’t guarantee that a handsome prince will slip it onto your foot for you, I can say that the selection is fantastic, and super unusual (my favourites were a pair of beautiful sequined flats in the entrance room). The pricing on their shoes won’t break the bank (between $40 and $60 on average), and you won’t have a hard time finding a unique pair.
273 Augusta Ave.
Bungalow is a good place for people who are new to vintage shopping — or mildly dubious of it. The bright store carries a mixture of new and old clothes, and really fantastic furniture and home decor, to boot. (I fell in love with a little Pixar-style desk lamp in bright orange.) They have a great selection of jeans in a variety of labels, a plethora of soft cotton tees, and a wall of vintage Coach bags. Could you really ask for more?
The Public Butter
1290 Queen St. West
The massive vintage storehouse in Parkdale is packed to capacity with everything from furniture to records to clothes and jewelry. It’s unquestionably an urban hipster’s dream: there are more grandpa sweaters and fantastically-patterned shirts than you can shake a stick at. Nothing that I saw cost more than $40, and the jewelry in the front case was almost ridiculously cheap. (Namely gorgeous glittering rings that could have at one time been engagement rings, which were priced at $2 each.) The crates of records, wall of shoes, and overabundance of brightly-framed glasses were admirable.
Courage My Love
14 Kensington Ave.
This Kensington Market store has the best selection of accessories, bar none. The display cases by the cash register hold an assortment of stunning rings (my personal favourites were a collection of skull rings, and my friend picked out a mohawk head and a pyramid), and several hundred gorgeous necklaces and earrings. If you’re not satisfied there, make your own at the jewelry bar across the aisle. And in the back section gemstone rings are sold for $2 each. Their collection of hats and ridiculous masks are great for costumes.
House of Vintage
1239 Queen St. W
Situated in Parkdale (right across from The Public Butter), House of Vintage is another great stop for anyone new to vintage shopping. The boutique has its clothes arranged by type (coats, dresses, shirts, and jeans are all sectioned off), and has several recognizable labels within its racks. Their men’s section is also well-stocked. Unlike the other stores, House of Vintage lacks in jewelry, but it more than makes up for it with an abundance of shoes and warm knit toques. The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful, and the prices are reasonable for what you’re getting. (A Ralph Lauren polo sweater from the 1980s only cost me $35.)
(This was for the February issue of the Ryerson Free Press. You can find more pictures in this post.)