Topshop Invades The Bay (Toronto): Bay & Queen Street Review

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Exactly a year ago I did a piece on my blog on Topshop and Topman’s Pop Up Shop in The Bay at 176 Yonge Street Toronto ((416) 861-9111).  It was quite the popular hit on my blog.  I loved touching the goods from overseas finally on my home turf.  Voila

At the time, I thought the pieces were very European.  Chic and Sexy!  I felt the more quality goods had been left behind in a chest in the UK – whereas we Canadians were left with the cheap and cheerful items to make up for the duty charges incurred sending the pieces overseas.

I kept an open mind upon popping into Topshop’s (19,000 square feet of space) Grand Opening at The Bay on Queen this past Thursday October 4, 2012.  My mate and I arrived around 5 p.m. during our dinner break and the floor was heaving.  There were young ladies queued up with armfuls of clothing, light appetizers were being passed around by dreamy boys laden with Topshop branded uniforms and cups overflowing with chips and pop.  There were girls trying on makeup, stepping into new flats and heels and friendly staff who were helpful without the ‘push’.

The Bay is really bringing their game with this stylish addition of Topshop and Topman’s brand into their retail space.  The shiny metal awnings, peacock blue walls, plaid tops and bottoms, flirty cargo prints, miniskirts for miles, fluorescent denim, styling and profiling bags and a shoe wall that will make any shoeaholic crumble at the seams.  The overall space felt very Cavalli.

I appreciated the floor’s British explosion meets Canuck traditional feel and the sporadically laid out clothing and accessories.  There is a lot of space to move on the floor unlike Topshop in the UK where the floor is simply jammed with product.

The pricing is another issue.  Topshop and Topman clothing is pricey.  I thought that would have changed a tad from last year.  I had my eye on a few bags, accessories, a pea coat – I’m not sure I’d pay full price for some of these pieces.  But a lot of people in the Queen Street store were buying product.  It felt very cultish.  I wanted to buy something but the frugal fashionista in me kept my purse firmly in my bag.  When I lived in the UK, I’d wait for Topshop sales days. I’m wondering what the sales will look like in the store after the grand opening week has passed.  I’m going to need a reason to check in on Topshop.

I also found the pieces were pretty ordinary to what is currently selling at Forever 21 and H&M down the road.  Hmmm…does Topshop think us Canadians won’t go for the daring pieces they brought over last year?  Did those pieces sell well?

The quality of some of the bags were not as stellar as the leather good bags found in Topshop UK.  Looking at the layout of bags on a hanging shelf on the floor – it felt like the more economically priced pieces were sent over for sale with a lot less va va voom.  Purses ranged from $64 to $150.  Some of these bags could not be found online on the Topshop link on The Bay’s website when I returned back to the office.  I really wanted to be able to take advantage of their Thanksgiving weekend online sale offers – BOO!

That said, the holidays are upon us and Topshop already had some cute cocktail dresses, fitted tuxedo jackets, multicolored tights and brassy jewellery up for offer.  It may be worth a looksy when you need a few options as we slide into Holiday Season dressing.

Nevertheless, it’s neat having the Topshop brand in Toronto settling in for a long term relationship with Canadians.  It’s nice to know we have some English options in hipsterdom available to us to add a more polished and refined look to our existing wardrobes.  The times are a changing in Canada’s retail landscape – make sure your pocket books are ready.

Check out Topshop and Topman’s online store at The Bay here:

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