When it comes to retail, appealing to a single gender seems like a daunting task enough. Although there is a ton of truth to the saying “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” there are nonetheless a select group of stores who seem to have mastered the art of pleasing both sexes.
Whether it’s due to stunning style or outstanding service, Toronto is full of great places to browse the latest trends. Having combed the city for stores offering memorable shopping environments that are able to serve the needs of both the guys and gals, here are 15 Unisex Fashion Retailers from Toronto You Should Know About.
The name Canon Blanc has its roots in the rich history of the French Revolution, perfectly suited to owners Mateo and Caroline’s pursuit of bringing the Parisian way of life to downtown Toronto. With a cute boutique feel and interior furnishings seemingly teleported directly from a Paris apartment, this Queen West shop offers elegance and luxury without the snobby attitude that it is often associated with.
Just like a European shopping trip, Canon Blanc comes with a bit of an extravagant price tag. Nonetheless the cost is well worth it for the exclusive hand-made collections and an addicting shopping experience which will have you stopping by to browse on the regular.
Stocking a balanced mix of men’s and women’s apparel, Deluxe Boutique on Queen is full of mid to high-end fashion gems. Owner and buyer Kasha ensures a good mix of international brands as well as everything from casual designer jeans to European men’s suits.
Between hosting pop-ups and overcoming fire damage back in 2010, Deluxe definitely has proven they’ve earned their spot in one of Toronto’s trendiest neighborhoods.
If the name didn’t already tip you off Dutil has one core focus – denim! However, unlike many other specialty retailers when Dutil says they do denim, they really mean it.Owner Eric shares his love for the “durability, diversity and timelessness” of denim with locations in both Toronto and Vancouver which carry literally nothing other than apparel created from this celebrated fabric.
Hosting a massive collection of designer jeans along with exclusive collaborations from some of the top denim brands around the world, there are literally hundreds of options to choose from at Dutil. Thankfully the attentive staff has tried them all, more than happy to give tips on fit and of course fill you in on the dreaded “stretch factor”.
The Future of Frances Watson
Those who haven’t heard of The Future of Frances Watson might be questioning the long and cumbersome name while at the same time wondering what on earth a shop with this bizarre a title would carry. Thankfully for those of you who fall into this category you are only a few words away from the answers to both these nagging questions.
The name was inspired by owners Meghann and Kerry’s grandmothers in combination with a whimsical mural painted on the shop’s wall. The inventory is predominantly aimed at the guys (not to say it isn’t a worthwhile stop for us ladies!) carrying labels including Naked and Famous, Cheap Monday, and JF & Son – just to name a few.
Jacflash is one of those stores with an edge. Walking in you can’t help but get the feeling that this season’s obsession with studs, skulls, and spikes was right up their alley long before it became a mainstream fashion trend. Seemingly 100’s of brand names are scattered about the shop alongside a drool-worthy selection of accessories and footwear.
Albeit a tad expensive, next time you’re in need of some animal print, metal trimmings, or just street style meets haute-couture retail therapy, head over to Jacflash and get rock-and-roll glammed by owner Jaclyn Genovese.
The gallery-like space at Jonathan+Olivia is the perfect backdrop for their curated selection from the top notch designer collections like 3.1 Phillip Lim, Rag & Bone, and Our Legacy. The merchandise definitely airs on the casual side (minus the casual prices), and makes for a great place to find classic pieces and wardrobe staples that will last you far longer than just a few seasons.
Between trunk shows, in store events, exhibits, and even exclusive catwalks with Topshop, owner Jackie O’Brien thankfully still manages to find time to bring all her love for West Coast style to us fashion addicts in Toronto.
First debuting on queen street back in 2006, Lavish&Squalor has become the place to go for young urban fashion. Focused on providing enough brand diversity and style to create a total look that’s all your own, their two floors of retail space really does provide a fabulous selection.
Instead of splitting men’s and women’s between the two levels as you might typically expect, the upper loft-like space (a.k.a The White Lodge) has been dedicated to a more luxurious and high-end shopping experience. Complete with antique furnishings, unique housewares, exclusive merchandise, and even espresso, as owners Anne and Sandro put it, “Once you’ve shopped at Lavish&Squalor, you’ve shopped better.”
