Toronto Life - The Goods

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Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap 2012: 14 fashion finds

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Fashion

Studio Biba
2583 Yonge St., 416-921-6780
It used to be considered a travel bag, but over the past couple of years, Longchamp’s iconic Le Pliage nylon tote has become an everyday standard—celeb fans include Pippa Middleton, Katie Holmes and Rachel McAdams. Studio Biba at Yonge and Eglinton offers a deal on the sturdy, chic shoulder bag, selling it in a range of colours and sizes for as low as $99.

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Fashion

Act Two
565 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416-487-2486
If you want to dodge both an ethical land mine and an astronomical Visa bill, vintage fur is the way to go. Inga Welsman, at her Mount Pleasant consign­ment shop, sells luxur­ious mink, lynx and fox on the cheap. A sumptuous full-length espresso-brown Birger Christensen mink coat in mint condition is a steal at $1,400 (it would have sold originally for 10 times that price), and a sleek, sandy ermine goes for about $400. Adorable rust-coloured mink capelets and stoles ($100 to $200) recall Izzy Camilleri’s recent runway looks.

Lorne’s Coats
101 Spadina Ave., 416-596-1058
A sweeping full-length coat is the logical complement to the season’s maxi-dress. Plus, it brings a touch of drama to drab winter months. Lorne’s,
a fashion district mainstay, carries a number of options in every colour and silhouette, such as military style, A-line and fit-and-flare. A 100 per cent cashmere camel belted trench from Cinzia Rocca is marked down to $745 (the line sells for $1,000 to $1,600 at Bergdorf’s and Bloomingdale’s), while in-house styles stitched from Italian cashmere-angora blends run between $300 and $400.

Vintage couture
Thrill of the Find
1172 Queen St. E., 416-461-9313
In Mireille Watson’s tiny shop in Leslieville, high-end labels like Chanel and Givenchy are marked down by as much as 80 per cent. Among the treasures: a beautifully draped Jacques Heim couture cocktail dress from the late ’50s ($425), a wool Christian Dior suit from the ’40s ($300) and Hermès and Schiaparelli silk scarves ($100 to $200). Don’t miss the back room, where Watson keeps some of her hidden gems, like a ’60s mint-green column gown by Roger Frères for $325 and majestic Pauline Trigère coats for under $300.

Line Knitwear Sample Sale
15 Apex Rd., 416-929-3300
John Muscat and Jennifer Wells’ luxe pieces, woven from custom wool blends, are the most stylish knits in town—cable tunics, crocheted dresses and colour-blocked wraps are as cozy as they are sophisticated. Line usually sells for around $150 to $350, but sample sales from parent company PYA Importer every November and May offer up to 90 per cent off retail. Sign up at to get notified of future sale dates.

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Fashion

Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 3401 Dufferin St., 416-787-5022
Don’t expect the urban woodsman to forgo his flannel—or shave his beard—anytime soon. The still-fashionable look embodies the artisanal predilections of our age. It’s also surprisingly pricy to get just right. Fortunately, B2 can help get him off on the right foot; these vintage-look leather work boots are a dead ringer for the hipster-prized, Minnesota-based Red Wing footwear—at two thirds the price. $168.

Sports coat
62 Bathurst St., 416-260-9696
Retro patterns and textures—velvet, corduroy, tweed—are enjoying a revival, but this season’s plaid wool model by Gotstyle, with its distinctly contemporary cut and lining, will fit in at a King West dance club, and it costs half the price of the designer equivalents on York­ville’s racks. Okay, it looks a lot like your grandfather’s jacket, but did your grandfather don blue suede elbow patches? $595.

314 Adelaide St. E., 416-815-7770
Finally: your dodgeball team can get the uniform it has always wanted. The print and embroidery company Artik offers 100 per cent cotton jersey short-sleeved American Apparel T-shirts on which you can have any custom design or logo printed. Buy a minimum of 12 and get shirts in a variety of colours for $14.85 each. The more you buy, the cheaper they get: 500 shirts are less than 10 bucks each.

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Fashion

1 Bloor St. W., 416-922-6173
This throwback shirting store is the elder statesman of Bloor Street: a stalwart purveyor of fedoras, plaid scarves and umbrellas. But head downstairs and it’s a fluorescent-lit cornucopia of winter jackets, the peacoat chief among them. Look for the store’s Canada-made house brand, which offers a cashmere-wool-blend coat that’s surprisingly slim and modern fitting. At $695, it’s already a hell of a bargain for a cashmere jacket, but come ready to buy and there’s usually a deal to be made.

