When I shop, well, it’s kinda all about me. Like any retail columnist, I report on the items that rock my world, and that I can imagine myself or other stylish chicks like me wearing.
But a visit from a hunkie British gent recently gave me a chance to reexamine my shopping sense — something that led me to not only shop like a man (specifically, like my man), but also to introduce a foreigner to a retail concept he may not have experienced.
We decide to bus it and suss out the Shops at Don Mills, a place I’ve mined numerous times for brilliant chickie gems but have never hit up for anything related to the opposite sex.
And I have to restrain myself when we enter Leigh & Harlow, a trendy Queen West-based boutique that’s opened its second location at the Shops, as half the store is dedicated to female fashions.
Remember Kelly: it’s about him, not me.
My guy’s a bit of a prep, preferring the cotton plaid shirts and hoodies of Abercrombie & Fitch to all others. I pluck a yellow and blue striped long-sleeved polo tee by Gant, $125, which I know he’ll like as they’re his fave colours.
It gets pretty chilly and damp in northern England where my gent lives, but I’m not sure the perpetual coastal rain and sleet he speaks of in any way compare with our crazy cold Canuck winters….
Translation: that down-filled green parka by Spiewalk, $349, would be fab for our frigid climes, but would it really fit into his life across the pond?
It does look darling on him.
If he parked his butt here permanently, it could be the perfect parka for him.
4 Karl Fraser Rd., 647-341-6091, www.leighandharlow.com
Inside locally based menswear company Barbuti, which relocated from Bayview Village when the Shops opened, we admire the Sexy Bastard low-rise men’s underwear, $35, which come in a jaunty red and to our surprise are made in Jolly Old.
Apparently they can’t keep them in stock. Ditto for the Sexy Bastard multi-hued argyle socks, so if you want ’em for stocking stuffers you better get a shifty on, as they say in England, and get to the store before they sell out.
A pilot who flies a fancy jet, my man gravitates to the jackets and bombers by Italian company Parajumpers, which did so well manufacturing garb for real life parajumpers that it switched to making similar duds for the masses only a few years ago.
My flying fanatic falls in love with the Kodiak, a long, water-repellant silver parka with detachable down lining and Murmanski fur trim on the hood, $995.
Detailing like padded elbow patches, hidden pockets, zippered side slits, and a few buckles and cords complete the military-esque meets extreme-weather-rescue-squadron look.
Unfortunately my mannie often flies to climes that better suit beach wear, and since he’s not yet a Brit expat we leave the parka, the last one in stock, there for some shivering Canadian dude.
Salesperson extraordinaire Zelda Gungor, who’s been with the company over a decade and spends a huge chunk of the waning afternoon with us, shows us something more befitting to a northern Englander’s life: a truly gorgeous water-repellent black cashmere jacket with detachable hood by Italian label Paul & Shark, $1,745.
It fits him like a dream and is so perfectly styled I secretly want him to buy it, even though it may mean less gifties for me, tee hee. Alas, we sacrifice the jacket so we (read: he) can buy a couple more plane tickets to visit this Canadian chick he knows.
We return later to check out the jeans in the stand-alone Hugo Boss shop attached to Barbuti. The Rock & Republic denim Barbuti stocks for $245 look great on him, but my man’s a Boss nut and the Texas style, $175, are close to the style he wears.
19 Aggie Hogg Gardens 416-730-9944, www.barbuti.ca
We discover a whole new look at the Tommy Hilfiger store, for men and women alike.
With the exception of a few racks at the back of the store, the classic all-American red, white and blue striped apparel that made the brand famous are gone – in fact, that look will be phased out soon and there will only be some classic staples like chinos and such available at outlet stores, I’m told.
With new ownership and a new designer at the helm, the Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger collection is funky-prep-collegiate in look and feel. It’s younger, less expensive, and way more colourful than the traditional pickings.
I stay clear of the women’s side for as long as I can, and finger the wool-blend, coral-hued men’s sweater for a mere $69.
As I mentioned, my man has a thing for bright yellow. A waffle weave cotton shirt, $44, catches his eye and mine; it’s so fluorescent it’s a fashion flashback to the 1980s.
There’s a try-on-a-pair-of-jeans promo running until Nov. 6 (or whenever the scratch card runs out, whichever comes first) where you can get $10-$25 off your next purchase or a chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree, yippee.
Alas, the jeans don’t fit him right, and the bright orange woman’s turtleneck and cardi I try aren’t quite right pour moi.
The entire new Tommy collection is slowly trickling in so check it out when you can. I like-ey.
4 Aggie Hogg Gardens 416-384-0916, www.tommy.ca
We don’t end up buying anything other than the dinner we later nosh on at Joey Don Mills as the sun sets over the square.
But I’ve learned a little bit about what a Brit pilot might wear if he were to say, move to Canada, and a Brit pilot has learned that Torontonians are indeed a hardy bunch that shops outside in pedestrian malls.
Shops at Don Mills is located at 1090 Don Mills Rd., 416- 447-6087, www.shopsatdonmills.ca
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