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.

Siren’s / Bluenotes / Ardene’s  at Orfus Road

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Orfus road is a whole street of various outlets. Other than clothes, there are outlets for handbags, purfumes, home fashions, and even kitchenware. My three favorite outlets in the entire strip are Siren’s, Bluenotes, and Ardene’s. You can find clothes, shoes, and accessories up to 80% off the original price! Most of the merchandise is quite decent quality for the price.

A word of warning though, not all the outlets have fitting rooms, so knowing your size is crucial. Orfus road is also not the best place to go to if you’re looking for high quality formal wear or for very, very, specific items.


Kind Exchange

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With various locations across Toronto, including Queen Street, Kind Exchange is a second hand store where you can also trade in used clothes for $$. Don’t let the fact that this is second hand scare you! Each garment is hand-inspected by the staff for stains or tears. In other words, these gently used clothes look almost brand new. I love shopping here because all the clothes are season appropriate. Not even second hand place does this. 

If you’re planning to cash in some stuff, make sure you check their website or call to find out what they’re taking. They will only pay for certain items. For example, jeans and sweaters during the fall and winter.


Clothing swaps

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Toronto has such a rich fashion culture, and with it comes programs that aim to make it more sustainable. Clothing swaps are amazing events where you can trade in clothes you no longer wear for something else. The best way to find out about them would be through social media. 

I’ve been to a swap by Fashion Revolution Canada earlier this year and I’m completely in love with the culture of buying less and swapping more.


Wish shopping app

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I guess this really doesn’t fully count as a “Toronto” place to shop since it’s not a physical store in the city. But I couldn’t not talk about this! Wish has been an amazing place to shop for quirky and fun styles I wouldn’t find on the shelf. It’s also great for when I don’t have time to browse a brick and mortar store. I’ve even gotten all my co-workers browsing Wish!

Although there are mixed reviews, my experience have been generally positive. A few pieces of advice though:

  • Order a size up since Wish mainly uses Asian sizes
  • Since the material can be cheap-looking in real life, only buy casual wear and accessories
  • The Asian models are a lot more petite then us. Take this into account when you’re looking at hemlines and sleeve lengths


Where are your favorite places to shop in the city? Let’s talk in the comments below!

Cross posted on my blog

Author: Jin Cao

I am a multi-faceted designer, fashion blogger, makeup enthusiast, lover of cats, and connoisseur of ramen! Writer of LeggingsandLacquer.com Main fashion writer of Onahjung.com Find my work at Jinmartini.com

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