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Fashion

New Balance Toronto
1510 Yonge St., 416-962-8662
When you’re shopping for shoes, it helps to have a cursory knowledge of brand pedigree. PF Flyers—part of the Converse-led retro sneaker trend, but more handsome and less ubiquitous—are a subsidiary of running shoe giant New Balance. That means the best place to find them is the NB store, where the black high-top versions are regularly as cheap as anywhere else in the city. And because they’re coming straight from the source, old versions are liable to go on sale faster and more frequently than anywhere else. $80.

Merino tights
Precious Creations
341 Spadina Ave., 416-593-0297
The tights-as-pants movement just won’t die. In the name of fashion, women of all ages forgo the comfort of jeans or cords even in winter, thighs separated from the biting wind only by a thin layer of nylon. Enter merino wool tights—hardly a revelation, but sure to keep your legs cozy. Precious Creations, a small Chinatown boutique, sells Mondor tights for a good $10 less per pair than you’ll find anywhere in Yorkville. $24.

Ski wear
Sporting Life
2901 Bayview Ave., 647-788-3580
A good ski jacket can cost as much as—or more than—a pair of skis. For a less expensive alternative, check out Sporting Life’s Bayview Village location, which is home to an impressive array of cast-offs and holdovers from previous seasons, all marked down by as much as 70 per cent. (And really, the multicoloured waterproof shells characteristic of the sport don’t change all that much from year to year.) Because it’s still Sporting Life at heart, they’re all top-of-the-line models from brands like The North Face, Spyder and Descente, never used and only marginally dated. A Descente jacket, originally priced at $840, goes for $335.

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Fashion

Leather gloves
Rudsak Sample Sale
141 Tycos Dr.
There are two things one should never buy retail: toilet paper and leather goods. For the latter, Rudsak is one of Canada’s best designers, especially when it comes to gloves. Wait for one of Rudsak’s two annual sample sales, where everything is upwards of 70 per cent off. It’s worth suffering cold fingers this winter if it means holding out for a deal this good in the spring. Sign up for an invitation at

Where to Get Good Stuff Cheap | Fashion

A-line dress
863 Queen St. W., 647-351-0724
While runways are dominated by heavily structured shifts, asymmetrical cut-outs and drop-waisted caftans, the traditional A-line remains the more practical choice. The Toronto designer Philip Sparks’s micro-check cotton shirt-dress, complete with waist-cinching belt, is universally flattering and as good for the office as it is for a dinner date. On sale for $495, it’s as cheap as it is versatile.

By Andrew D’Cruz, Matthew Hague, Rachel Heinrichs, Emily Landau, David Lawrason, Jason McBride, Mark Pupo, Peter Saltsman and Courtney Shea. (Images: Liam Mogan, except boot and glove)

  • Catherine

    Exactly what universe is this? Wasn’t this titled ‘Where to Get Stuff CHEAP?’ Oh, right – in Toronto Life’s fairyland, $500 is considered ‘affordable’. I’d laugh, but the energy expenditure probably isn’t worth it. Seriously, though, it’s sad that a once-serious magazine is now simply about catering to a moneyed readership that can pull in the big advertisers. Unfortunate that so much time and energy goes into putting together what’s ostensibly a catalogue.

  • lola

    Let’s see. We have a $1,400 fur coat, a $695 coat and a $495 dress. You’re right! that is soooooo cheap! (insert eye roll here)

  • Candace

    Classic TO Life pretentious article. Cheap Stollerys? Oxymoron of the year.

  • Steven Wong

    B2 at the Yorkdale Mall is neither cheap, or some secret find.

    While Toronto Life was once a pretentious joke, your ‘tastemakers’ have eliminated the pretension and really focused on being a complete joke.

    Come back John MacFarlane and save this sinking ship.

  • sil

    Seriously? $495 considered cheap? Seriously?? Have you heard of this thing called … a recession? It’s been on since 2008. Some people in Toronto are affected by it. When you find a killer dress that goes for thirty bucks, then you can seriously publish “Where to find good stuff cheap.”

    I shake my head at you, Toronto Life. I shake my head.

