I'll admit it. As winter refuses to give up its grip on the city, it's become increasingly difficult to motivate myself to get out of the apartment. What better way to spend a cold Sunday than indoors cuddled up on my couch with Netflix? A quick glance at the calendar reminded me that this was no Sunday to stay indoors, winter or no winter. Today was the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show, so off I went!
The Toronto Vintage Clothing Show (TVCS), held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, was a personal shopping highlight last year so I was eager to return to see if lightning could indeed strike twice. TVCS brings independent vintage vendors from Ontario (including some of my local favs) and Québec together for a one-day one-stop sales event, running 10am to 5pm. Admission to the event is $10, but if you subscribe to the TVCS mailing list, they will e-mail you a $2 off admission coupon before the event.
If you're a fan of vintage items, you are no doubt well-aware that one of the challenges when shopping is that it's such a crapshoot. You never know what you're going to find so you often have to spend more time looking. The beauty of TVCS is that a large chunk of the hunt has been eliminated. These are quality vendors who are all showing the crème de la crème of their collections. Of course you still have to come prepared to spend some time riffling through piles of items in search of those spectacular finds, partly because there are so many vendors to choose from and partly because that's the kind of the point (and part of the fun!) of vintage shopping.
So what was on display at TVCS? The short answer is everything. The long answer is coats, shoes, bags, jewellery, hats, furs, dresses, tops, gloves, purses, scarves, etc. etc. etc. Most of the vendors in attendance were vintage retailers, but there were a few other exhibitors on hand. Representatives of the Costume Society of Ontario were among the best-dressed of the event (no small feat), sporting items from their collection and promoting their upcoming event 'Fascinating Fascinators'. Also in attendance (and impossibly well-coiffed) was the Toronto Vintage Society, who promote various vintage/retro events taking place in Toronto.
So where to begin your shopping? Admittedly, it can be a little overwhelming going in because there really is an
amazing amount of product in the room. There appear to
be two basic approaches to shopping at this kind of event. The first,
hit everything and shop as you go. The second, hit everything and make
mental (or literal) notes of what you saw and then go back for your
favorites later. The first approach is probably the safest and the most dangerous approach.
Safe because these are almost exclusively one of a kind items and if
you turn your back on something and it gets snatched up, it's gone. Dangerous
because if you spend as you go then you might not make it to the end
before you empty your wallet!
I recommend trying as much as possible to plan ahead. Obviously you won't know what you're going to see once you arrive, but you can at least attempt to narrow your search to a particular item or items. For instance, this year I planned to focus my efforts into finding accessories. Limiting my search to just jewellery, bags and shoes made it much easier to walk past racks of clothing without feeling the urge to stop. I was on a mission. I also recommend setting a spending-cap before you arrive at the event. Most of the vendors are cash only (items range from $ to $$$$ depending on a variety of factors), which makes it easier* to stick to exactly what you brought in your wallet. If you do plan on shopping for clothing, be prepared for quick-changes in communal fitting rooms. *not a guarantee
And how did I do this year? QUITE nicely, if I say so myself. Once I got the photos I needed for this post, I went into full-on shopping mode and combed the aisles for unique finds to perk up my wardrobe. I came home with a lovely pile of vintage items, a little more than I had anticipated buying, but I was so pleased with my purchases that I forgave myself immediately for over-spending! Below is my haul of accessories. Highlights include a pair of tuxedo shoes (which make me laugh every time I put them on) from Hello! Good buys, handbags (La Marquise and Etienne Aigner) from My Stuff Inspired By You and a Ten Commandments charm bracelet (SERIOUSLY) from Vintage Soul Geek. Mission accomplished.