Monday, August 13, 2007

Queen Street Shop Crawl - the recap

Note: This guest post is by Kathryn Lagden who scored my event ticket to ChickAdvisor’s Queen Street Shop Crawl. Looks like she had a great time. If you have a chance, next time you’re on Queen West check out some of stores.

I’d by lying if I didn’t admit a little trepidation as I set out to start the Queen Street Shop Crawl last Thursday. Shopping? Me? I do buy clothes, bags, shoes, and many other accoutrements that keep my friends from shooting secret footage and publicly displaying my fashion idiocy on reality TV. But I view the actual shopping as one of life’s tedious chores more than a pleasurable outing.

So why did I apply to be the Bargainista reporter for the inaugural ChickAdvisor crawl? Well I’m always up for something new and who can resist discounts and freebies!

So with notebook in hand, and $100 burning a hole in my pocket, I headed down to the meeting point, Five on Spadina. I had set myself one rule for the event – I must try on at least one thing in every store. A daunting thought but I had to get the full shopping experience (and enough material to write this blog post!)

Five on Spadina was a bit dubious looking from the outside. Very much a discount warehouse with racks of clothes, a makeshift change room, and dim lighting. But once inside it was a treasure trove of brand labels neatly organized on racks with plenty of wiggle room in between. The clothes seemed to fall into either the office or club wear genre. Seeing as I work from home and prefer martinis and jazz to red bull and hip-hop, nothing really caught my eye. Remembering my promise I did try on a fairly basic cotton tee. Not so much.

Second store was Fraiche. At the end of the night I discovered just what a popular store this was when many of the crawl participants showed off their Fraiche dress in the grand prize fashion show. I opted for a green and orange skirt as I liked the print and at 20% off of $32 I really couldn’t lose.

Kiehl’s was the third stop and definite winner of best customer service. Upon arriving I was welcomed with bottled water and jellybeans. Only after I was entered into the draw and handed my freebie - a full size shower wash - was I asked if I needed any help with their products. I’ve been looking for a new moisturizer and have never really understood the point of toner so I took the plunge. A young sales associate with flawlessly smooth skin spent 20 minutes rubbing various lotions into my hands and asking how they felt. To be honest they all felt the same but the anti-aging option was twice as expensive. I can’t afford to stop aging but at least my wrinkles will be finely toned.

Crossing back over the street I entered Fashion Crimes. The frills, lace, beads, stuff, stuff, and more stuff were sensory overload but they did have a dress for every occasion. I don’t attend many black tie soirees so in the end I opted for trying on outrageously large sunglasses.

At first glance RK looks like one of those minimalist stores with very few racks of clothes and everything in black and white. Thankfully I was proven wrong and ended up with a funky little “tank top on top of a tank top” number that I’ll pair with a pair of pyjamas shorts for my office.

Last stop – Kazuo. Not a lot of breathing space and a line-up for the changing rooms made this store tricky to manoeuvre. The men’s side wasn’t as busy so I selected a stylish golf shirt for my hubby. At $25 minus 20% I really couldn’t go wrong and knew I’d get full ‘good wife’ marks when I got home! (Their 50%-off sale lasts until the fall stock arrives…definitely worth checking out)

As the shops closed we all gathered at Milestone’s for drinks, appys, and chatter. Loot bags added a lot of fun as we all routed through the really good stuff we’ll actually use. The evening ended with a fashion show of outfits purchased that night for under $100. Dresses from Fraiche were the clear winner.

Thanks ChickAdvisor for a great night! And thanks Bargainista for giving up your ticket! You just might have changed my mind about shopping...

More Shop Crawl pics

Technorati tags: ChickAdvisor, Kathryn Lagden


  1. Hm, definitely need to check out Fraiche. I tend to skip independent Queen W stores too because of prices.

  2. Gloria,

    I learned early on you can spend the same money on clothes at a discount department store or at an independent boutique. The trick is knowing how to be a savvy shopper.

    Let us know what you find at Fraiche.

    Happy shopping,


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