Dress Code Vintage

The lawyer’s guide to vintage fashion

Tired of Banana Republic? Then upgrade your work wardrobe at these local vintage stores
Tired of Banana Republic? Then upgrade your work wardrobe at these local vintage stores

Vintage clothing is, in our respectful submission, a viable professional option for all lawyers. The first reason: vintage is unique. If you’ve ever shown up at work wearing the same fast-fashion outfit as another person in your office, you’ll know that, while it’s funny, it’s also a somewhat unpleasant experience. The chances of this happening are significantly slimmer once you incorporate vintage pieces into your wardrobe.

Second, vintage is sustainable. Nearly three-fifths of all clothing ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made. That is a ton — or, rather, a zillion tons — of waste. Vintage clothing can help solve this problem.

Third, vintage has great value. High-end vintage outlets aren’t exactly cheap, but they sell well-made statement pieces for much less money than what Holt Renfrew would have demanded. Now that we’ve convinced you, let’s start shopping. Here are our favourite places in Toronto to buy great vintage clothing.

FOR SHIRTS. Your standard cotton dress shirts — in white, blue and pinstripe — are best purchased new. But fun shirts — linens, silks and those with patterns — are the province of vintage. No single store has cornered the dress-shirt market, so we suggest the vintage-aggregator website thredup.com. It boasts a wide selection and the sizes are usually easy to gauge for both women and men.

FOR JACKETS AND OUTERWEAR. The great thing about loud jackets and outerwear is that you can wear them over plain black clothing and still look like a million bucks (having only spent $100, give or take).

Between the two of us, we have a few great pieces. In Lidiya’s closet, there’s a 1980s Armani suit jacket with shoulder pads that command authority. And in Cam’s closet, you’ll find a leather bomber jacket that serves up Top Gun realness.

There are lots of good places in Toronto to look for high-quality vintage jackets and outerwear, but we recommend these spots:

FOR ACCESSORIES. Accessories are a fun and accessible way to spice up even the most conservative wardrobe. And they’re a huge part of most vintage shops. This includes silk scarves, belts, berets, pocket squares, pins and brooches.

Not to mention shoes. One of us — you’ll have to guess who — owns a precious pair of Ferragamo loafers that were fished from the bottom of a sale bin in the right size and bought for less than $50. Thanks to the original high craftsmanship, the shoes are about to commence their seventh pavement-pounding summer season.

For accessories and shoes, we recommend these stores:

  • Three Fates at 1394 Queen St. W.
  • Common Sort. Visit any of its three locations: 800 Queen St. E., 444 Bloor St. W. and 1414 Queen St. W.

Keep in mind: vintage shopping is an adventure. It involves lots of research (you’ve just started that process, by the way!) and a bit of drama (that moment when you find out if the piece fits). But there’s nothing better than the smug satisfaction of whispering “it’s vintage” when someone demands to know the origins of your get-up. Good luck.

Lidiya Yermakova

Cameron Bryant is a lawyer and lease negotiator with Cirrus Consulting Group. Lidiya Yermakova is a lawyer at Koziebrocki Law.




This story is from our Summer 2019 Issue.

Illustration by Louise Reimer