By Anna Rumin
Ever since I saw my friend Mary’s killer cherry-red leather, knee-high boots, I’ve wanted my own. However, I have a size-11 foot, which makes finding killer any-colour boots a challenge. So, when I found a pair of ankle-high, cherry-red La Canadienne suede boots and turned them over and saw the magic number 11, I knew I had to have them – they would look fabulous with jeans, rust cords and my black faux-suede leggings. As I cradled them in my right arm, I used my left to pick up a cashmere turtleneck in turquoise because that is one colour I don’t have, a purple suede belt with a magnificent brass buckle and a faux-fur chestnut shade vest. “More, buy more already,” whined the little annoying voice that I have no control over. But that was enough for one Saturday morning. I smiled at the cashier, handed over $75 and left with my loot. At home, I slipped on the boots and went from five-foot-seven to five-foot-eight, pulled on the turtleneck and faux-fur vest, leashed my ever-obliging dog and went for a rather fashionable walk, if I may say so myself. Yes, all for $75 – you read that right. And now I suppose you want me to share my shopping intel with you.
Encore Fashions on Fourth Avenue is a one-stop shop where you will not find gorgeous clothes, jewellery and shoes. And here is the best part – the proceeds all go to local charities. This fall, for example, Encore has a rack where all proceeds from sales go to Cornerstone Housing for Women. Shopping during COVID hasn’t had quite the same allure as it did in the days when having found a bagful of bargains, I’d meet my girlfriends for a celebratory Chardonnay and basket of gluten-free, deep-fried curried cauliflower.
However, if like me, you know that retail therapy delivers that sometimes much-needed adrenaline thrill, and you love and cannot resist a good bargain, and you also want the added bonus of helping others by shopping, then you must check out Encore Fashions on Fourth.
I’ve been a committed consignment/gently used clothing shopper since university when men’s coats were in style and my mother refused to give me my father’s old one. I still have and wear (well, wore – sigh) the long, black, sequined, figure-hugging vintage dress that I bought well over 20 years ago for a ball – it was $25 at the time. When I travel, I hunt down consignment shops (London comes first place).
When I have a function to go to and don’t feel like spending a lot, I visit my favourites. And when the seasons are a-changing, I also go a-shopping. These days, I’m not only looking at dresses, but also at sweaters, slacks, faux-fur vests, boots, necklaces, belts – they need me and I need them, if only to remember that eventually I’ll meet those girlfriends again with my bag of loot. Yes, I live on a retail-inspired, hedonic treadmill, but having discovered the joy of shopping at Encore, I spend happily, readily, again and again.
Visit Encore Fashions at 109A Fourth Avenue, in the Fourth Avenue Baptist Church, Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Be sure to visit encorefashions.ca.
Anna Rumin is part of Cornerstone Boutique, an initiative that collects and sells fashionable and gently used clothing with proceeds going to Cornerstone Housing for Women. Cornerstone Boutique is partnering with Encore Fashions to sell clothes they collect on behalf of Cornerstone Housing for Women.