  • hmmm

    All of you are absolutely right, but you should know that TO Life has always been geared for the well-heeled. The problem with that is it could not survive as a magazine for very long.
    With a title like Toronto Life, one would think it’s for everyone and that’s the image it is trying to convey but not quite successful at doing.

  • British

    @Sil: I agree with you to a point; being single parent, I am far from being a clothes horse, and very frugal at spending my money, my wardrobe only consist of a few quality pieces, but my clothes are clothes that I have had hanging up for the last eight – years in my closet.

    This online mag has allowed me to look for higher quality items, that are on sale; which in my opinion beats the regular shops that makes me realise, I will not look like everyone else on the subway or shopping mall.

    Now is a great time to utilize such articles, as a guide for buying great you I would not by that item for $495.

    I purchased a scarf at Holt Renfrew at Bloor for $20.00 dollars two years ago, and I think it was a good buy; I have not worn it yet out, but I will during the end of winter coming spring.

    They had excellent quality gloves for $50.00 dollars, but I did not purchase a pair; will probably go back at the end of the month, to see if the item has been further reduced.

  • y2jasmine

    I thought this was an article about CHEAP finds? I think the only thing in this entire article I can afford is the tights!

  • JR

    The only thing cheap in Stollerys is the interior.

  • seraph

    The point is “good stuff” cheap. Which means, you can buy tons of disposable, China-made, rags at H&M or you can be like me- not wealthy by any means but at an age when quality and longevity trumps quantity. If I can get a well-made, fairly unique (or low-produced) high quality item at more than 50% of its original cost, I consider that a good deal. I would rather spend $400 on a fabulous coat worth twice that much than buy an ill-fitting, poorly made one for under $100.

  • Basil

    Thanks for the laugh Toronto Life. Good stuff cheap…that should carry me through to 5 o’clock.

  • Cynthia

    I’ve always loved Toronto Life magazine, and “Good Stuff Cheap” was like a present I couldn’t wait to open. Sadly, this is no longer the case. I certainly can’t afford any of the products you have deemed “cheap”. Who is writing this section, and who are they writing it for? Certainly not for me, a life long Torontonian.

  • Karen

    This is INFURIATING! HOW IS A $495 DRESS CHEAP? How out of touch is the editorial staff on this site? I demand a do-over! Who’s with me?

  • ChaCha

    It’s not the magazine’s fault yall are poor.

  • shirley

    I have to agree with Catherine re Get stuff Cheap; I don’t live in Forest Hill or Leaside. I guess if you’re single and earn over $100k a year then this is for you.

  • sam

    This has to be the dumbest article I’ve ever read.

  • dellezza

    I agree with everyone who see this as a joke!! This is far from affordable. Lola’s comment matches perfectly with my thoughts. No wonder people in the city have to walk around pretending they are rich…..our own “Toronto Life” promotes it.

  • ThisCommentWasHideenDueToLowRating

    Apparently Toronto Life is written and edited by an elite bunch of queens who think they are all that. I say that because A. As a gay man, 75% of the community under 50 acts like beligerent teens and pretends the world revolves on how good they look~ so to them anything under $100 would be considered a kitchy flea market expense. Take them out of their element and they are defensive and socially retarded and B.I have seen some of the ugliest embelage here and the only reason it is expensive is because of whose name is sewn in, Fashion is a joke that this world really has to rethink when it comes to values and priorities. No wonder people from third world nations get treated with such disrespect CLOTHES do not make the man ~ A contributing useful member of society who gives a rat’s ass about humanity as opposed to what shmata they can afford is what MKES THE MAN!…no wonder mag. scripts are low people have lost all concept and ideals for the almighty buck.

  • queenofpsych

    I seriously can’t believe I wasted my time reading this ridiculous article. I was excited to find it since the title really caught my attention. I was hoping to find some cute little stores that sold designer clothes at reasonable prices (similar to Winner’s!). Spending $1000 on a coat and $500 on a dress is NOT cheap. Are you out of your mind? Like the other poster mentioned, when you find an awesome designer dress for $30 THEN write an article. Otherwise, please don’t waste our time with your ridiculous nonsense.

  • Sumit

    you are such a moron. Since when a $695 peacot is cheap. you sound like an illegitimate child of donald trump.

  • The market queen

    Cheap stuff that is laughable for the rich.
    Those items are hideous