Where to shop in West Queen West
Travel far enough west and Queen Street is still the city’s best bet for artistically minded shoppers sniffing out rare goods.
The Public Butter
The bargains at this artsy offshoot of veteran vintage hawker Black Market—Levi’s, Wranglers, leather bombers, ’70s and ’80s handbags and oddball accessories—are well worth an afternoon of hunting among the patchouli-scented stock. 1290 Queen St. W., 416-535-4343.
This slick space is home to the slightly avant-garde designs of Toronto’s Sonja den Elzen, whose men’s and women’s clothing—easily wearable for work or play—is made with organic fabrics and fair-trade labour. 1156 Queen St. W., 647-435-4880.
Ministry of the Interior
Already a decor destination for moneyed design nerds looking to hipify their loft-slash-gallery, this year-and-a-half-old shop specializes in edgy furniture (a Castor table, for example), lighting (Jason Miller’s antler chandeliers) and accessories (a cast resin banana bowl from Harry Allen). 80 Ossington Ave., 416-533-6684.
I Miss You
This Ossington boutique, with its beautiful displays and clothes curated by colour, is not the typical second-hand store dive. Perfectly preserved haute couture gowns at jaw-dropping prices, $40 disco dresses and such gorgeous accessories as beaded purses and pillbox hats make I Miss You the city’s best stop for vintage formalwear. 63 Ossington Ave., Unit K, 416-916-7021.
The first major international brand to venture this far west (other than Starbucks), the Brit label, named after the 1930s Wimbledon champ, offers polos, cardigans and tennis skirts. Playing the sport is optional. 964 Queen St. W., 416-538-3733.
Customized, Toronto-made furnishings are the draw here. The style is slick, right-angled and modern, yet comfortable. Douglas fir, hot-rolled steel and leather are the materials of choice. 938 Queen St. W., 416-534-4343.
Out of his wee white space, the Project Runway Canada mentor and veteran Toronto womenswear designer does a brisk business in sexy tailored suits and luxurious evening gowns. 878 Queen St. W., 416-516-7188.
Housed inside the Chocolate Factory lofts is Fawn, a sweet boutique specializing in understated clothing with staying power. Sourcing from New York and Tokyo, owner Kasha Bilobram also carries a thoughtful selection of vintage accessories and Swedish denim. 967 Queen St. W., 647-344-4703.
The pleasantly cluttered spot next door to Fawn is a jackpot of brightly coloured mid-century treats, like portable radios. Streamlined plastic chairs and other iconic finds from the ’50s and ’60s share space with old-school kitchen accessories. 965 Queen St. W., 416-912-2358.
The beloved line of reconstructed vintage wear has brought its loyal following and clever styling to its new, post-fire home. Second-hand clothes are repurposed in ingenious ways: old trenches become sleek strapless dresses; men’s dress shirts are reincarnated as adorable halter tops. 881 Queen St. W., 416-504-8704.
The store’s sparse set-up belies an abundance of stylish duds for men. Pricey sportswear labels, including Belstaff, Buzz Rickson and Sugar Cane Jeans, are mixed with militaria, second-hand clothing and the store’s own jeans, made from vintage denim. 694 Queen St. W., 647-436-6628.