Club Monaco

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The Find: 13 pairs of sweatpants you’ll be proud to sport in public

The Find: stylish sweatpants you'll be proud to sport in public (and maybe even to work)

When summer draws to a close, it can be tough to transition from comfortable cottage wear to high-powered city attire. Luckily, fall’s sweatpants are much more stylish than the baggy Roots joggers in your closet. They’re also versatile, so choosing comfort doesn’t have to mean staying cooped up at home; instead, wear a tapered grey pant to lunch with tough booties, or pair one of the fancier styles (we’re looking at you, Balmain lounge pants) with pumps and a button-down for a work-appropriate look. Here, 13 of our favourite fashionable sweatpants, including affordable chambray cargos and perfectly patterned Philip Lim bottoms.

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Mall Wars: Yorkdale vs. Sherway: Inside the big-bucks battle for our disposable income

Mall Wars: Yorkdale vs. Sherway: Inside the big-bucks battle for our disposable income

(Photographs: Yorkdale courtesy of Yorkdale; Sherway courtesy of Sherway Gardens)

In the era of e-tail, Yorkdale and Sherway Gardens, two of Toronto’s chi-chiest cathedrals of consumption, are preparing for battle. They’re undergoing colossal renos, dropping huge wads of cash and amping up the pamper factor in an effort to coax us off the couch and back into their stores. Here’s how the projects stack up.

the spend

Yorkdale: $331 million to add 298,000 square feet to the existing 1.6 million over two years.
Sherway: $335 million to add 210,000 square feet to the existing 988,000 over three and a half years.

winner: sherway

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The Find: pretty pastel clothing and accessories to take you from winter to spring

We’re pining for spring weather—and spring clothing. Luckily, seasonal shopping starts early this year: pastel colours were a trend in the winter and they’re going to continue to be this spring. With some clever styling (read: tights and sweaters), you can wear many of the tempting new garments in stores now, even though there’s still snow on the ground. Below, we round up our favourite candy-hued items from around the city.

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Best Dressed

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What to wear on Valentine’s Day: three slick looks for the fellas

We understand why guys feel stressed about Valentine’s Day. They’re expected to find the perfect gift, plan a romantic night and look devilishly handsome—like, Ryan Gosling devilishly handsome—all the while. To help with the latter, we put together three easy-to-assemble Valentine’s Day outfits that range from breezy-night-at-the-bar attire (hint: don’t go to a pub, especially one with a name that ends in Firkin) to the right duds for a fancy evening of fine-dining, whispered words and maybe even more.

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Stores

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GALLERY: Yorkdale reveals its flashy new expansion

Yorkdale Shopping Centre’s swanky 145,000-square-foot expansion opens today, marking the next phase in the North Toronto mega-mall’s quest to corner the upscale market (a fancy food court already opened in June). Among the 30-odd new or expanded stores are the first Canadian installations of Loft (the younger, hipper label from Ann Taylor), Ted Baker London and Kate Spade New York, as well as Microsoft’s first-ever retail location outside the U.S. The suburban mall’s ability to draw buzzy retailers from abroad suggests its upmarket strategy is working.

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SPOTTED: Yorkdale’s “fashion truck” selling clothes at Front and Bay

Yorkdale Shopping Centre’s massive expansion will open on Friday, and it’s celebrating by parking a “fashion truck”  outside the Royal Bank Plaza on Front Street today and tomorrow. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both days, the truck will sell merchandise from some of the mall’s incoming brands, including Kate Spade New York, Ted Baker London and Loft, as well as items from Ann Taylor, Club Monaco, Diesel, Holt Renfrew, Microsoft and The North Face. Sure, the stunt is a blatant attempt to capitalize on Toronto’s fervour for food trucks, but hey, it could save downtowners the lengthy subway ride up to Lawrence Heights.

