Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Best Places to Shop in Vancouver

Okay, okay, these might not be the best, but these are the places I go to shop, get inspiration or get ideas. I get asked a lot where to shop in Vancouver since I get a lot of bargains. The truth is, the best place to shop is to just drive across the border and go to the US. The sales in Vancouver when it comes to clothing are certainly not phenomenal, and then there's the taxes. But if you're planning on doing some shopping while you're here, and you're from a very expensive country for clothing like Australia, then check these places out.
Let me get one thing straight. I'm really cheap when it comes to clothing, not only do I look for like a second or third markdown, I need to research the original price to make sure that's not just some inflated price to make it look like a real sale. I actually have like a notebook where I record prices of stuff, so I can keep track.. so I know if I'm really getting a bargain. Like I have a constantly updated excel spreadsheet where I enter prices of like purses, and cosmetics, or certain jeans and at what stores, so if I'm shopping overseas or something, I'll know if it's a better deal.
When I buy staple items like the black pants for work and for going out, the jeans, basic black shoes and boots, coat, and everyday purse I'll get something of pretty high quality, but try to find like the best price on it. But I don't mind paying more for quality as long as I know I'm not getting ripped off.

Clothing
Winner's - it's like a one level outlet department store with a bunch of different clothing brands for all ages, shoes organized by size, some furnishings, toiletries, gift items and even jewelry. I come here a lot since there's one close to my work. I can easily spend an afternoon here.

Service: Decent, but seems like there's always new staff that are just learning the ropes

$: Better than most stores in Vancouver

Pros
  • No salespeople to hassle you.
  • No guilt when you try on hundreds of stuff and don't buy anything.
  • Pretty good return and layaway policy.
  • Some of their clearance stuff is pretty darn cheap.
  • They have some nice dresses during prom and Christmas season.
  • Convenient one stop shopping cause there's something for everyone.

Tips

  • If you see any damage or anything like a loose button, they easily offer percentage off, usually 10%.
  • Keep an eye out for the clearance shelves for stuff like photoalbums and housewares. Some really good prices and you can get a cool gift for someone on a very low budget.
  • If you see something you like, try to find another one to see if it's been marked down, sometimes it's got the red tag sticker, but it's not on all of the same items.
  • Apparently they get their stock every Thursday.

Cons

  • It's not that cheap and you really have to comb the racks.
  • Some of the cashiers at the Richmond location are so friggin slow.
  • Some of the returns just get retagged and back on the shelves without inspection so keep a close eye for deodorant marks and BO, seriously. When shawls were trendy, I bought a shawl, brought it home and it smelled so bad, like BO with a spritz of perfume. I don't know how I didn't notice it in the store.
  • Saw them selling fake seven jeans once. (like Seven7) but they put it on one of their "designer" racks so some people might think it's the Seven for Mankind jeans when they're not.
Le Chateau
Yes, a lot of people think the clothing is of cheap quality, but if you've been in there lately, their stock is so much better than before. They have staple dresses that they carry throughout the year and they're pretty flattering on most body types. Personally, I love the cut of their pants, they make my butt look nice and my legs look longer. They also have a Le Chateau outlet in the Wal-Mart complex in New West.

Service: It really depends who you get. Generally it's either a commission attitude or don't care attitude. Personally, I like the service best on Burrard Street. Most people that work there are quite trendy, so they can be helpful putting together an outfit with accessories.

$: Reasonable.

Pros

  • Clothing is Made in Canada.
  • Trendy pieces at decent prices.
  • Lots of accessories.

Cons

  • Return policy is not very good. I believe it's exchange only, or return for credit note.

Aritzia

If you're a trendy tween or even a trendy 30 something with an above average spending budget, this is the place for you. They carry Mackage, Juicy Couture, Seven for all Mankind, Havaianas, CoH, Rock and Republic, and have three or four house brands including TNA and Talula. Their newest house brand is aimed at 30 somethings. They have even more variety at the Hill's location in Kerrisdale. If you live in town, wait for their warehouse sale especially for jeans. And if you know someone that works there, beg them for an invite to the friends and family sale the day before the warehouse sale opens to the public.

