Toronto Life - The Goods

A compendium of the latest store openings, hottest parties and runway shows and all the buzzy fashion gossip. Sign up for the Style newsletter for weekly updates

The Goods

Shopping

Comments

Mother’s Day Gift Guide: 27 pretty (and practical) presents that blow bouquets out of the water

mothers-day-gift-guide-intro

Attention, kids: Mother’s Day is May 10 (yes, that’s next Sunday), and presenting the person who gave you life with a handmade card or macaroni necklace lost its cute appeal 20 years ago. Of course, moms are wired to say spending time together is the ultimate gift, but that doesn’t mean she won’t appreciate semi-precious stones, pretty prints or intoxicating scents. On top of taking mom out for the mandatory brunch, we recommend browsing our gallery of gorgeous gifts for something matriarch-worthy. Here, 27 presents that are guaranteed to get a great reaction, and maybe even some (happy) tears.

The Goods

Stores

1 Comment

There’s a new spot on Queen West for chic shades that won’t break the bank

baileynelson

Aussie import Bailey Nelson has arrived on Queen West, bringing its brand of stylish, mid-range specs and shades to Toronto shoppers. Originally an online-only venture (it’s still simple to order from the web if you can’t make it to the shop), this is the company’s second location in Canada (Vancouver had the first). In a world where there seems to be zero middle ground between $20 cheapies and expensive designer frames, the company’s fairly priced prescription glasses, sunglasses and polarised lenses are something we can get behind. Compared to neighbouring stores (especially Cutler and Gross, whose sunglasses go for upwards of $400), Bailey Nelson’s frames are a relative bargain at around $145. Plus, they come in super-chic styles: customers can choose from retro-glam looks, Lennon-inspired lenses or a range of rectangular classics. We recommend ditching last season’s popular tortoiseshell pattern in favour of a bold burnt orange or rich mahogany.

387 Queen St. W., 647-346-0387, baileynelson.ca

The Goods

Shopping

Comments

Pop-Up Pick: shop Preloved’s reclaimed vintage pieces in person

pop-up-pick-preloved

(Images: Ian Martins)

Before Preloved closed its Queen West flagship at the beginning of last year, the neighbourhood fixture had made a name for itself by transforming tired, second-hand clothing into colourful, on-trend collections. The indie boutique is now online-only, but this week the team is going back to their retail roots and hosting a four-day pop-up in Cabbagetown where shoppers will have the chance to browse the brand’s one-of-a-kind pieces in person. The temporary shop will be selling Preloved’s newest collection, which consists of playful prints, dreamy dresses and plenty of patchwork sweaters. Everything will be priced under $100, with most items falling somewhere between $30 and $70. “It’ll be a great chance for fans old and new to come out and touch, feel and try on the new pieces,” says founder Julia Grieve. One of our favourite items is this patterned skort, which comes in a range of prints and proves there’s still hope for Hawaiian shirts.

Th-Sa 12-7, Su 12-5. Apr. 30-May 3, 555 Parliament St., getpreloved.com

The Goods

Shopping

Comments

The Find: ten flamboyant finishing touches for modern-day dandies


the-find-flair-game

The new male primping regiment goes way beyond statement socks—it includes enough swank accessories to out-glam Beyoncé. All over Toronto, bow ties are becoming bolder, cufflinks are getting quirkier and lapels are popping with day-glo rosettes and feathered pins (like these ones from Hook and Furl). Here, ten flamboyant finishing touches for the city’s snappy dressers.

The Goods

Street Style

1 Comment

Street Style: 10 trend-defying looks from FAT, Toronto’s alternative fashion week

street-style-fat-toronto

(Images: Jenna Marie Wakani)

This week, Fashion Art Toronto (or FAT, as it’s known by industry insiders), has taken over Daniels Spectrum with its annual festival devoted to fashion’s experimental side. In addition to runway shows from avant-garde designers like Project Runway winner Evan Biddell (whose latest collection is inspired by androgynous cyborgs and galactic beings), the week-long event also showcases art installations, photo and video exhibits and live performances. While Toronto Fashion Week tends to bring together socialites and magazine editors, FAT attracts a far more eclectic crowd of creatives. We saw artists, designers and students showing off a mixture of bold, futuristic looks combined with classic, vintage pieces. Here, 10 edgy outfits spotted outside Fashion Art Toronto.

