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The Ottawa Style Files

Shopping is an essential part of exploring a new place, so WHERE gives you the scoop on five top shops. Whether you’re from a big city or a small town, Ottawa’s got just the store for you. By Misa Kobayashi.

Pretty dresses abound at Victoire.

At the downtown location, an old dresser displays knickknacks and vintage jewellery, while pretty party dresses line the wall. This girly shop boasts clothing lines with classic designs that flatter a woman’s body, while still offering a bit of edge. Nearly all the stock comes from within Canada, and popular items include Laura Langford leather bags (made locally), Preloved clothing made from recycled materials, and walls of funky jewellery made by Ottawa artists. Prices range from $5 for quirky greeting cards to $220 for a dress or coat.
246 Dalhousie St., 613-321-1590, and 1282 Unit B. Wellington St. W., 613-421-0089. www.victoireboutique.com

Workshop highlights local, female designers.

This is the home of the handmade. Workshop carries more than 180 small designers — half of whom are local, and nearly all of whom are Canadian — with an emphasis on startup women designers. One such brand is Twiss & Weber, a line that features eco-fabrics and great hats and scarves for fall. While higher-end items like dresses could go for $200, you can also find a range of delightful and inexpensive gifts, such as $2 fabric brooches, hilariously raunchy soaps, and cards. Check out the selection of fun print bags, unique stuffed animals, and jewellery (there’s plenty in the $25 to $50 range).
242 1/2 Dalhousie St., 613-789-5534. www.workshopboutique.ca

Flock has an eclectic mix for clothing, home, and baby.

Owned by the same ladies who own Workshop, Flock offers both a fun shop and a classroom space for sewing and craft classes. The price range is the same as their other store, but this one is geared towards an older urban crowd, with evening dresses and work wear (think suit sets with flair), plus a housewares and a baby section. Check out the website for classes taking place in the downstairs workspace.
1275 Wellington St. W., 613-695-0834. www.flockboutique.ca

Reap & Sew is made for the fashionable gentleman.

Not to forget the well-dressed gent, this menswear boutique showcases brands from around the world that are locally available exclusive to this small shop. A step up from street wear, you’ll find popular brands of clothing such as 18 Waits, with its well tailored items and attention to detail, Wings + Horns from Vancouver, Levi’s “Best of Red Tab” (a higher-end version of the classic brand), and a range of unique graphic tees from local and Canadian artists. Pick up the much-loved “Streets of Ottawa T-shirt” as a hip souvenir ($30).
401 Dalhousie St., 613-562-4545. www.reapandsewshop.com

Slaysh offers fashionable streetwear.

This Glebe boutique carries fashion forward street wear and caters to both men and women. Born from the skate, snowboard, and surf culture, this store isn’t your typical board shop, as the brands also lend themselves to people who just love fashion. The stock, which is carefully chosen by the owner, includes Pointer Footwear from the U.K. ($150-$170), Montreal-based Uranium jewellery ($20-$70), and Canadian clothing brand Lifetime Collective.
775 Bank St., 613-667-5830. www.slaysh.com

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