LOOKCITY: Hunting Through The Ten Very Best Vintage & Thrift Stores In Vancouver

by Robyn Yager | I have a soft spot for thrifted and consigned clothing items. There’s just nothing that compares to the thrill of sorting through what appears to be junk and discovering the treasures within. I can safely say that I’m addicted to the hunt. Read on for my picks of the top thrift, consignment, and vintage stores in the city. In no particular order, they are… Read more

Cool Thing We Want #412: Sweet Tentacle Ring By “Octopus Me”

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This ring by Etsy artist OctopusMe was “made from a real octopus tentacle [that was] drilled, carved, shaped and cast in sterling silver.” It totally sucks, which is to say it’s rad and we want it ($185 USD).

The Shopaholiblog: “Favourite” Plays Favourites For Christmas

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Even for those who love hitting stores, December can feel daunting. Since we’re down with making things run as smoothly as possible for our readers, we thought it would be a good idea to seek out a few key and kickass Vancouver retailers who are in the know and ask for some directions, because even the most hardened getters-of-things done could use a compass in the yule maelstrom. We’re calling their contributions The Shopaholiblog (because it’s a fun word to say).

To start off, we’ve picked Carol Hyslop’s brain. Carol owns Favourite, a fantastic little shop tucked away on the top floor of Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. There you’ll find handmade, small-run gifts and accessories created by local and Canadian artists and designers – the very same sort of stuff you dig.

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We Get Our French Underwear In The Mail

December 20, 2008 

Yesterday I was all about the spa gift certificate, but today my attentions have been swayed elsewhere. Don’t misunderstand, a spa gift certificate is a good gift to give. It’s an awesome gift, really. A divine and delicious gift, to be sure. But there is another option. A sexier option. And that option is a new Vancouver company called Panty By Post.

“Panty By Post is like a panty-of-the-month club, except that the panties are beautiful, high-quality, and French.”

Panties are thoughtfully selected each season (from an established, family-owned lingerie company in Montreal) for their quality, style and sexiness. You can send a Sexy Single ($28), a Sultry Six ($128) or make a real statement with The Commitment (12 pair for $188) and Panty by Post will send you their selections of the month (way better than opening the phone bill).

The smile that 12 new pairs of knickers in the post box will put on my her face is like no other. Trust me on that. But whoa – before you get carried away – I would recommend that you take a moment to consider precisely who on your Christmas list deserves French undies. Stick to safe relationships. Boyfriend to girlfriend or girlfriend to girlfriend = cool. As a token of thanks to your kid’s Kindergarten teacher or for your auntie with the forehead mole and Watchtower subscription: maybe not.

I’m thinking of ordering some for myself (you know, for research).

Check it out at www.pantybypost.com

Clothing Crush: After Coffee On Fourth Ave

Perfect day. Sent the kids to school and then headed over to Kitsilano for some solo time. After a stroll along the beach and a hike up Yew, I earned my double baked almond croissant and latté and sat down for a late morning meeting at 49th Parallel before loosening my laces for a wander around Fourth Avenue.

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My first detour was to Beauty Bar. Despite the knowledgeable and friendly service, I didn’t find the lipstick I was looking for, but I did splurge on a bottle of Clean hair fragrance. It was a more affordable $55 alternative to the bottle of perfume that I really wanted but couldn’t stomach at $120.

Lululemon – just across the street from 49th Parallel – had some new stock that I wanted to check out. There is always one new colour that you can’t live without: right now I love the ‘Ivy’ lulu remix hoodie. But I resisted adding another hoodie to my already massive collection and bought a pair of much needed socks instead. For the record: Lululemon makes great ankle socks.