Leigh & Harlow
Walking into Leigh & Harlow is like walking into brand name heaven, no doubt appropriate for a store that has been named after Hollywood legends Vivian Leigh and Jean Harlow. Mixing a good assortment of premium denim from names like Paige, Joe’s, and Hudson, alongside fashion forward lines like Chaser, and UK’s Traffic People, the shop has become a destination for those far beyond the Queen West community.
Most of the items are casual and sometimes a tad costly, but regular sales and generous markdowns usually means you can walk away with a purchase in hand without draining your bank account.
As one of the first concept shops to make its mark in Toronto, Lileo quickly became known for its unique pieces and contemporary fashion. As part emporium, part gallery, and part event space, Toronto’s historical Distillery District is the perfect setting for what Canadian style icon Jeanne Becker calls “an art gallery for fashion lovers”.
As many of us Torontonians already know the Distillery can be pretty pricey, and there is no doubt the same is true at Lileo. Nonetheless, even if that gorgeous sweater is miles beyond your budget the stunning interior design, merchandising, and health conscious snack bar still makes an innocent browse completely worthwhile!
With everything you need to go from day to night, Naked Red is about as trendy as it’s Liberty Village location. If you’ve ever stopped by, it should be no surprise to learn that owner Daniela Rella comes by her passion for fashion honestly. Raised by an Italian wedding dressmaker, Daniela knows quality when she sees it.
With a resident stylist on board to give tips and tricks for those who really want to “step up their game”, Naked Red is worth the hike West in the city for their great mix of Canadian brands and international designer labels.
Over the Rainbow
Over the Rainbow has been a Yorkville staple since 1975 with their colorful neon sign and memorable Boxing Day sales which bring shopping chaos and a line up that trails right down the stairs into the street. Dedicated first and foremost to premium denim, their huge selection hits you the second you walk in the door. A full wall of cubbies stacked high with designer jeans seems overwhelming until one of the sales associates gets a handle on what you’re searching for and starts presenting options.
Although you might have popped in just for that perfect pair of jeans, don’t be surprised if you walk out with a complete outfit. Always somehow making room for the next celebrity studded brand, Rainbow compliments their enormous denim assortment with lots of fun tees, hoodies, jackets, and luxury basics for both sexes.
The Philip Sparks clothing brand was first founded back in 2007, but as demand grew it wasn’t long until their vintage inspired clothing become so popular that an exclusive shop was opened in Toronto’s Ossington Village. Proudly Canadian, every item is made with quality fabrics and fine tailoring right on Canuk soil.
Offering a nostalgic feel with “contemporary sensibility”, Philip Sparks has everything from fun dresses to sharp blazers as well as leather handbags, footwear, and accessories.
Not only does Room 2046 offer both clothing and fashion accessories for men and women, this concept shop goes miles further to house a design studio, coffee shop, as well as books, furniture, and housewares all under one roof. When it comes to this Summerhill neighborhood retailer it seems anything goes – as long as it’s got gorgeous design that is.
Probably one of the biggest and most well-know unisex stores in Toronto, all of TNT’s various locations in Hazelton Lanes and on Eglinton are chalk full of designer goodies. As most seasoned shoppers already know, TNT has quite the reputation for big ticket prices and a haughty clientele.
Nonetheless there is no disputing it, TNT knows fashion. With one of the widest assortments available and names including Alexander Wang, Mui Mui, and Comme Des Garcons this really is the place to come for some serious wardrobe consultation. Between serving A-listers and always being the first the receive stock of the hottest fashion items, one can start to understand how TNT is able to within minutes max our credit cards and still have us begging for more.
Featured on BlogTO as one of the best new fashion stores of 2011, Woodlawn Boutique is indeed a fantastic addition to the up and coming Dundas West shopping district. Dedicated to simplicity and a functional lifestyle, this boutique certainly isn’t one for “fancy-shmansy” décor or lavish additions.
Whether you’re looking for some new options for shopping with your significant other or just want to absorb more of Toronto’s awesome fashion, these 15 multi-targeted shopping environments should be at the top of your list to browse.
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