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Introducing: Ann Taylor at the Eaton Centre, the first international store from the women’s office-wear brand

Women’s office-wear retailers are battling it out on the third floor of the Eaton Centre: international chains J.Crew and Massimo Dutti both recently opened outposts there, and U.S. retailer Ann Taylor launched its first international store along the same corridor early last month (that’s in addition to the existing Club Monaco and Banana Republic locations). Ann Taylor is generally thought to be stodgier than the other two new brands, which probably compete more directly with its more casual spinoff, Ann Taylor Loft. However, the the well-constructed suits, separates, accessories and shoes are hipper—and the clientele younger—than its reputation would suggest.

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Yorkdale Mall announces its expansion is almost complete, proves it is not the Yorkdale Mall of yesterday

Yorkdale made a big announcement today, sharing the news that its planned 145,000-square-foot expansion will be completed by Nov. 15. Among the 30 stores set to open are Ted Baker London, Kate Spade New York, Tesla Motors, Ann Taylor, Diesel, Wilfred Boutique, The North Face, an exclusive Rolex boutique at Raffi Jewellers, and Ta-ze and Joey restaurants. Holt Renfrew, Lacoste and Club Monaco will move to  larger locations within the expansion, and Loft will open in late 2012. The transformation of Yorkdale is a bit shocking—it has gone from an average mall with an Orange Julius and a Rainforest Café to the glistening, Vegas-like gauntlet of high-end shops we know today. What’s next: a roller coaster and an aquarium?

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Tommy Ton launches his Club Monaco collaboration in New York with Nick Wooster, Mickey Boardman and more

The Tommy Ton bag launch at Club Monaco in New York (Image: Mark Iantosca)

Last night at the Club Monaco flagship store in New York City, Toronto-based street style photographer Tommy Ton threw a party for his new bag collaboration alongside a gallery of some of his now-famous street style photos. Many of his favourite subjects attended, including Moda Operandi’s Taylor Tomasi Hill, Park and Bond’s Jared Flint, Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine, and Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman’s Nick Wooster, and guests sipped cocktails whilst jumping wildly, dancing like robots and phantom punching each other in front of the onsite photobooth. Ton was just in town to see Rad Hourani’s fall/winter 2012 show, so it is safe to say that this man never sleeps.

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Club Monaco will be opening its online shop to Canada soon

Model with a Tommy Ton for Club Monaco bag (Image: Club Monaco)

After sleepless nights spent trying in vain to find anything other than pictures of a white button-down and some khakis on Club Monaco’s website, our prayers have been answered: the Joe Mimran–founded chain has announced its expansion into online retail, with the U.S. web store launching March 26 and the Canadian one following suit on April 11. (Our prayers had it the other way around, but we’ll take what we can get.) The embrace of Web 2.0 doesn’t stop there: fans of the Facebook page get a head start on the shopping on March 23 in the U.S. and April 10 in Canada. At least on the Internet there’s no danger of getting socked in the eye over a Tommy Ton bag.

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Tommy Ton teams up with Club Monaco to sell bags (and oddly, not shoes)

It was recently announced that Tommy Ton from Jak&Jil blog (oh, and GQ photographer and host of fashion parties) has teamed up with Club Monaco to produce a women’s messenger bag and a men’s backpack to debut during New York Fashion Week. The retailer will gift the bags to a select few of Ton’s favourite street style subjects (though we can’t exactly picture Anna Dello Russo carrying such a quiet messenger bag) to be shot during NYFW, with a gallery show of Ton’s shots on March 20 in its New York City Fifth Avenue flagship. On the same day, the bags, priced between $198 and $225, will arrive at the Bloor Street store in Toronto, just days after the city’s own fashion week—dubbed Canadian Catwalk—comes to a close. Which Torontonian fashion plate will be the first to be spotted with one?

Club Monaco, Blogger Tommy Ton Partner on Bags [WWD]

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Introducing: The Men’s Shop at Club Monaco, Bloor Street’s answer to “what if I don’t want to shop at Harry Rosen?”

