Friday, May 01, 2015

Ottawa Vintage & Consignment Stores: Do they actually exist?

The other day my friend and I decided to check out some vintage and consignment stores in Ottawa (more specifically, the downtown area). I jump on any shopping adventure, so when my friend suggested this, I was up for the challenge. After doing a few Google searches we both came up with a list of stores. Here are the results.

There were a lot of stores listed in the Byward Market, so we headed there first. We found Workshop Boutique, which was more of a modern vintage than actually second-hand itself. Everything there is made by local and/or Canadian designers, making most of the pieces super cute and unique. However, the price range was not the greatest, as dressed were well over $100 and tops were over $50. Not exactly the bargains we were looking for. Our next store, Victoire, was pretty much the same deal, except it had a very nautical feel, with stripes, anchors, and sailboats decorating the clothing.

Then we hit a dead end, so to speak, hence the title of this post. According to Google, there was supposed to be three other stores in the market- Young Jane's, Gypsy and Company, and Orange. None of them existed at their current address, and we could not figure out if they had relocated or simply gone out of business. In the cute white and mint green building where Young Jane's was supposed to be, there was some sort of spa, and the lady there informed us that the owner of Young Jane's had gone out of the country...I guess taking all her stock with her? At the supposed location of Orange, we found an apartment building with a swanky looking boutique on the first floor, no sign indicating a vintage store of any sort. Walking further along, we came across a small boutique called Adorit, which again had locally made and even eco-friendly clothing at a good price, which was nice.

We then ventured to the supposed address of Aunt Olive's...which proved another dead end. Actually, it was a "green, eco-friendly" cafe (the name escapes me at the moment). So don't go looking for that one either.

We finally hit a gem at Ragtime Vintage Clothing. Another small space, but filled to the brim with everything imaginable, from unwanted Forever 21 dresses to silk shirts and peasant blouses, and costumes from who knows what era. It even smelled like old clothes in there!

Apparently, Livney's Modern and Vintage Wear does exist...except this time we were the ones who could not find it. Google maps said it was in the middle of a field, so it was quite confusing where we were supposed to be. I caught a glimpse of the storefront as we were heading in the opposite direction on a bus back home, and it looked extremely small and as if it was about to go out of business.

The last store we found was AMH (Absolutely Must Have) Style. This store kind of reminded me of a boutique style Value Village: store brands- like Jacob, Le Chateau, Smart Set- for an affordable price; but without the mess and disorganization. It was like the sale rack of stores that you want to shop at, but normally cannot afford.

What did we learn from this adventure? Most likely not to trust Google! Also, that we prefer modern vintage than actual vintage clothing, even if it can be a bit pricey. I think I will stick to my usual stores when shopping (F21, H&M, Smart Set, Dynamite...), and when I want something for a special occasion, I'll go to Modcloth (well, virtually), and Roadtrip Clothing (also located in the Byward Market).

What are your experiences with vintage/modern vintage/consignment store shopping? Let me know!

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