A minimalist’s guide to shopping in Toronto

Open a minimalist closet and you’ll find 50 shades of black, white, brown and denim. But, make no mistake; this palette is anything but boring. Us stylish gals know a monochromatic look is ultra chic and a neutral wardrobe never fails us in the morning. Seeking quality basics and investment pieces that will last for years to come, or secrets to looking vivid in minimalist attire? Then, read on. [Photo courtesy of Convey]

WANT Apothecary

1070 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W 2L4

Simply put, you will want everything at this boutique. With a focus on timeless, modern pieces, Want Apothecary carries a ton of items by the edgy, contemporary Stockholm-based label Acne Studio and a few by Filippa K, a Scandinavian brand that emphasizes style, simplicity and quality. WANT also has its own brand of leather goods called WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, featuring crisp minimalist designs (think backpacks, briefcases, and other bags) that offer an ideal balance between sophisticated style and everyday functionality.

COS (Collection of Style)

85 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1M1

A minimalist’s dream shopping destination: this boutique has two floors worth of women’s wear to explore. COS, which stands for Collection of Style, has the kind of quality that will last for years, and the kind of style that is timeless. From baggy to straight cuts, the silhouettes are classy, chic and on-point. COS’ fall collection is inspired by the Mono-ha Japanese art movement, showing designs that are minimal and natural, yet dramatic at the same time. The accessories are futuristically bizarre, with interlocking cube necklaces and asymmetric cuffs that will add interest to a basic outfit.

Kit and Ace

102 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1M8

Ahhh, the soft, cozy feel of cashmere! A brand created by the founders of Lululemon, Kit and Ace uses technical cashmere (that you can machine wash and dry, hello!) as the base fabric of its collection. It’s as comfortable as athletic wear, but looks luxuriously stylish, perfect for work and play. I’m coveting their Stockholm pant, a black high-waisted beauty that flares below the knee – bringing back that 70s look that is so fun to wear. I also love their midi turtleneck dresses and wrap jackets, and basically everything – I mean, it’s cashmere, how can you not?


315 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2A4

Rudsak is THE place to shop for edgy minimalistic looks. Here you can find lots of leather, suede and fur items that are always hot during the colder seasons. You can wear a bland anything, throw on a leather jacket and your look will be completely transformed. That’s the power of leather and Rudsak is brilliant at incorporating this cool fabric into designs, giving them a stylish upgrade. Take their knit sweater dress with contrasting leather sleeves or their wool jackets mixed with leather details, for example. They also carry rad footwear, from leather to boots with them fur.

Smoke + Ash

644 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1E4

Sometimes you have to look behind the smoke and ash to find that interesting piece of clothing that you’ve been longing. That’s exactly what Queen West boutique Smoke + Ash seeks when they do their buying: clothes that are both interesting and contemporary. Here you’ll find everything from your staple Cheap Mondays to beautiful white kimono-style wrap dresses from The Fifth to clean, minimalist maxi dresses by Just Female. You can find other great fall and winter wear such as turtleneck dresses, high tops, long cardigans and sleek black ankle boots.

Oak + Fort

666 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1E5

When tomboy meets luxury, you get OAK+FORT. Every piece at this Queen Street boutique is effortless, unpretentious and stylishly smart. Find straight-legs to baggy trousers, oversized jackets and dresses to flattering skirts – all of which are office-chic and make for perfect chillier-month attire. Best of all, the clothes meet the minimalist colour palette, making the choices endless. You can style the items with a sweet pair of kicks and a toque for a more casual look, or put on a pair of statement-heeled boots and a wool fedora for an easy-going elegance.


754 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1E9

What is it you want to convey? If it’s a chic, trendy, yet unflashy sense of style, then you’ll want to stop by Convey on Queen. When you set foot inside, you’ll notice their whole front section is decked with clothing racks of black and white clothes (head to the back for denim and nude palettes). They carry mainly Australian and New Zealand brands that have yet to be put on Canadian racks. Notables include selections from Man Repeller, a collection of black, white and denim pieces, focusing on slouchy pants, white shirts and tuxedo blazers, designed by Georgia Alice.

Fawn Boutique

967 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G9

If come winter you wonder how on earth you can stay warm and stylish at the same time, shopping at Fawn may be your answer. The Queen Street boutique is a gem, especially for your sweater-weather attire. This house of high-fashion staples carries labels like Swedish Hope (modern pieces inspired by traditional men’s work wear), the Japanese-inspired Black Crane (features comfortable, easy-to-wear silhouettes), and Toronto’s own Markoo (dealing in classic-cool pieces from cropped leather pants to comfy Henley sweaters). What all these labels have in common is their attention to design and a calculated approach to minimalism.


49 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Y9

One of the boutiques in Toronto to launch Yeezy’s Season 1 collection, Jonathan + Olivia also carries many other minimalist styles. They stock brands from the ultra-cool Acne Studio to A.P.C, a French brand known for its minimalist designs. There are also some great pieces by Canadian designers like Sid Neigum, who is obsessed with geometry and tends to focus on black fabric – you can find his asymmetrical skirts here and metal-coated crinkle skirt that adds an interesting edge to a minimalist palette.

6 By Gee Beauty

6 Roxborough St W, Toronto, ON M5R 1T8

This luxury boutique has the perfect ensemble for stylish gals on the go. The racks are colour coordinated, making it easy to spot those nudes and blacks. Grab a pair of Paige ultra slim and stretch-comfort jeans, or lounge out with White + Warren cashmere sweats. 6 By Gee also carries chic and performance-built athletic wear by Michi and statement sunglasses by Illesteva that add the wow factor to a simple outfit. But, among my favourite designer pieces here, the Anine Bing black Charlie boots with silver studs are what really make me want to rock and roll.

Going back to school can be tough, especially when you still haven’t found the right books-worthy backpack or tote. For those looking for functionality without sacrificing style, here are some boutiques in Toronto that carry sleek bags – from designer handbags to leather backpacks to bags with the fur – that can take you from school to work to play all in one day. [Photo courtesy of Eleven Thirty]
Being pregnant doesn’t mean sacrificing your personal style. While there are a few stylish maternity stores in Toronto, you can still shop from trendy non-maternity stores, too. Show off that baby bump and look hella chic. Here’s where to shop for styles you can wear before, during and after pregnancy. [Image credit: iStock.com/Chet_W]
All-natural sunscreen options have reached Toronto, using minerals like titanium and zinc, which act as barriers against UVA and UVB rays. From Coola to Boo Bamboo to 100% Pure, here’s where you can find safe, all-natural sunscreen brands in the 6. [Feature image: Consonant Skincare]
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