Club Monaco’s Men’s Shop, 157 Bloor St. W. (Images: Kevin Naulls)

The place: Club Monaco has launched its new menswear section at the iconic Bloor Street location. The stairs down are lined with real books with the spines facing inwards and a tough rope banister (watch your hands, we got a little scratched up), leading to a study that looks like something Hemingway would feel right at home in—rough hewn-wood floors, nautical ropes and classic menswear abound.

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A Continuous Lean’s Michael Williams and Club Monaco’s Aaron Levine are changing Club Monaco’s image

Aaron Levine and Michael Williams (Image: Kevin Naulls)

We just popped into the new men’s shop at Club Monaco, the first of its kind in the world (we’re number one!), with an expected opening in New York next fall (they’re number two!). Launching in Toronto is an effort on Club Monaco’s part to reconnect with the history of the brand (it was Canadian once) as it attempts to reintroduce itself to women and men in North America. It’s a slow build, but A Continuous Lean’s Michael Williams and menswear designer Aaron Levine say the beauty of having carte blanche to define the clientele is that they can pick what they like and go with it. They chose Wolverine and Mark McNairy footwear, Tanner Goods products and more, not because that is necessarily what every man is after, but because they just liked the product (they’re even carrying Canadian brand Aether). They used the same philosophy when working with the design team to create the men’s shop on Bloor Street and achieved a men’s club vibe using vintage pieces that were sourced from “all over the place.”

Not only is it the launch of the shop, but Club Monaco has also introduced the Made In America collaboration with Williams, which includes a variety of suiting, shirting (oxfords, plaid) and blazers. We asked him how the brand was handling the criticism that it is an American-focused collection for a once-Canadian brand, and he said, “We’ve noticed the criticism, but there are still people who appreciate it. We’ve created things that we think men will like, and these prices aren’t what you’d expect.” He and Levine also said that there are early rumblings of working more closely with Canada on future projects, but that’s as much as they could reveal at this time. As for what defines men’s style in Toronto, Williams says “there really isn’t anything” and that “it is very much like New York, Europe and Tokyo—there is no longer this requirement to live in a major city to develop style, because we can access information from wherever we are.”

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Club Monaco likes men—a lot—beginning this October

Toronto dudes disappointed with the news that the city’s first J. Crew store will be ladies only should be happy to learn that Club Monaco has opted to do something for those oh-so hard-done-by fellas, much like Ben Sherman’s latest “let’s hear it for the boy” endeavour. The store’s flagship locations on Bloor Street and in New York City’s Flatiron District will retool their men’s sections this October, partnering with Michael Williams—founder of the popular menswear blog A Continuous Lean—to bring in brands like Wolverine footwear, Archival Clothing, Cunningham Classic Sports Equipment and more. Pop-up shops and brands aligning themselves with bloggers aren’t new concepts by any stretch of the imagination, but thanks in part to Club Monaco and A Continuous Lean, this city is soon going to be rolling in Japanese selvage and military tarp–lined, um, everything

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The Bay vs. Holts: the Bay’s scheme to steal the fashion crown from Holts

The sensible shoes and twin–sets are gone, replaced by stilettos and crystal-encrusted gowns. There’s valet parking and personal shoppers, and they’re serving champagne up on three. It’s all part of the Bay’s scheme to win the loyalty of society shopaholics—and steal the fashion crown from Holts

(Image: George Pimentel)

One evening last March, Toronto’s stylish set put on their best frocks and headed to a retail baptism. Sarah Jessica Parker, celebrity high priestess of fashion, was in town to launch the Halston Heritage label at The Bay. The party, which reportedly cost over $200,000, was meant to establish Canada’s oldest department store as a major player in high-end womenswear. If retailers can be born again, this was The Bay’s moment to lean back and dip its head into the holy water.

Fashion media and socialites were ushered into the Queen Street flagship store and up the escalator to sip champagne on the third floor. That’s where The Room is located. The upscale designer dress salon was renovated a year ago for approximately $4.4 million in a high modernist style by the designers Yabu Pushelberg. The result is a treasure trove of conversation piece baubles, heels, flirty cocktail dresses and gowns by some of the most prestigious designers in the business. It’s the beating heart of the new Bay.

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