Seekers of classic styles in Montreal are soooo lucky – there’s a great culture of vintage shopping here, with stores to suit every need from ball gowns to cowboy shirts. In addition to the bargain-basement biggies like the Salvation Army, Renaissance and Village des Valeurs, there are many stores with carefully curated vintage collections. Here are our favourites.
Might as well start from the head down! Voskins is a bijou boutique in Griffintown entirely dedicated to eyewear, featuring some of the best vintage styles retrofitted for contemporary needs. The design of the store itself, thought up by interior designer Guillaume Ménard, is a haven of retro furniture, carpets and globes that set the worldly mood.
La Gaillarde is a non-profit organisation in St-Henri that encompasses a cool vintage clothing boutique among a wide range of sustainable fashion initiatives, including a textile recuperation service and the organisation of eco clothing fashion shows. You’ll find everything here from 1950s dresses to a never-ending array of tops.
Mostly the purveyors of new clothing in a retro style, the two locations of Boutique 1861 give meaning to its name with their wall-to-wall Victorian aesthetic – with a dash of hipster thrown in, of course! The row of über cute dresses pairs perfectly with the great pieces of vintage jewellery in store.
Both mainstays of the Main, retro neighbours Kitsch’n’swell and Friperie St-Laurent bring the past back in style. For decorators with a ‘50s bent, Kitsch’n’swell is a vintage home ware and accessories specialist where you’ll find pristine mugs in the shape of ladies and chalkware panther TV lights. Friperie St-Laurent is a straight-up second-hand clothes store with a great knack for carrying special pieces like THE leather coat you’ve been looking for.
One of the best curated collections in the city, Citizen Vintage is in the heart of Mile End and it shows – its wares are on the cutting edge of any season’s hottest street styles. From cut-off jeans shorts to floral shift dresses to black leather skirts, it’s there, and so are the shoes to match.
Built mainly from items on consignment, the beautiful selection of goods at Mile End’s Empire Exchange boasts everything from designer handbags to the perfectly shaped check shirt, label-be-damned. Everything is exactingly selected so that the quality is high – but not the prices.
A neighbourhood favourite, Annex Vintage has its finger solidly on the trends pulse while keeping plenty of room for timeless styles. Its astute selection of vintage shoes, shorts, jeans, blouses and big chunky knits is sure to produce one or two pieces you’ll just HAVE to take home.
Part amazing vintage store, part sewing and craft school, FripeFabrique, in Villeray, is a boon to its community of recuperation lovers, who can now learn to adapt their favourite old things – or other people’s – into their newest most-worn items. Check out the DIY class schedule here.
Located on a strip of St-Laurent in Little Italy that’s undergoing a bit of a cool-ification, La Founderie is a classy sort of retro purveyor, featuring labels and no-name finds alike, invariably of impeccable quality. The little mezzanine section in particular always seems to hold hidden gems.
Nestled in a residential patch of Parc Extension, The Little Shop is a still-secret treasure trove for stylists both local and international. The three-storey house is chock-a-block – and we mean PACKED – with vintage clothing, jewellery textiles, rugs, cushions and, on the top floor, objects from times of yore. Allow an afternoon to sift through the surprisingly well-organized masses of stuff, and beware their odd schedule – they’re only open three half-days a week.
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