Shop Kitsilano

May 1, 2008

AMERICAN APPAREL

Consider American Apparel your one-stop shop for casual weekend wear. Not only do you get long, light cotton T-shirts cut for actual human beings (as opposed to short and wide children) but the store practices sweatshop-free labour. They also carry a great line of boy-cut underwear and cotton wraps that do double duty as tops and scarves. 2242 W. Fourth Ave., 604-733-7050. Other locations: 872 Granville St., Downtown, 604-685-5904; 3070 Granville St., South Granville, 604-484-9447

BASIC STOCK

The newly renovated Basic Stock cook shop carries Saeco’s latest dream machine: the Talea Ring Plus is a fully automated espresso maker designed by BMW. For summer, have fun with Danica’s colourful and graphic patio dishware (starting at $6), or Cuisinart’s commercial ice cream maker ($299). 2294 W. Fourth Ave., 604-736-1412

BED

Warning: Thread count is a moot point when you’re talking cotton muslin, which is what they use at Bed. So don’t bother with the numbers game. Anyone who has used the hand-dyed sheets can stand by the store’s claim: these are top tier luxury hotel-soft, and get better with every wash. The colours range from fuschias and oranges to dark dyes and neutrals, plus there’s a smaller selection of graphic prints. Colour pairing is a dead-serious skill for shop clerks; take advantage of their imagination and they’ll marry two colours that you likely wouldn’t have thought of on your own. 2151 W. Fourth Ave., 604-736-3482

CANADIAN TIRE

Debbie Travis’ collection for Canadian Tire began with house paint and recently expanded to include everything from vases to tableware to curtain panels, all grouped by “mood” (what the rest of us call “style”). Standouts include the Denby-inspired Tantric Red dinnerware ($99.99 for a 16-piece set) and the gourd-shaped ceramic lamp in cream ($79.99). 1625 Chestnut St., 604-257-6559. Other locations: 2220 Kingsway, Kensington-Cedar Cottage, 604-257-6510; 8729 Heather St., Marine, 604-257-6487; 1460 E. Hastings St., Commercial, 604-257-6383; 2290 Cambie St., South Cambie, 604-707-2290 and 14 other locations in the Lower Mainland

CROCODILE BABY

Breeders in the know browse the new kids’ section at Moulé, but your first stop on Fourth Avenue’s baby row must be Crocodile for their fantastic selection of Dwell Baby linens. We love the retro cowboy/cowgirl prints. 2156 W. Fourth Ave., 604-742-2762

FAB

Browsing the overstuffed racks of Fab is like taking a crash course in what labels are hot, right now. Tops by C+C, Ella Moss and Splendid are extra long in the sleeves and body, made for layering. Fab boasts the most comprehensive selection of jean brands in the city (True Religion, Fornarina, Yanuk) but this is the one store you won’t find Sevens or their Citizens of Humanity counterpart—“because everyone else has them,” says the owner. 2177 W. Fourth Ave., 604-734-0139

GRAVITY POPE

A montage of high heels, wedges, knee-high boots, clogs, mules, sandals, sneakers and fuzzy slipper socks makes up some of the 3,000 pairs of shoes on display. Handbags by Betsey Johnson and Vic Matie compliment any footsie purchase. We live for their famous boxing week sale—up to 50 percent off every pair of shoes in the store. 2205 W. Fourth Ave., 604-731-7673

HIP BABY

Hip Baby has been the purveyor of all things, well, hip, for baby and mum for the past 10 years, well before west side breeders went bonkers. Their in-house line of basics (cloth diapers, hooded towels and fitted crib sheets, plus T-shirts, hats and bibs for newborns) are designed and manufactured in Toronto. Adjust-2-fit diapers are top sellers at $10.95 each. 2110 W. Fourth Ave., 604-737-0603

JC STUDIO

Get yourself on the e-mail list for the open houses at JC Studio, home of local label Jacqueline Conoir. The open houses are a veritable bazaar of all that is new and hot on the local scene. Shoppers can try on pieces from the Jacqueline Conoir collection and jewellery from local designers, and get makeup consultations, all while sipping a glass of chardonnay. 46 W. Sixth Ave., 604-688-5222

KARMA

Some days Lululemon blankets the city with an almost communistic uniformity. But this is still a democracy, and you do have another choice for yoga wear. Try Karma, for example. The colour palette is more muted, and the style details make the clothes more wearable outside the yoga studio, which is the point. 2066 W. Fourth Ave., 604-731-7747

