Where to shop in Toronto without breaking the bank

I realized that in almost every one of my posts, I’ve talked about looking stylish without spending a lot of money. I’ve mentioned certain garments and where I got them, but never actually shared where I love to shop. Although Toronto is a hotspot for brand names (we have a Saks and Nordstrom here now!) there are many hidden gems for those of us who aren’t bathing in gold. Through my years of shopping in Toronto, here are my top places to go to for looking bougie on a budget.

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Non-excessive ways to get your fall fashion started early

The season of pumpkin spice is near! Also known as sweater weather or Halloween time. However, the transition from late summer to early autumn can be an awkward time. In Toronto, fall fashions are hitting the shelves while afternoons can still be stifling. Summer’s not quite over, but at the same time, I can’t wait to unleash my inner Morticia Addams. If you’ve had enough of summer, here are some little things I’ve been doing to jump start my fall style without having to switch out my whole wardrobe.

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My favorite (and surprisingly frugal) ootd’s for work

Dressing for work in a creative environment is challenging. I work at a hair and beauty store in Toronto’s financial district, so what I wear is pretty monumental to the job. When I first started, they told me to “dress like you’re going on a first date”, which really confused me. First, I haven’t been on a first date in ages since I’m in a committed relationship. Also, I’m the type of person who’d show up to a first date in a sack to see their reaction. After days of going in under-dressed or over-dressed, I finally found a good balance. These are my top three ootd’s, hopefully those of you in similar jobs can get some inspo!

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A fashion student’s secrets to looking fabulous in the simplest outfits

There’s a saying at Ryerson about how you can always tell us fashion students apart from the general crowd. I guess you can call it the fashion vibe. You know when you see someone on the street and think “wow, they look good” even though they’re in jeans and a t-shirt? We’d get complimented on our everyday outfits and whenever we say, “thank you, I study fashion,” the response would be “I had a feeling you do!” So this week, I’m betraying my creed by giving away all of our secrets. Just kidding! But I will share with you my tips on how to look effortlessly put together.

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The old and new- Modern day fashion trends from My Fair Lady

This week’s post is another tribute to the past since I am such a fashion history junkie. If you have not seen the 1964 Film of My Fair Lady, featuring Audrey Hepburn, you’re seriously missing out. In the Edwardian London, Professor Higgins (a rich, but tactless phonetics expert), makes a bet that he can turn Eliza Doolittle (a young woman selling flowers with a strong Cockney accent) into a proper English speaking lady. The two get to work on Eliza being able to pass off as a duchess at the Embassy Ball. It’s witty, comedic, and it will tug your heartstrings. And not to mention the costumes! Oh god, the flamboyant, stunning, ornate costumes!! I can’t event begin to describe them! *ahem* Anyways, here are some modern day fashion trends that I find reminiscent of My Fair Lady. 

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Making cheap outfits look expensive

Coming from an immigrant family, I grew up very frugal. It wasn’t until middle school when my family started shopping for clothes in actual stores, and even then, we’d only go to cheaper places like Winner’s and Urban Planet (they were pretty ghetto back in the day). So that’s how I’ve become the type of person who thinks $20 for a top is steep. However, I learned that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to look put together. Here are some Holy Grail tips passed from one fashionista to another on how to look fabulous for cheap.

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Styling challenge – one dress, five ways

Recently, I’ve done a styling challenge where I put together some outfits with clothes I haven’t worn often. Not only was it super fun, but it seems like you guys quite enjoyed it! Since I’m all about creativity with what you already own, here’s another styling challenge. This time I’ll be working with a little black dress (the timeless essential of Coco Chanel). For each look, I will be using only accessories and black shoes to change it up. Psst, I got my LBD for about $13 from Forever XXI about four years ago and it’s been one of my trust wardrobe savers.

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To splurge or to save – what I invest in and what I cheap out on

We all have moments when we fall in love with a totally rad garment…until we see the price tag. Yes, I’m talking about those times when we question if $60 for this top is worth it. It’s about investment pieces nowadays. Meanwhile, our inner hoarders will try to convince us that everything is worth investing in. Over the years (and tons of trial and error), I’ve come to make peace with my inner clothing goblin. Here is my wardrobe spending guide- aka. when to splurge and when to save

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Keys Learned from Coco Chanel – My Fashion Hero

As a lover of Fashion History, it’s in my blood to be inspired by designers of the past as well as the present. Earlier, I’ve written about a groundbreaking designer, Rei Kawabuko. This week is a tribute to one of the fairy godmothers of fashion Coco Chanel. Gabrielle Chanel was truly a timeless woman. What she stood for a century ago remains relevant today! As I always say, fashion is not just about clothes. It is expression, art, ideals, and philosophy. It shapes not just our bodies, but how we interact with the world. Here are four keys to live by that every creative lady can learn from Coco Chanel. Continue reading “Keys Learned from Coco Chanel – My Fashion Hero”

Outfit Challenge – Styling 3 Underloved Garments

It looks like summer is here to stay in Toronto at last! Goodbye three seasons in one day and hello warm weather clothes. Judging by the looks of my wardrobe, it’s quite a tornado’s hit. But it has a system to it! All the cold weather clothes are shoved up on the shelf, blouses are hung on the left, and dresses hung on the right. Oh, and there are sections in the back where I exile clothes I don’t wear often but don’t have the heart to get rid of. We all have those clothes we buy thinking “omg this is totally fetch“….and a week later, we realize fetch isn’t gonna happen. (At least you tried, Gretch) Anyways, I decided to flex my styling muscles and show these forgotten garments some love!  Continue reading “Outfit Challenge – Styling 3 Underloved Garments”