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The best vintage clothing stores in Toronto

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The best vintage stores in Toronto

You, Babe vintage boutique in Toronto. Image by: instagram.com/shopyoubabe Author: Liz Guber

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The best vintage clothing stores in Toronto

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Looking for your next great fashion score? You just might find it at one of Toronto’s many amazing vintage stores. 

My New Year's resolution this year was to first, not shop for four moths and second, to only buy vintage and second-hand once my shopping ban lifts at the end of April. But before you mentally applaud me for my impulse control and bravery, let me tell you that restricting my purchases to vintage is hardly a challenge. The first fashion purchase I ever made with my own after-school-job money was a ’70s marinière top, and I briefly worked at a vintage clothing and knick-knack shop in university. Why vintage? There's just something so earnest about an item with a past life, I get a kick out wearing pieces that were around before I was born.

Environmental benefits aside, buying vintage is also a great way to hit current trends (hello, ruffled blouses and high waist denim). I'm lucky enough to live in what I consider to be one the world's best cities for vintage shopping. Toronto's vintage scene is always growing (one of the stores on this list opened at the very end of 2016) and each shop has its own individual aesthetic and a perfectly calibrated mix of products, eras and trends. Here are the seven vintage stores you'll catch me visiting on any given weekend. Well, after April that is.
 


Penny Arcade 
 

This is often the first store I recommend when asked where I like to shop. The spacious, low-lit DuWest boutique has something for everyone, from moto jackets and mom jeans to designer LBDs. The owner, Rachel, has a talent for finding pieces that don't feel costume-y, and can easily be absorbed into a 2017 wardrobe.

Go if: Your style skews a bit more feminine or if you're shopping for a special occasion—the selection of party dresses is impressive.

1177 Dundas St. West, pennyarcadevintage.com.  
 
 
 

F as in Frank
 

Current obsession with ’90s logomania is proof that F as in Frank has been right all along. The Vancouver-based vintage seller stocks enough Tommy, CK and Adidas at its Toronto outpost to outfit a Fresh Prince re-boot in entirety. Head to the back of the store for some non-athleisure vintage goodness like spaghetti-strap mini-dresses and halter tops. 
 
Go if: You want a vintage store that doesn't take itself too seriously or if you love vintage jerseys. 

418 Queen Street West, fasinfrank.com

 


Chosen Vintage 
 

Chosen's product mix is a bit more eclectic and funky. Lurex, cowboy shirts and chunky platform shoes make up the selection. You might not find your staples here, but it's great for louder pieces and fun bits of nostalgia. Also: great belts and a menswear section! 

Go if: you love everything about ’90s fashion.  

1599 Dundas St W, Toronto, chosenvintage.com.
 
 


Life of Manek 
 

Stylist-turned-shop-owner Nicole Manek’s keen eye makes this boutique a must-visit for timeless vintage mixed in with new wardrobe staples. From handmade leather clutches to ridiculously fun jumpsuits, the selection is so on-point that it’s sometimes hard to tell the old from the new. 

Go if: You'd like a curated vintage shopping experience.

1504 Dundas Street West, lifeofmanek.com

 
 

Long HBC blanket coat $165 #torontovintage #queenwest #hbc #hudsonsbaycompany #pointblanket #vintagecoat #mamalovesyouvintage

A photo posted by Mama Loves You (@mamalovesyouvintage) on


Mama Loves You Vintage 
 

Billowing, embroidered blouses and kaftans at this Queen street boutique will bring out the boho side of the staunchest minimalists. In winter, the shop stocks killer outerwear and fisherman knits. Head to the back of the store to shop for pristine party dresses and luxurious silk robes.

Go if: You're looking for a statement piece that no one else will have.

541 Queen Street West, mamalovesyouvintage.com. 
 
 


Public Butter
 

Oh, Public Butter. My love for this store knows no shame. Yes, it's cluttered and a little intimidating, and a good 90% of the merch probably won't appeal to most, but I've found some real gems at this Parkdale shop. The best part? Almost everything costs $20 or less. 
 
Go if: You're all about the thrill of the hunt. 

1290 Queen Street West, publicbutter.com
 
 

A photo posted by you, babe (@shopyoubabe) on


You, Babe
 

Housed in a former record store, the newest store on this list is also the most contemporary. The pieces, like Levi's jeans and oatmeal coloured knits, are wearable, functional and feel current despite their age. You'll also find charming housewares and apothecary. 
 
Go if: You're on the hunt for basics and staple pieces with unique details. 

1611 Dundas Street West, instagram.com/shopyoubabe
 
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The best vintage clothing stores in Toronto