2.27.2013

Places We Love: Toronto's Best Vintage Stores - Dundas West, Ossington and Parkdale

Over the next few months On Crawford St. will be profiling Toronto's best vintage stores, by neighbourhood. To start, we'll be focusing on Dundas West, Ossington and Parkdale.
Vintage clothing is something that scares people. The term conjures visions of Value Village-esque stores, where racks are packed so tightly you have to spend hours picking through polyester suits from the 70’s to find a true gem. Luckily in Toronto there are a chosen few who know good vintage. Their eye for fashion and highly selective shops are like a paradise to those who know the real value of vintage clothing – like how a vintage Pucci mini-dress from the 1960’s can be the focus of entire conversations.

Dalston Grey is the perfect mix of vintage and contemporary. Leah Gust's charming boutique stocks a selection of vintage clothing that is hand-picked, aligning perfectly to current fashion trends. This is actually what I like best about Dalston Grey. At a time when many vintage stores are stocking pieces that sometimes make me shake my head in disbelief (no, I will not wear items that are ripped or stained), Dalston Grey's stock is fashionable and wearable. Dalston Grey also stocks contemporary lines like Gat Rimon and Amour Vert (among others), meaning you could very easily leave the store with a brand new outfit that is totally unique, and won't bankrupt you. Plus, the shop also has a men's section and stocks great accessories like shoes, jewellery and Bay Cooper Neckties.



Life of Manek
1504 Dundas Street West

Life of Manek is another beautifully curated (yes, curated) boutique on Dundas West that blends old and new. Mixed in with racks of brand new J Brand jeans are amazing vintage finds like a YSL Rive Gauche blazer, silk Gucci blouses and Marni coats, all at a reasonable price point. But what I love most about LOM is the amazing customer service. Every visit to LOM means attentive, friendly and helpful service. On my first visit manager Clara Gold went out of her way to help me find a stylish boot that comfortably fit my calf, going as far as looking through items that were not yet available for purchase. Life of Manek's winning service provides each customer with a stylist experience, virtually guaranteeing a loyal following.

63 Ossington Avenue

I Miss You has always been a favourite, thanks to its high-end designer goods. With an unbelievable selection of clothing, shoes and accessories, I Miss You is an alluring boutique. The store's front room is filled with contemporary pieces like Marc Jacobs or Tom Ford era Gucci, while the backroom is devoted entirely to true vintage pieces by Chanel, Dior and Pucci. The high quality items are always in impeccable condition, meaning a slightly higher price point. However, owner Julie Yoo does have a large portion of merchandise at prices that would thrill a more frugal fashionista. She also recently opened a new location of I Miss You at 1315 Dundas Street West that focuses exclusively on lower priced items from the 1960's to the 1990's.

Photo courtesy of http://torontotype.ca/house-of-vintage


House of Vintage was the first vintage boutique I ever visited, back when it was located near Queen and Portland. Now, years later and a move West to Parkdale, House of Vintage is still offering quality vintage clothing at fair prices. House of Vintage is an unpredictable mix of 80's designers like Halston and Bob Mackie. It's Upper East Side meets rock and roll, sprinkled with a bit of country. Every visit guarantees one that's different from the last because, at House of Vintage, stock moves quickly. The store is especially great for people who are new to vintage, as items are arranged by type and easy to sort through. Although their jewellery section is small, House of Vintage has an abundance of shoes and purses, with a large selection of vintage Frye boots and leather Coach bags.

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