Yorkdale lights up a shopping diva’s life

I’ve been waiting and waiting to write about Yorkdale Mall, and now that fall fashion has launched in retail stores across the city, that time has come.

There’s not enough time to cover the entire mall, though. The segment I explore is the addition built in 2005 — a wide, white, airy and light affair that makes other malls look like dungeons.

Walking down this new stretch just before noon, I feel like I am walking outside.

The first store that reels me in is as open and welcoming as the mall.

A Toronto-based jewellery and accessory chain, Bitter Sweet started as a kiosk in this very mall 13 years ago, the store associates tell me. It has since grown into a chain with six locations across the GTA.

Sure, Tiffany’s is coming to Yorkdale, but Bitter Sweet already rocks, in my books, with inexpensive fashion-forward jewellery. Some of it is costumy, but other pieces are sterling silver coated in either white gold or gold.

The cases are lined with colourful fabric boards that are changed depending on the season and, believe me, they can excite the jewellery glam pot in a girl.

What’s hot this season brings me back to my 1970s childhood, when family rings with different birthstones in them were all the rage.

The difference at Bitter Sweet is you can customize a heart or circle-shaped pendant encrusted with cubic zirconia ($40 for the pendant) by filling the tiny space inside with various coloured stones ($4 each).

Next, throw in a sterling silver initial ($6 each) to up the personalization factor, add a silver chain and — voilà! — you have a perfect gift for a friend or a signature jewellery piece for you.

I never had a family ring, nor did I ever sport a charm bracelet — another hot item in the mid-’70s. At Bitter Sweet an entire case is dedicated to bracelets and all the jangly things you can hang on them.

Charms range from $2 to $6 and the bracelets are $12. If you’re more of a traditionalist or a ’70s child like me, you may prefer the sterling charm bracelets, $32, and $12–$28 for the charms.

There’s more here to check out, but I like the necklaces made by Toronto-based company In Accessories. Its Henning Designs label is a dream; a chunky short necklace with smoky topaz, sea green and gold-plated stones is $228.


A few doors over, a funky faux-fur coat lures me in to a shop I’ve never heard of. It is Mango, a women’s apparel retailer out of Spain launched in Canada just a few years ago, the same time it came to Yorkdale.

If you’re a fan of Zara, another recent Spanish import, chances are you’ll like Mango. The store provides fashion for the “young urban woman”. I like the clothes, so thankfully I still fall within that target demographic.

The faux-fur leopard print short coat I admire ($245) is part of a collection designed by star sisters Penélope and Mónica Cruz.

The collection, housed at the front of the store on bright yellow hangers, consists of long flowy halter dresses and chunky faux-fur short coats. There’s even a faux-fur handbag for $109 that’s impossibly chic.

My fave look is the knitwear. A long-sleeved Kelly green viscose blend sweater dress with slouchy turtleneck looks almost exactly like a knit dress I had in the mid-’80s. It goes for $49.

But I have my eye on the brown, cowl neck, acrylic-mohair dress with long bell sleeves, which for $69 would look just dreamy with my brown Michael Kors lace-up booties.

The viscose blend cardigans and cashmere sweaters in rich jewel tones are also on my list.

Dark suiting with tiny stripes — $119 for a sweet-looking blazer and $49 for the matching skirt — would mix nicely with the knits.


I have never been to Sephora, but — wow! — this drugstore makeup junkie may just be reformed.

I can’t handle doing the makeup counter hop in department stores and the good thing is you can find all those brands here. True, Sephora can be slightly overwhelming because of the breadth of product, but on the other hand everything is all laid out before you, so if you know what you want you can grab and go.

If you need help, you can chat with one of the many representatives. You can even book a complimentary consultation to see what your best colours are, and so on.

At the front of the store, I find a ton of cool brands I’m not so familiar with (being a drugstore junkie and all). When I shop for makeup, I love function combined with magic.

So the glittery eye quartet by Hard Candy in “sushi” — a range of glittery greens — turns my makeup magic crank. The $27 eyelid bronzer by POP, in varying shades of light bronze, looks as though it would make my tired eyes “pop” a little.

And the “Little Blot Book” by Tarte, an address book look-alike with attitude packed into oil-absorbent sheets and powder for $43, is a brilliant marriage of whimsy and work-a-day function.

For extra glam, the “Shady Lady” eye shadows by Balm, $23 each, look like a real treat. The one called “Just this once Jamie” is a bronzy pink dream (and the title is sassy too). I think I’ll book my appointment to see if that colour will look good on me.

If you want some extra zoom one night out, you can buy silver or green-purple fake eyelashes for $4.

Before I go, a lipgloss display stops me in my tracks. A gloss junkie from the get-go, I can’t help but pick up a lipgloss pot by Cargo, segmented into four luscious, sheer, yet slightly glittery shades for fall ($22). There’s that whimsy and function again: a gloss girl’s gotta love it.