Dunning set to open at Yonge and Eglinton this week

Dunning set to open at Yonge and Eglinton this week

Colourful polos at the new Dunning store (Photo by Karon Liu) 

When it comes to sportswear, designer Ralph Dunning figured out that not all men want to pay a premium to look like a walking NASCAR vehicle. So in 2001, the Torontonian, who competed in the Iron Man competition last month (Craig Alexander took the crown), started a line that combines Brooks Brothers’ country club aesthetic with Nike-like technology at prices that rival, if not beat, those at the mall.

Inside the cozy, no-fuss store at Yonge and Eglinton, where a technician is setting up a record player, woven shirts in sensible stripes and easy-to-match greens and blues are made with a sweat-wicking fabric and come in slim and traditional fits. They go for $78, and the limited-edition styles (only 100 are produced) are $98. Pair those with a pair of wool pants ($98) or Italian cashmere-wool blend trousers in charcoal houndstooth or check pattern for $148, and then finish the look with a Dunny collegiate pullover for $58.

“We thought it was important to open this shop because the options are really limited for men here,” says Dunning, who worked in the music business before entering fashion in the ’90s. “If you wanted to buy a pair of quality dress pants, you had to go to the more high-end stores and spend $300.”

Downstairs is devoted to golf and athletic wear. Thankfully, these golf shirts have a more tailored fit, unlike the ubiquitous golf shirts synonymous with blousing and sleeves that reach past the elbow. Also worth noting is that even though the brand’s Varsity D crest logo is sure to entice nostalgic 40-somethings and private school wannabes, Dunning knows that not everyone likes logos, so he also created options for the minimalist. Pointing to the black T-shirt he’s wearing, he says, “Not everyone wants a logo. It’s made in Canada and it’s $20. Where else can you find something like this?”

Although the store isn’t set to open for another week, curious passersby are already window shopping and even coming into the store hoping to snatch up a polo or three.

Dunning opens Nov. 14 at 2514 Yonge St. (at Eglinton), dunningsportswear.com.