April 8, 2020

A Guide to Fashion in Toronto

Toronto is many things. It’s an international hub for business and finance. It’s a hotspot for arts and culture, and it’s also the birthplace for countless world-famous artists across multiple mediums. Sports, science, architecture, festivals, cuisine and so much more contribute to the richness of Ontario’s capital city. 

Given its culturally diverse population, it should come as no surprise that Toronto has a prominent fashion scene. Not only does the city host its own annual Fashion Weeks, but there is also a myriad of unique malls and boutiques that sartorial souls won’t be able to resist splurging on. 

But Toronto is far more than just a fashionable shopping destination. Dotted around the city are some trendy bars and restaurants that serve as the perfect place to show off your ensembles while hanging out with like-minded people. There is also a range of great exhibitions to check out. 

Eager to learn more? Read on for the ultimate guide to fashion in Toronto. 

When and Where

If you’re looking to get the most out of your trip to The Six, visiting during the semi-annual Toronto Fashion Week is probably your best bet. It’s the largest fashion event in the country, drawing tens of thousands of guests from around the world, including some of the biggest names in fashion.

Toronto Fashion Week always takes place in Yorkville on Hazelton and Yorkville Avenue. The fall/winter show is held in February, while spring/summer collections are shown off in September. Of course, you’ll want to save some of your travel budget for shopping, so it pays to find affordable ways of getting to the city. 

Before you book a flight, be sure to find an airline that offers the best prices, as this will make up the bulk of your travel expenses. Porter Airlines is a leading option for flying to Toronto, with a premium service that includes free snacks and comfy leather seating. And, thanks to their frequent flyer program, you can save even more on each flight. 

Speaking of shopping, let’s take a look at the best places for fashion lovers to shop in Toronto. 

Queen Street

Queen and nearby Yonge and Spadina streets are home to a range of great chain retailers, as well as some fashion stores unique to the area. This includes the famous Saks Fifth Avenue, where you can pick up some stylish jewelry, handbags and footwear. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit the strip between Gladstone and Bathurst.

This stretch of road earned the accolade of the “second coolest neighborhood in the world” from Vogue. In the same area are a range of boutique and vintage stores that are surrounded by great food and drink outlets to take a break at. Be sure to pay the aptly named Drake General Store a visit for some gifts, before stopping at 69Vintage for a classic shirt. 

Another local brand in the area that’s worth checking out is Frances Watson, which sells everything from bags and belts to jeans and jumpers, all at reasonable price points. 

Bloor-Yorkville

If you’re looking to splurge a little, then the famous “Mink Mile” in Bloor Street is the place to be. Here you’ll find designer retailers including the likes of Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci. It’s not only the names you’re familiar with that make the street famous though, as the multi-floor department retailer, Holt Renfrew, is also here. 

There are a range of unique lifestyle brands in the Yorkville area, many of which can be found at Yorkville Village shopping center. Some smaller specialty boutiques worth browsing can be found on the cobblestone streets of Yorkville and Cumberland Avenue, while the nearby Capsule is the go-to option for trendy streetwear pieces. 

Kensington

In a city that is constantly evolving, the vibrant neighborhood of Kensington has managed to maintain its unique identity. Almost every shop and restaurant in the area is distinctly artistic, with an emphasis on out-of-the-box thinking. This includes the popular Kensington Market, which is a must-visit if you’re into all things vintage. 

If you’re on a budget or you’re just feeling thrifty, then head over to Sub Rosa Vintage for some equally affordable and unique items of clothing. Once your ensemble is complete, make a stop at Courage My Love to discover a wide range of trinkets from around the world, including some beautiful pieces of jewelry. 

Feeling peckish? Listed below are the top spots in Toronto for fashion lovers to eat, drink and socialize. 

Portland Variety

Pay this cafe a visit during the day and you’ll inevitably run into some of the city’s well-known bloggers, influencers and photographers enjoying the weekday brunch menu and snapping pictures for the gram. Come sundown, Portland Variety turns into an ambient restaurant with a lively social vibe that’s worth dressing up for. 

Frings

Famous for getting its name from none other than the 6God himself, Frings is known for more than just being Drake’s preferred place to feast. Its clubby vibe and classy dinner menu attracts some of Toronto’s most stylish citizens, and rest-assured that chef Susur Lee’s dishes will have you leaving wanting more. 

Colette Grand Café

Part restaurant and bar, part outdoor terrace and Parisian-inspired cafe, this chic and classy get-together spot is an ideal location to flaunt your latest ensemble. Not only that, but their sophisticated French menu is loaded with delicious treats to keep you satisfied during your shopping adventures.

Byblos

Located in downtown Toronto, Byblos is an Eastern Mediterranean restaurant that focuses on hearty, family-style meals. With a classy ambiance and colorful plates filled with modern dishes made of local ingredients, Byblos is the perfect place to dress your best for. 

So, once your taste buds have been spoiled by Toronto’s top chefs, where do you go next? Well, you’ll be glad to know that the city’s fashion lovers tend to have a few preferred spots to congregate. 

Where to Hang Out

Start by paying a visit to Apt.200 on Queen West, where you’ll find plenty of people sipping drinks and dressing to impress. Resembling an upscale house party, Apt.200 is adorned with arcade games, pool tables, chandeliers and more drink varieties than your kidneys could ever handle. 

From here, it’s worth paying a visit to Toronto’s Fashion District, where you’ll find the famous Addison’s Residence. This is another home-inspired venue where the modish like to flock. You’ll find plenty of other great bars and lounges in the area, including the stylish rooftop views of Lavelle, and the delicious cocktails offered at Thompson Lobby Bar. 

Noteworthy Places

Of course, that’s not all Toronto has to offer. If your interests lie more in the rich history of fashion, the city offers a few places worth checking out. This includes the Bata Shoe Museum, which houses an unusual collection of footwear where every piece has a story to tell. It’s a stunning display of what society chooses to put on its feet. 

The Royal Ontario Museum is another great spot to check out, as it’s where you’ll find the Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume. Finally, the Textile Museum of Canada in downtown Toronto offers free tours on Sunday, making it a great way to end your tour. 

Conclusion

If you’re into fashion, then Toronto is clearly a must-visit destination. Get ready to feast your eyes on pieces you’ll never see elsewhere, and spoil your taste buds on delicious treats while meeting and greeting the city’s diverse population of fashion lovers.

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