A Vintage Community: Citizen Vintage

Citizen Vintage

The other day I was in the very popular Citizen Vintage, chatting with one of the owners, Brooke Doyle. You can tell she and her partners absolutely live and love curating their collection. Because that’s what it is – a gallery of sorts that pays homage to decades gone by. So, I wasn’t surprised to find out that Brooke’s aesthetic comes from a background in Art History, and a lifelong personal passion for collecting vintage herself! What amazed and delighted me was the incredible merchandising of the store. When one thinks of “vintage” the image of tons upon tons of confusing racks comes to mind. Not the case in this extremely well organized boutique and also not surprising from a self-professed fellow neat freak like Brooke.

Although it can be quite fun to sort through estate sales, antique barns and the like, it can also be extremely time consuming! At Citizen Vintage they’ve found the best and saved you the time. One immediately knows where to look for that LBD from the 1950’s or 1960’s for example. Or if you want a fabulous outfit à la mode aujourd’hui, you’ll find it. They consciously look for pieces that are on-trend so their stock is always current and relevant to today’s styles. I personally fell in love with a corduroy blazer with patches on the elbows and a colorblocked top. The black Oscar de la Renta tie-neck blouse was pretty sweet too, but I could go on and on…

If you’re looking for a great pair of worn-in cutoff denim shorts, they’re ready for you here! Apparently, they can’t keep enough of them stocked and once the weather turns nice – forget it! I was also taken with the old Smith-Corona typewriter and they even have some really great old  instruments like banjos.

The men’s section was very impressive, offering a great selection of fun bow-ties and blazers. I spotted a couple of beautifully worn attaché cases, which Brooke tells me are very popular with their clientele. You could never get a brand new briefcase to look as loved as this one! What’s fun about this store is that you can find things to mix and match with more modern or high-end pieces that you already own. I’m certain we’ve all noticed that the details and quality of yesteryear often get overlooked in many of today’s mass produced garments!

Not only is this a great retail space, but it is also a community gathering spot, where local artists, musicians and designers have a voice. The windows are dressed by different designers each month and then the store will have a vernissage to showcase that talent. They also host local bands and many different workshops. This is a very busy group and it reminds me of a modern version of an artists’ commune. There’s nothing I love more than supporting local talent and independently owned creative entreprises! Brooke told me that they were also very involved in the innovative and successful “Pop-Up Show” phenomenon – always so exciting! Akin to a “retail rave”, if you will, a group of retailers and designers get together for a few days in a surprise and temporary storefront location which creates a huge buzz and a great turnout.

As far as customer service, if there’s something you are searching for and haven’t been able to find, they take requests. On their buying trips, they’ll keep you in mind and your hunting days might be over! If you need help with styling an item that you might love from the store, they can help you with that too. It seems that there isn’t much they can’t do to meet your vintage cravings at Citizen Vintage. They have so much going on there all the time, don’t be surprised if you walk in on a Fashion shoot in progress – I did!

Thanks  Brooke!  Keep me in mind when you find the “Holy Grail” (a.k.a the elusive Louis Vuitton steamer trunk!) LOL!

Citizen Vintage 5330, St. Laurent Blvd. Tel: (514) 439-2774 Ref: shopgirlmtl

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Michael Rutledge

I really love the choices of stores you feature , the vintage store looks really cool, I’m planning to come to Montreal and would love to have you take me around, i,m not to crazy about the stores that I frequently visit, but I do love the Montreal stye.

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