The Goods

Stores

Comments

Store Guide: Brika, the curated craft site’s new Queen West flagship

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

Name: Brika
Sells: Handmade crafts
Contact info: 642 Queen St. W., brika.com
Hours: M-F 10-6, Sa 11-7, Su 12-6

Toronto-based retailer Brika has been selling handmade goods online for the past two years. After hosting a few successful pop-ups, the brand (Toronto’s own Etsy) has opened its first permanent storefront and headquarters on Queen West, showcasing a selection of the website’s top gifting ideas, home products and accessories. While the online store carries products from over 400 artists, the downtown shop will feature items from a rotation of about 50 makers.

Right now, the place is brimming with cute-yet-functional goods—ceramic honey pots, indigo scarves, durable aprons—from a range of North American artists. “We’re always looking for a fresh selection—we like to delight customers with things they won’t have seen at other boutiques in the city,” says co-founder Kena Paranjape. So, while shoppers will find locally made items like Biko jewellery or Nicole Tarasick’s YYZ throw pillows, they’ll also stumble upon more than a few new things, including hand-dyed purses from Portland or sweet-smelling apothecary products from Austin. There’s also a ton of one-of-a-kind children’s gifts, which should make the place a new go-to for baby shower attendees. Our favourite items are pretty, playful and not at all practical: there’s even something called a confetti push-pop (and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like).

The Goods

Stores

2 Comments

COS, H&M’s upscale sister store, is coming to Yorkville

(Image: Google Streetview)

(Image: Google Street View)

Style setters, rejoice: H&M’s upscale sister store COS is officially landing in Yorkville. The eight-year-old label, well-known in fashion circles for its Scandinavian minimalism and designer basics, is taking over the former Tiffany’s building on Bloor. (Burnac Corporation has kept the sought-after space empty since the jeweller moved out in 2013, waiting for the right tenant.) The store will open this fall, stocking the brand’s signature collections—typically a mixture of work-appropriate outfits and edgier, structured pieces—for men, women and kids. The current lineup consists of clean, simple items that play up interesting details: a short-sleeved denim coat, a hypnotic silk blazer or this pleated skirt, for instance. It’s got great stuff for guys, too, including sleek accessories like this leather satchel and bold cap. Prices are higher that what you’ll find at H&M, but you get what you pay for. Those not yet familiar with the brand can take a moment to browse its chic website or peep the store’s artsy magazine.

The Goods

Stores

Comments

Store Guide: Adorn, Rosedale’s new womenswear boutique that doubles as a jewellery shop

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

Name: Adorn
Sells: Womenswear, accessories and jewellery
Contact info: 1250 Yonge St., 416-901-7309, adornonyonge.com
Hours: M-Sa 11-6:30, Su 12-5

Mother-and-daughter duo Evelina and Barbara Kuczer are the ones behind Adorn, Rosedale’s newest womenswear boutique. The former nail salon has been transformed into a shop that carries the kind of bohemian basics, easy-to-wear work attire and delicate jewellery that will appeal to the neighbourhood’s moms and their teenage offspring.

“We wanted to bring in the kind of clothing and jewellery brands that are unique and not seen often,” says Evelina. For spring, this means Coachella-worthy fringed vests and tie-dyed frocks, alongside colourful silk scarves and printed wellies. The eclectic mix of labels includes Denmark-based Soaked in Luxury and Vancouver’s Gentle Fawn, as well more professional-looking lines from Inwear and Vince Camuto. So far, Sanctuary‘s tailored army-green cargo pants have been selling well (thanks in part to fan Jennifer Aniston). Our favourite part about the store, though, is a massive armoire filled with stackable silver rings, trendy ear climbers, amethyst bracelets and vintage lockets—all the jewellery needed to nail that minimalist pixie dream girl look.

The Goods

Stores

Comments

Corktown’s Far Away Eyes reopens as boutique (and tattoo parlour) Clara Obscura

(Image: Holly Blair)

(Image: Holly Blair)

Queen East has a new spot for buying whimsical merch and getting inked at the same time. Formerly known as Far Away Eyes, the tiny Corktown boutique has undergone extensive renos and has reopened as Clara Obscura. Owner Katelyn Joliat (along with her fiancé, who runs the shop’s tattoo parlour) almost doubled the size of the narrow space, making room for large selections of healing crystals, decorative antlers, butterfly taxidermy and intricate handmade dreamcatchers. Jewellery’s a big focus of the store, and shoppers can browse Joliat’s own label of sterling silver rings alongside these opal pieces from LA-based Unearthen Jewellery. Edgy T-shirts and tank tops from labels like Brooklyn-based Mary Meyers and The Wild Unknown round out the mix. Prices range from $5 for a bunch of sage all the way up to $400 for an artsy dreamcatcher. Joliat plans to use the new-and-improved space for more pop-ups, like the one she just hosted with Toronto online shop The Chic Canuck.