Service: mediocre. There are a few that stand out for exceptional service, but generally the salespeople BS to make a sale, and some obviously judge how nice they'll be to you depending on how deep your pockets look.

$: Spendy

Pros

  • Good selection of higher end jeans.
  • Nice boxes for gifts, although I sometimes just ask for a box even though the item is for myself and use it to store stuff.
  • Lots of cute trendy items.

Cons

  • Return policy. Also, can sometimes be time consuming just to exchange something.
  • If you get a TNA tracksuit, don't forget to get the mandatory streaks, a Bebe top with sparkly rhinestones and an LV Speedy bag to complete the look. and if it's cold out there, you need the puffy jacket with tight wide waistband and furry hood to go with it...(if you're not from Vancouver, take a visit to Metrotown mall after school hours and you'll see lots of girls sporting this look).
  • Most of the sizes are like teeny tiny.
  • I sometimes find it a little intimidating to go in the store.

If you like this store, you'll also enjoy Atomic Model, Off the Wall, Below the Belt, upstairs upstairs section of Holt Renfrew.

Holt Renfrew

This is probably Vancouver's most upscale department store. I know there's Leone too, but Holt's is a lot more popular, and also a lot less intimidating. Holt Renfrew is like Canada's answer to Nordstrom. They carry all the higher end brands like Hermes, Gucci, LV, Tiffany's, Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, Manolo, Prada, Armani and also carry brands like C&C California, Juicy, and jeans labels like Rock and Republic. They also have an awesome makeup department with trendy brands and high end brands. Yes, they carry Nars, Giorgio Armani cosmetics, as well as Cle de Peau concealers (around $80).

Service: good

Prices: Spendy. Even when they have sales, you can still find some stuff cheaper elsewhere.

Pros

  • Fun store to browse in.
  • Who doesn't like receiving a gift from this store? Some of their stuff can be reasonable, like a Holt's brand robe for example.

Tips

  • If you open a credit card at the store, you get an extra 10% off on your first purchase. So if you plan on getting a very spendy item, it may be worth it.
  • If you get cosmetics or perfumes, be sure to ask for some samples.
  • You can get just about anything gift wrapped (for free)

Cons

  • I don't know why, but I don't like their latest pink shopping bags, I like their old bags. The new bags look like something you'd get from the cosmetic counter at the Bay or Shoppers Drug Mart.
  • Some of the customers really suck here.

Old Navy (cheap tees, flip flops, jeans, sweaters, and even clothing for dogs)

Jacob (only because it's Canadian although I can't stand this store)

Walk down Robson Street for a slew of stores including French Connection, BCBG, Banana Republic, Zara, Armani Exchange, Aldo shoes, Lululemon, B2 shoes

Cosmetics

  • MAC, especially the pro store on Robson street.
  • London Drugs
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Holt Renfrew cosmetics department
  • Sear's downtown cosmetics department
  • Can't remember the name but there's a nice cosmetics store in that shopping center next to Park Royal in North Vancouver.
  • Also another cool cosmetics store in Aberdeen mall with hard to find brands like Anastasia of Beverly Hills and Blinc.

Will be adding more and including a guide to shopping in Seattle, Portland and surrounding areas!

3 comments:

j said...

do you know which store it is that sells anastasia products?

Hucky Duck said...

Hi J! I believe the store is called Isis, and it's on the second floor. I just checked the Aberdeen Centre directory and it appears they shut down.. I'll ask around and if I know any other place I'll post it.

Hucky Duck said...

Hey J! They carry Anastasia brow kits at Holt Renfrew in Vancouver
http://holtrenfrew.com/holts/pages/brands/brands.dot?language_id=1

If you look at the beauty section, it'll be listed there.