Secrets of the City: Shopping



                                                                              Photo: Milos Tosic


Private Shopping


The kids have to be picked up from Crofton House and the Cayenne needs servicing, so what’s a busy girl to do? Book one of Holt Renfrew’s four complimentary private suites then cue the Wifi: you and your personal shopper can review runway looks to pick next season’s wardrobe. Or simply next Saturday’s sweater.

Wear Else avoids the dreaded regift with a concierge who picks the perfect present based on your specs (bff’s size and style, your budget), wraps it, and delivers (for orders of $250+). They’ll also make house calls to evaluate your wardrobe then meet in-store for some sartorial TLC (service $250, includes $100 in-store gift card).

Get the services of a Savile Row shop without the stiff upper lip: bespoke shopping at Topshop (604-689-2335) runs the gamut from the Wardrobe Overhaul (2.5 hours) to the In and Out (30 minutes). New clothes hit the racks three times a week, you (and Oprah’s stylist last January) need a native guide to help you emerge in style.


Custom Tailors


Ken Maxwell founded Maxwell’s Clothiers in 1961 out of the Ambassador Hotel in Kowloon, and still heads up the team of travelling master tailors responsible for 4,000 clients in Vancouver alone. Still based in Hong Kong, Maxwell dispatches a team of five to Vancouver twice a year—due for their next visit in May—for stints at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport and the Hyatt Regency downtown. Buyers choose from over 3,000 fabrics and receive their tailored suit in eight to 10 weeks.

Can’t wait? On March 9, Brooks Brothers hosts a one-day made-to-measure event with tailor Doug Blay, a 27-year veteran of the brand, who’ll impart his menswear expertise through individual consultations and fittings. What more could a man want? How about a healthy discount: 20 percent off all suits, sport coats, and trousers.

Visit our ShopGirl blog for Brooks Brothers’ top 3 suit-buying tips!  


Boutique Workshops


Savvy retailers build customer loyalty with more than just a reusable tote. Class is in session at Williams Sonoma (2903 Granville St., 778-330-2581), where free, hour-long technique-focused workshops offer tips on, say, how to cook with farmers market spring veggies (March 3) or a foolproof way to poach an egg (March 24).

At Pottery Barn Kids (2935 Granville St., 604-638-7494), browse the latest nursery collections, seek design advice, and get 10 percent off purchases (May 18).

At Homesteader’s Emporium (649 E. Hastings St.., 604-568-7675), Kelsey Wood leads a series on sustainable urban gardening (March 31; $5).

Union Wood Co. (503 Railway St., 604-675-9033) hosts popular Woodworking for Women classes on Sundays led by Veronica Wong—$160 buys a five-hour afternoon when you’ll learn safety and tool operation, then craft a lovely cheeseboard made with reclaimed wood.


Shopping services


If you love clothes but not shopping there’s Colton’s Personal Couture (#1500, 6081 No. 3 Rd., Richmond, 604-713-8611) where you can pick up that Birkin bag from a private perch without ever interacting with the plebs. This private shopping club serves only the top tier of luxury buyers willing to shell out $25,000 ($7,500 dues, $17,500 credit) upfront for a personal fashion concierge to vet their favourite labels before they arrive by appointment (fetched to and fro by the club’s personal limousine service). What recession? 


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