295 Queen St. E., 647-342-5852, instagram.com

The Goods

Shopping

Comments

Pop-Up Pick: Holt Renfrew’s latest in-store boutique celebrates all things Africa

(Images: Holt Renfrew)

(Images: Holt Renfrew)

For spring, Holt Renfrew has created a beautiful shop-within-a-shop dedicated to African culture and design. As the second edition of the store’s H Project, brand director Alexandra Weston and fashion designer Stella Jean travelled through the continent, visiting Maasai Mara, Nairobi and parts of Rwanda, collecting stories and artisanal finds from local communities along the way. The result is an in-store boutique packed with one-of-a-kind products and colourful collaborations that celebrate some of the vast and diverse region’s many local traditions. One of our favourite collections: a series of beautifully designed straw beach bags, aprons and elaborate chokers from the women behind jewellery label Dannijo, who worked directly with a local women’s organization in Rwanda. There’s also a selection of lightweight apparel, including handmade linen jumpsuits from Ethiopia and frocks printed on traditional Kenyan khanga cloth—all of which would make great additions to a summer wardrobe. And the pop-up offers items much more affordable than typical Holts merch: decorative baskets, bottles and bowls start around $60 and shoppers can snap up hand-carved bracelets from Namibia for $26.

Through spring. At Holt Renfrew Bloor and Yorkdale. holtrenfrew.com

The Goods

Street Style

Comments

Street Style: wishful thinkers sport shorts, crop tops and bare chests on the season’s first sorta-warm weekend

street-style-wishful-thinkers

(Images: Kayla Rocca)

This past weekend was pretty nice: the sun was shining, the wind lost its bite and temperatures soared to a balmy 18ºC. After the harsh winter we’ve had, Torontonians were itching to get outside and take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather. But as is typical of sun-starved Canadians, a few people got a little too excited. Wandering around Queen Street, we spotted premature shorts, crop tops and even a few bare chests. Here, some of Sunday’s most optimistic dressers.

The Goods

Stores

1 Comment

Kit and Ace is opening a big store on Bloor

(Image: Holly Blair)

(Image: Holly Blair)

Lululemon relative Kit and Ace is opening its second Toronto location on Bloor West, taking over the sizeable space previously home to United Colours of Benetton. The casual luxury brand (and purveyor of $90 T-shirts) opened its first Toronto store last year on Queen West, and has been expanding ever since. According to Retail Insider, the Vancouver-based company has plans to open no fewer than 15 stores in Canada in the coming months (on top of plenty more around the world). With its supper clubs, concerts and other events held regularly in-store, Kit and Ace is trying to reel in the young creative class. But the new flagship might be in a neighbourhood better suited to the brand—no matter how comfortable, soft or machine-washable its patented qemir fabric (a.k.a. “technical cashmere”) is, well-off Yorkvillers are probably more likely to drop hundreds of dollars on basic tees and tanks than Queen West’s toque-wearing crowd.

The Goods

Shopping

1 Comment

Pop-Up Pick: an all-Alexander Wang extravaganza at Jonathan and Olivia

(Images: Rock-it Promotions)

Ossington boutique Jonathan and Olivia is hosting the ultimate shopping event for Toronto’s Alexander Wang fans. On April 9, the New York–based designer (and creative director of Balenciaga) will pack the entire shop with his eponymous label, bringing in loads of new pieces for guys and girls from his spring and summer runway collections. Items from his upcoming fall collections and recently launched denim line will also be available for preview. Shoppers will be able to browse seasonal pieces, like this tied shirttail skirt, and visitors who spend over $250 on an item will receive a gift. On display will be a sneaker-themed installation (inspired by Wang’s spring runway collection), and Peroni reps will be serving beer for those who need a bit of liquid encouragement to drop $525 on a crocheted crop top.

April 9. 11-8. 49 Ossington Ave., 416-849-5956, jonathanandolivia.com

The Goods

Shopping

1 Comment

The Find: 10 pairs of rain boots to keep your feet fashionably dry this spring

(Images: Hunter, Gravity Pope)

(Images: Hunter, Gravity Pope)

Surviving spring’s spontaneous downpours doesn’t have to mean trading chic sneakers or flats for a pair of old wellies. This season, there are a ton of great waterproof boots—and wearing them won’t involve sacrificing personal style. Our favourite ones barely resemble traditional rain gear (some can even pass as regular footwear), and show off seasonal prints, minimalist designs and sturdy heels perfect for puddle stomping. Here, 10 of spring’s best boots that will keep your feet dry and stylish at the same time.