If copying the trendy teen queen look of Paris Hilton isn’t “hot” for you and you’re over telling everyone that, yes, that great new leopard-print bag came from WINNERS, take heed of Toronto-stylist Lea-Anne Baxter’s latest style suggestions. From old-school to new-wave, these boutiques will give you what your wardrobe craves — A fresh fashion start!

“There’s a great strip on Dundas Street West between Bellwoods and Claremont full of great little shops.”

Head to Skirt (903 Dundas Street West, 647-436-3357 ) where you will find a terrific selection of none other than, well, skirts. This New York style boutique boasts hard to find lines like Toronto’s Passenger Pigeon and lace-edged street wear by Montreal’s Eve Gravel. While these ribbon and embroidered skirts may appear vintage, they are all new from top Canadian designers including Ronda B, Frances Felt and Anaura.

Just down the block at 913 Dundas Street West visit Georgie Bolesworth (416-703-7625), run by a local Toronto stylist. Here you will find an excellent selection of homegrown talent including Mercy (amazing vintage-inspired belts!), Lydia K, Plush, Heart Felt, Veronique Miljkovitch and Kirsten Bond. Also noteworthy (and pocket-book friendly) is their jewelry offerings from some very saavy locals: Shannon Hazell and Courage My Love’s CeCe Scriver.

Got your eye on a new pair of sartorial specs? Stop by Spectacle at 752 Queen Street West (416-603-0123, www.spectacle-eyewear.com) where you’ll find yourself navigating your way through over 1300 different models – some brands not carried by any other retailer in Canada. You could spend hours looking through the wide selection of Tom Ford, Ic! Berlin, Paul Smith and Mosley Tribes.

Moving north, L’Elegante in Yorkville (132 Cumberland Street, 416-923-3220) is a consignment store where you have to do some rummaging but some notable finds such as Prada, Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander, Max Mara and Sonia Rykiel have been scored here. Very worth the effort!

More local designer confections can be found at Virginia Johnson’s new store, Studio Gang (112A Ossington Avenue, 416-536-4264). Enjoy a fantastic selection of Johnson’s great summer cover-ups and shawls in awe-inspiring fabrics. Having worked previously for Helmut Lang and being available at retail giants Holt Renfrew and Barney’s, you must take a look at her her own selection of clothing, pillows and scarves. Johnson also carries Marimeko’s gorgeous screen-printed line of clothing.

Part of the fun in shopping is scoring pieces you hadn’t thought of in the first place. Sure, we all do the mass-splurge on the H&M’s and Gap’s of the world, but if you’re looking for stand-out fashion, take a walking trip around some of the neighbourhoods in your city. You never know what you may find! “I was at Terroni’s on Queen street one night,” says Baxter. “and I saw this waitress with the most adorable vintage dress. When I asked her where she got it, she told me about this place called “I Miss You” (63 Ossington St.) where Julie Yoo offers an incredible selection of vintage …. Louis Vuitton to Hermès. I didn’t even know it existed!” Birkin bag, anyone?

Check out our Vancouver Fashion Finds story here!