Vogue recently named Queen Street West the second coolest neighbourhood in the world - which makes a lot of sense to us Torontonians. But hanging out in the second coolest neighbourhood in the world can have its disadvantages - especially if you're one of those students with empty wallets. But alas, there may be hope for those of you who shop with your heart and not with your brain. It's like eating with your eyes - but worse. Thankfully there are some stores on Queen Street that have your back.
It could be said that Spoof is essentially one of Queen Street's most underrated boutique. You've probably passed it by a few times without giving it a second thought. Truth be told, Spoof is a goldmine. The next time someone hands you a twenty and tells you not to spend it all in one place, please spend it here. You'll get your money's worth and you'll buy ten times the amount of clothing you could in any other store in the city. The idea of Spoof is that all the clothing is one size fits all, and fortunately the prices fit everyone too! There are always racks of clothes titled "3.99 and up", so you're basically guaranteed to never find something over 30 dollars in there.
2. Black Market Vintage Clothing
There's only one thing to be said about BMVC: everything is ten dollars or less - that's bolded in case you thought you misread it. You can find a mix of vintage and new clothing. You'll be able to rummage through some racks for printed tees or leather jackets. The entryway is small but the store underground is bigger than expected, so be careful not to miss it. You won't be disappointed with your finds, and you'll be overwhelmed with choices.
3. Fashionably Yours
Selling secondhand designer clothing and accessories, Fashionably Yours is cheap way to find luxury goods. All items that are sold there have a 100% lifetime guarantee based on how authentic the designer item is. However their products are reliable and are easy to access, with free shipping all over North America on items that are over 200 dollars. Finding designer apparel has never been this fun - or inexpensive! The store is to be trusted and frequents in sales as often as possible.
4. Stella Luna
Stella Luna is a free spirited-vintage escape. They offer clothing pieces that not only scream to the world that you've got an old soul, but that you have the fashion sense to pull it off too. You could find a piece for 5 dollars, or you could find another for 60. It might depend on the day, your mood, and how early you get there. But you won't leave without finding something you need - whether that be a new spring jacket for Toronto's unpredictable weather, or one of those adorable green fedoras for the days you swore you'd try something new. Their prices won't make you run the other way or make you underestimate how much of a find this store really is.
The best part of the approaching warm weather is all the garden parties, patio lunches and pool parties you get to squeeze into your calendar from time to time. If you're thinking of cancelling one of these events because of lack of money, fear no more! Fraiche is great because not only do they offer a variety of sales while maintaining great quality clothes, but they also carry any style of clothes that you feel may fit your summer schedule. If you plan on watching Love Actually with your best friend, they've got the comfy tees you can lounge around in. If you're thinking of something more lavish, try snagging a cute dress from one of their many European or South American brands, some that are exclusive to Fraiche only. You can often find racks of clothing that are marked down from an already reasonable price.
6. Coal Miner's Daughter
Coal Miner's Daughter has clothing that often range from expensive to cheap af. The fun part of this store is differentiating between high end prices and ones you can afford. It's great to walk into a hip, trendsetting boutique knowing that you can walk away with a lot of new swag and zero guilt. Not only that, but they guarantee that at least 80% of the store's designers are Canadian.
7. Freshly Baked Tees
This is truly one of the most hidden gems on Queen West, if not in all of Toronto. These guys are awesome: they'll print anything on a t-shirt for you, and they'll have it done in five minutes. Plus, it gets better - the more you buy, the more you save. A single shirt will cost you 29.75, but if you bring your own they'll knock 5 dollars off the price. When you buy 2 tees, it's 10% off, and when you buy 4, it's 20% off, and so on and so forth. Plus you wear a tee with anything printed on that you desire. "Broke Student Looking For Job" perhaps?