KIDSBOOKS

Okay kids, if you’re quiet, Ms. Simon will let you buy a book. The co-owner of the Fourth Avenue bookstore was once a public librarian. No doubt she has access to a wider range of newer books now—and all the staff are as passionate about matching the right bit of child lit with the right reader. A resource centre for the classics, and the newest crop of titles (including those from local writers like Sean Moore, author of Always Run Up the Stairs), movies or language kits, this store will keep the kids entranced and hopefully launch a lifelong reading habit. 3083 W. Broadway, Kitsilano, 604-738-5335

KOOLHAUS

We shop Koolhaus as much for their precise selection of accessories (currently on our radar are the bright “Spirit” cushions from Zoeppritz) as their modern furniture pieces. Look no further for summer’s coolest patio sets. 2199 W. Fourth Ave., 604-875-9004

LOTUSWEAR

Known for their emphasis on fashion-forward cuts (see the trademark Shiva short and Pava roll-down boy short), Lotuswear has also introduced a yoga appropriate, but perfect for the beach, line of swimwear. 2131 W. Fourth Ave., 604-738-7168

LULULEMON

Even if you’ve never done a sun salutation or downward dog you’ve seen your fair share of derriere encased in Lululemon pants. For the essential yoga and workout gear, in a variety of cuts, styles, lengths and colours, you needn’t look much further. 2113 W. Fourth Ave., 604-732-6111. Other locations: 1148 Robson St., Downtown, 604-681-3118, 650 W. 41st Ave., Oakridge Centre, 604 677 1134; 925 Park Royal Village, West Vancouver, 604-921-6125; Metrotown Centre, Burnaby, 604-430-4659

LIQUID

About 75 percent of the fashion sold at this Kits boutique is locally designed, including Allison Wonderland’s collection of funky, Japanese influenced line of casual wear. We like OK47’s collection of pretty pieces with a smart flare. Liquid also sells lines from South Africa (Ancient Spirit) and the U.S. (Free People). Dresses, skirts, jeans and memorable tops of all kinds, plus the kind of personal attention and advice larger stores almost never provide. 2050 W. Fourth Ave., 604-737-1600

LOU LOU AND LOU LOU LUV

There’s Lou Lou, the stationary store that stocks lovely hand-screened wrapping paper and gift boxes and elegant greeting cards that will add presence to your present. And there’s Loulou Luv, the very girly, very glam accessories store next door. Glitzy jewelry, chic clutches, scarves and home décor items make it a great last-minute gift destination. 3067 W. Broadway, 604-733-0466; 3071 W. Broadway, 604-677-0682

MARK JAMES

In a neighbourhood known for its lazy jock so-called style, men’s wear store Mark James stands out. Dolce & Gabbana, Hugo Boss and Zegna are all represented and here’s a bonus: the first-class customer service matches the upscale collection. 2941 W. Broadway, 604-734-2381

MOULE

Proof that the prairies produce more than wheat and NHL stars, Moulé sells men’s and women’s clothing (running the spectrum from casual to dressy: Odyn jeans, cool cocktail dresses, men’s Penguin shirts) plus home accessories (affordable Umbra pieces or LSA glassware, and collectable Alessi). The Winnipeg-based chain should be your first stop in an 11th-hour panic for the perfect gift. Find Seven Ports painted, glazed vases, Tozai Homes copper bowls, Phuze handmade martini sets ($85 per glass), and a rainbow of leather passport covers and luggage tags ($29) by Abas. But our favourite? The Italian Momo watches (from $595), as in the automotive company that makes accessories like stick shift knobs and steering wheels. Cool. Round the corner and find Lomo cameras (the low-tech camera with a subculture following), jewellery and scented hand creams, or bikinis and underwear. The new kids section on the lower level already has a cult following amoung Kits yummy mummies. 1994 W. Fourth Ave., 604-732-4066. Second location: Park Royal South, West Van, 604-925-3679

NOW AND THEN

A spin on the lifestyle boutique, the shop sells old and new handbags, casual clothes, shoes and cool home accessories. New Evisu bags go for $55 to $90; used records for as little as a buck. Also spotted: Superman-motif flip flops, $15, modern lamps, $65 to $150. 1986 W. Fourth Ave., 604-738-0382

OQOQO

Stylish wardrobe basics that are environmentally conscious and totally patchouli-free? Horray for Lululemon’s new line Oqoqo, starring the softest form-fitting tanks and tees, made with soy and organic cotton and perfect for layering. Look for more structured pieces made from bamboo (the fabric mimics a slinky jersey knit), as well as fitted jackets, short trench coats and trousers for men and women. 2123 W. Fourth Ave., 604-732-6188