Next, I headed to Wear Else? to check out shoes. I grew up in Kits, and this opened when I was a kid. My mom shopped there on occasion, and I loved going in there with her. I remember that I couldn’t wait to be a grown up whenever I was in that store. When I went in today it was just as elegant as ever. I adore it, but it can be a little intimidating in its sophistication. There were lots of nice shoes but I was distracted by a black cocktail dress ($450) that I was dying to try on. In the end I chickened out, wary of drawing attention to myself by asking for a changing room. I always feel vaguely as if someone is going to stop me and ask me where my mother is.

the "Audrey Hepburn" coat at Spank

Back down the hill, I fell for a Soia & Kyo coat in the window at Spank. I stuck my head in to ask how much it was and the sales girl said “Oh, the Audrey Hepburn one?” Nice move – pulling the Hepburn card. Yup – it was perfect, and $359. It was an angel and devil on the shoulder moment, and I’m too embarrassed to say what happened next.

Poked around Moule for a while – gathering Christmas present ideas. I saw a few things in the home section that would make lovely gifts. I couldn’t help but gawk at the gorgeous Laura Zindel ceramics with the bug patterns (great stuff) and then drifted toward the women’s clothing section. The clothes at Moule are at the edge of my price range, but they are gorgeous and always unique. They are the kind of clothes that have to be tried on rather than assessed on the hanger, and so I donned a few cute dresses. Sigh.

I am always on the hunt for new music so I went in to Zulu to buy Yeasayer (based on a recent Scout suggestion by Jen Mayer) and quickly lost myself, moving from one section to the next. Before I knew it I had a great big exciting stack of new music. Typically me, I put most of it back and scribbled down a “to buy” list to come back with after Christmas.

I’ve been a Blundstone girl ever since I first traveled to Australia, so I took a quick whirl around the Australian Boot Company store. The thing about these boots is that they last forever and the ones I am wearing right now don’t need replacing, six years later. I did pick up some boot polish and drooled over a pair of suede ones (not literally – that could mark the suede) that I’ll be adding to my wish list.

And then my brief furlough came to an end and back home and to the kids I went, a little bit poorer but feeling a lot richer.

Clothing Crush

Clothes crush: the red Sessun coat at Eugene Choo

Clothes crush: the red Sessun coat at Eugene Choo

I haven’t always liked shopping. I’ve no idea what changed, or when it changed, but there you have it. Much to surprise of my friends and family (and the terror of my husband), I have become a shopper. To be totally upfront, it’s more “window shopping” than actual shopping, like cruising the bar rather than committing to one guy. Not because I’m afraid of commitment – I just can’t afford it. So I develop clothing-crushes.

On a recent wander down Main Street a few things caught my eye:

Narcissist

Dresses at Narcissist are not cheap – but they are sexy and comfortable and (this is where I try to justify my purchase) they are versatile. By versatile I don’t mean you can dress them up with a pair of heels and down with flats (which, of course, you can). These dresses can actually be worn in several different ways – creating several different dresses.

My favourite for fall is the Pamela dress in teal ($194). It can be modified into at least seven different styles. $194 isn’t cheap but by my reckoning it’s only 27.70 per dress. See?

Smoking Lily

I first fell for Smoking Lily years back while living in Victoria. The funky clothing line occupies possibly the world’s smallest store front (a tiny closet-like space on lower Johnson Street). The Main Street store here in Vancouver is much more spacious, and every bit as cool. Every season, in addition to the one or two t-shirts I pick up, I try to add a cute Smoking Lily skirt or jacket to my wardrobe. The screen printed designs are quirky and playful and bring a little bit of balance to my sometimes conservative style (I am a librarian after all). This season I hope to buy the D.C. skirt (the one with the fish appliqué is my fave). Price tag: $112

Eugene Choo

I try to buy local when I can, but the beautiful red Sessun coat (imported from France) at Eugene Choo is pretty hard to resist. Eugene Choo carries several local designers, so I’d rationalise it thusly: by supporting proprietor Kildare Curtis I’d be supporting someone who sells local product. In a round-about way, I’m still supporting local designers, right? Not to worry, though, as there’s not a chance I could possibly afford it ($325).

But man, is it ever lovely…