Holiday Cheer in Toronto—Vintage Shopping

As an undergrad at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, I would often make the 4-hour drive to Toronto for the sole purpose of finding vintage winter coats and dress clothes. Toronto has an astounding number of vintage shops, more than 50 just in the city center. It might seem like an unlikely shopping destination, but it’s as important to fashion insiders as London, Paris, and Milan. The city is a major hub on the used-clothing circuit, both because of the number of warehouses for space and its location as a shipping access point. Prices can range from $20 for a blouse to $1500 for a 1920s art deco dress. 

What sets these Toronto vintage shops apart is their boutique atmosphere. Yesterday afternoon, I ventured out with Wendy Woods, an image consultant (something we all need) who specializes in vintage shopping. We started at The Cat’s Meow in Yorkville, known for their designer wear, and then headed to Kensington Market and their bargain-basement priced shops like the longtime hub, Courage My Love. But it wasn’t until we hit Cabaret on Queen Street West that I struck gold. I was looking for a black blazer, but Wendy was having better luck finding a red turn-of-last-century hunting jacket. Then I headed downstairs to the Men’s section, Kingpin, which has the look of a speakeasy, and found a black dinner jacket, Italian-made and hand-stitched that originally sold at Barney’s. I tried on the coat and it fit like a glove. 
Thank you, Toronto, for a helluva week and a helluva souvenir. I can’t wait to come back with the family next summer to see the pandas at the Toronto Zoo and visit the new aquarium.