PLUM

This locally based chain recently celebrated their 20th anniversary with the release of a new line of dresses called Simone. Pastel hues, voile patterns, cute empire-waist cuts…we know what you’re thinking (Plum has been known for little more than the most basic of basics), but trust us, it’s time to revisit. 2290 W. Fourth Ave., 604-733-0603. Other Vancouver location: 2799 Granville St., South Granville, 604-737-0246, plus other locations across the Lower Mainland

RAY RICKBURN

Clever fellows know that Ray Rickburn is a one-stop shop for a preppy-chic, head-to-toe wardrobe. Think Fred Perry, Paul Smith, Penguin and Lacoste. What’s really notable is the store’s collection of accessories: Juicy Couture cufflinks ($130), Ted Baker ties ($95), and tan loafers by J. Shoes ($165). There’s Otis boxers, too, so all your assets are covered. 2100 W. Fourth Ave., 604-738-9177

SAND

While overrun with restaurants and cafés (Hapa Izakaya being the latest and greatest arrival), the intersection at Cornwall and Yew had no retail stores to speak of, until Sand opened its doors earlier this year in the dead space behind Malone’s. Here you’ll find clothing for men and women from Industry and Lifetime Collective, bikinis by Gsus and Aaron Chang, buttery-soft leather purses from local label Sienna Ray, and pimped out shades like Spy Optics’ limited-edition Diamond Glace ($4,000). There’s also a great collection of Phaidon art books like Fresh Fruits ($49), a series of Tokyo street fashion portraits. 2202 Cornwall Ave., 604-733-4818

SHINE

Who says that a clothing store has to stick to one category? Shine deftly combines second-hand picks (some vintage, some not) with local design and the odd bargain-priced sample. 2970 W. Broadway, 604-738-0738

SPANK

Spank carries an impressive selection of local favs like Chulo Pony, but owner Jana Sehic also delivers exclusive boutique lines from L.A. and eastern Canada (think Voom dresses by Joy Han and Montreal’s Kitchen Orange denim). And did someone say great shoes for under $100? We did, we did! Spank’s got the goods with styles by JC and Seychelles. Royal blue or fire-engine-red pumps, both in patent, are our picks. The vegan Matt&Nat bags deserve a nod as well, especially the Jorja Fox tote (try the canvas and dark brown trim colour way). 2082 W. Fourth Ave., 778-371-1305. Other locations: 1027 Commercial Dr., 604-255-1131; 856 Granville St., Downtown, 604-677-3202

STEPBACK

Co-owners Robin Muxlow and Chris Switzer source most of their antiques and vintage finds from relatives and private collections and produce their own line of distressed pine furniture; the child-sized chairs ($45) and tables ($100) are top-sellers, as is the darling Cicely shelving unit ($590), which is named after the couple’s three-year-old daughter. We love the collection of Bobbsey Twins books ($8 each) and colourful Danica pillows ($16 for small; $20 for large). 3026 W. Broadway, Kitsilano, 604-731-7525

U LIFE

Unity Whittaker travels the globe to source exclusive pieces of jewellery and home decor for her U Life Accessory Store. We adore New York-based Cec Lepage’s cubist lucite vases in colours like chocolate, grape and French blue (starting at $285). Italian glass beads lined with 24-karat-gold flake make for eye-popping accessories. 2028 Vine St., 604-879-9135

ZULU RECORDS

For over 20 years now Zulu Records has been a Vancouver institution. Its huge selection of new and used music, including impossible-to-find imports, has made Zulu a favourite of hardcore music fans. Mind you, despite their reputation for producing the most obscure musical tidbits on demand, Zulu staff are low key, mellow and friendly. Beginner or pro, you are guaranteed a comfortable shopping experience, an amazing find and a bargain price on everything, from the latest Peaches CD to classic Bowie on vinyl. 1972-1976 W. Fourth Ave., Kitsilano, 604-738-3232

Where to Lunch

At Fish Café order blackened salmon over lightly dressed greens, or go for broke and get the calamari with a side of blistering-hot chips. A glass (or two) of Semillon and you’re good to go. 2278 W. Fourth Ave., 604-734-3474.

Get the Newsletter

Own your city with Vancouver’s thrice-weekly scoop on the latest restaurant news, must-shop hotspots and can’t miss events. Rest assured your email is safe with us.