Toronto is at no loss for glorious vintage stores, so let the record state that this is only our first volume of beloved shops. However, whether through service, selection, or customer experience, these five stand out in particular. So without further adieu, may we present: five (of what we've deemed to be) the best budget-friendly vintage stores in Toronto.
1. Courage My Love Inc. — 14 Kensington Avenue
From the $5 racks outside to the rows of boots and shoes lining the interior, Courage My Love cradles you from the minute you enter its walls. With items ranging from housewares to hats to dresses (with the years included on the tag), you can get lost in the shop for longer than its small space would lead you to believe. That, and their ring and bead collection trumps all — so don't blame us when you open the drawers and lose a few hours.
2. CHOSEN — 960 Queen Street West
Affordable and friendly (horray!), CHOSEN's collection of pieces from the '40s to the 1990s is the one worthy of you budgeting to acquire. (She says, justifying her own choices.) Bright, spacious, and chalk-full of men's and women's finds, the only thing better is their Instagram feed, which features outfits you wish you'd have thought to build yourself.
3. Common Sort — 1414 Queen Street West // 804 Queen Street East
True, you'll stumble upon some 2010-era H&M at Common Sort, a two-store second-hand operation that celebrates pieces as opposed to eras, but you won't be at a loss for vintage — far from. While the odd modern piece may make its way in, each location offers racks upon racks of tops, bottoms, and dresses ranging from the mid-century to last season. But that's fine: we all know the best outfits build on various eras, anyway. (And bonus points — you can bring in your own pieces for store credit, too.)
4. Kind Exchange — 611 Queen Street West // 379 Queen Street West
Like Common Sort, you can not only bring in your own pieces for exchange, but you'll find a few newer styles you might be tempted to glaze over — but don't. Since clothes are organized according to type (dress, pants, blouses, sweaters), you'll likely miss pieces from the 1960s or '70s when rifling through what you think may only be modern items. Affordable (clearly) and bursting with options, both Kind locations are within quick walking distance from each other, so you can treat yourself to an afternoon.
5. The Refinery: Vintage Clothing Bar — 588 Markham Street
Around the corner from Honest Ed's (where all of us budget-adhering people flock) is The Refinery, a Vintage Clothing Bar whose cozy atmosphere lends itself to an impressive selection of pieces spanning several decades. With accessories, jackets, and dresses — that occasionally find themselves on the clearance rack outside (if you're lucky) — at the plenty, you will quickly realize all bars that are not of the vintage clothing variety pale in comparison.