Indie Guide to Toronto: Vintage Shopping and Asian Bargaining

Where to Shop for Second Hand & Affordable Clothes in Toronto

I'm not really a shopping freak, but when I have a little money that hasn't dissipated on flights and cheap sushi here is where I shop around the city. What I'm about to describe to you will be no surprise to Torontonians but is super useful for foreigners looking for vintage shopping and Asian bargaining with a slim wallet. This is not the most exhaustive list and everyone has their gems, but here is just a couple I'm into.

In this article I've tried to show you a bit of my style before you go rushing to the places I recommend! My look is dynamic but one thing I am a sucker for is the idea of juxtaposition in fashion. I love girly pieces buuutt only if I wear it with ripped tights or a leather bomber. I like to make my outfits pretty yet bad-ass because personally, I am a bit of a Tomboy and I've always hated feeling too much like a girl! Of course there are times when we all like looking classy rather than assy. The places I have recommended are as diverse as the style you see in the pics!

Lastly, I know it's hard shopping in developed countries especially after the amazing markets in Bangkok and experiencing the wonders and ruthlessness of Hong Kong.  However, it is possible to get things for pretty cheap here too with a little luck and knowledge which I will provide for you! Good luck!

 Who Gives  about an Oxford Comma?

Vintage Jacket: $10 CAD + tax at Black Market on Queen Street West
Nude Lace Shirt: $5 CAD tax included Pacific Mall
Vintage Grey Shorts: unfortunately not from Toronto. Check out the Indie Guide to Thailand for shopping at Chatachak Market. Best place in Bangkok.

Mes Lunnettes

Original Frames: After bargaining $200 CAD Consumer Optical
Consumer Optical, College and Bathurst: This place is a self-proclaimed gem. I found it out of pure chance when visiting my doctor at College and Bathurst and went into the shop while waiting for my appointment. The area and the clientele sort of resembled Eugene Levys and senile Woody Allens, so I knew the glasses would be great. I wasn't looking for designer frames but just old people ones. It's run by a crooked old Indian man who will try to rip you off. Bargain hard and don't accept the price you see. I think he knows somewhat the trendy clientele he attracts for his unique frames so he overcharges for glasses that are not even designer! The good thing about not getting designer frames is that not every two people on the hipstreet will have it! Yay! 474 College Street

For Guys

90's Vintage Fluo Jacket: $10 CAD Black Market
Black Market, Queen Street West: I thought everyone knew about this place but apparently it is still a bit of a mystery for some (you know who you are)! Go here for men and women's vintage shopping. Sometimes it can be almost as expensive as an H&M ($20 and up) but as with any vintage, you can get really quality pieces for much cheaper. However, there are many instances when it has store-wide $10 sales. Here, I bought a whole array of beautiful and classy jackets and blazers, the high waist shorts and a beautiful leather purse. For men, Paul who was visiting from France bought vintage Adidas jackets (think Ben Stiller in Royal Tenenbaums), and that bright 90's number you saw on me. There are two locations and they are across the street. Go to the upstairs Black Market for shoes and accessories and the large one in the basement for everything. Jean Jackets, blazers, purses, shoes, dresses, jackets: they have it all.

Kensington Market: Walk down Kensington Ave. and you will find a whole plethora of vintage shops. It tends to not be as cheap nor have outrageous sales as Black Market, but there is much more selection. I've found that if you pay in cash you might be able to bargain the tax off.

69 Vintage: Men and Women's clothing. Attached to Social Club. Have friends who will swear by the shoes they got there.

Vintage 1, Queen and Ossington:  There are a couple of cool vintage shops in this area. I haven't been in this one myself but the clothes for ladies look pretty rad. Based on the area, I'm not sure how cheap it will be though. 190 Ossington Ave.

CTS, Queen and Spadina: Good shoes selection, funky stock and well organized in the season's latest trends. Had a bit of trouble finding things my size (thus why I miss Asia), but still one of my new favs to scope out when I'm in the hood. The grissley looking Aussie who works there is pretty cool too.

Fashion Crimes, Queen and Spadina: Don't be deterred by the cheesy Glam decor at the front of the store, this formal dress shop has amazingly designed dresses ranging from $100-900 CAD. Come here for hip, sexy, prom, gala, bar mitzvah dresses and you can be sure no one else will have the same dress. You can have your dress design put off the racks so that no one else can buy it. The service is for a price obviously, but still cool nonetheless. I got my prom dress here and was about to buy one bad-ass pop-glam dress here for Sciences-Po Gala.

Fabric and Buttons, Queen and Spadina: SO MANY BUTTONS. Make all your outfits better than they were and for so cheap. New obsession forming.

Pacific Mall, Scarborough: This is my favourite place to shop and is the only good thing about living in Scarborough. I get most of my clothing when not abroad at this shopping Mecca. Same clothing you can get from Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea and Japan but much more expensive (relatively). Rather than paying a dollar for awesome pieces you pay anywhere from $5-40, and if you're getting clothing from Tokyo it is not cheap at all (minimum $100 for anything).  This place is more than just cool clothing, you should go there for the experience. I'm willing to bet that this is better than the Chinatown in your Occidental city because it actually feels similar to being in Asia. It's amazing culturally as well, with great food, arcades and best of all BARGAINING. Tips: Don't pay taxes if you pay in cash and always ask for lower. It's not HK so don't be too aggressive but have fun. You can get fake DVDs, Naruto costumes and everything illegal. It's great fun albeit far from the downtown core. Nonetheless if you have wheels, I definitely recommend making the trip to Scarborough (suburb of Toronto). Take subway to Kennedy Station and Bus Midland 57 all the way to end of line. On Steeles you will go West and will see it.

This is my humble list that has gotten me far. Please add your suggestions so I and all other visitors/inhabitants of T Dizzle can bask in your shopping expertise!

Chillin' in Toronto? See Also...

Eating Cool for Cheap

Electro and Indie Clubs

Bars and Music Venues

Oxford Comma- Vampire Weekend.mp3


  1. hmm.... On seeing your photos, I thought that you are doing a lot fun there.

  2. Thanks Felicia, I am definitely going to check out black market!! ... as for my expertise... Eye of Shiva in Kensington and of course: Courage my Love!

  3. L.O.V.E the yellow high-waist shorts!!!! so cool!!!

  4. you've got some growing up to do kid....


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