Shopping in Vancouver, as in most places, is all about knowing where to go. I spent the first few days of my vacation spinning my wheels, shopping-wise, by going to all the wrong places. First of all, Robson Street and its environs is largely a waste of time for any Alberta-based visitors, since the majority of the stores can be found at home, where you save the PST. There are a few exceptions. There is a JCrew store, a stand-alone Joe Fresh store, and a Topshop outlet in The Bay. [Good news, though: it sounds like Edmontonians will be getting their own JCrew store soon.] And, of course, if you are shopping at the high end of the retail scale, Robson has a ton of options for you, not least of all The Room at The Bay, and a fancy-pants Holt Renfrew.
Second, the consignment stores on south Granville are also a bust for any frugal shoppers; they do carry more designer brands, but the prices are very high. I saw one pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes priced at around $125 – not much cheaper than the $150 I paid for a new pair at Mayfair’s annual BOGO sale. Meanwhile, the consignment stores on West 4th clustered just west of Burrard Street aren’t much better, price-wise. As for thrift stores, pfffft! I made a trek all the way down East Hastings to one of the bigger Value Villages in the city, excited to take advantage of a one day 50% off sale. I should have saved the bus fare, since neither the selection nor the prices were great. The Salvation Army on West 4th was closed on the day I tried to go, and the rest of downtown seemed devoid of other options.
You might be wondering if I did any shopping in Vancouver. While I did succumb to a pretty Zara frock (previously shown) on Robson, things looked bleak at first. Thanks to the lovely Cat, who is our occasional West Coast correspondent, I did manage to turn things around and ended up with a few great new additions to my closet – all without completely busting my travel shopping budget (which, for anyone wondering, was set at $200).
The first place to which Cat took me was, ironically, also on West 4th though much further west. I think the store is called Happy 3 Clothing Co., but to be honest, I was too busy rifling madly through its racks to pay much attention.
A consignment store very much after my heart, it had a great mix of high end designer labels and regular brand names, all at very reasonable prices. I had my heart broken by a stunning, dark navy Balenciaga cocktail dress ($168), which was, sadly, just a smidge too tight on the hips. Sigh! But I did pick up a new dress ($39) and two skirts ($19 and $29 respectively), as well as a cute headband ($3, not pictured).
Stay tuned tomorrow for part two of my Vancouver haul … vintage edition.