It has only been a few weeks since my first-ever trip to Canada’s West Coast, but I still find myself daydreaming about Vancouver. Aside from its epic hiking trails, craft beer and laid-back vibes, what I miss most about the city is its abundance of retailers geared toward guys. In contrast to Toronto’s relatively threadbare offering, there was no shortage of places to visit around Gastown, Kitsilano Beach and elsewhere. I made many stops, but you can check out some of my favourites below.
The level of meticulous curation at Neighbour was practically palpable. Tucked behind trendy lofts on Water Street, the shop pads displays of minimalist clothing brands (Acne Studios, Norse Projects and Stutterheim struck me as particularly emblematic) with cool items (I’m a sucker for Le Labo candles) and reams of style mags from Europe and the United States. The space itself was a pleasure to venture into thanks to clean architecture that emphasizes the wares within.
MASC Skin Care
Located in Yaletown, MASC Skin Care is one of the few shops in Canada that deals exclusively in men’s grooming and shaving products — only Toronto’s MenEssentials features a similar offering. The place is stocked with double-edge razors, shaving cream, pomade and facial cleansers — I could go on — making it a one-stop shop for everything a guy needs to look great. There are even some great vegan products on the shelves. I was particularly impressed by the smattering of Canadian brands such as Big Red alongside more well-known companies such as Brooklyn Grooming Co., EvolutionMan, Malin+Goetz and Baxter of California.
As one of Vancouver’s most iconic purveyors of streetwear, Livestock deals primarily in sneakers, snapbacks and other sports apparel. So, what’s my interest? Like much of the menswear industry itself, my tastes are shifting to include a healthy dose of high-end, street-inspired fashion. Whether you’re looking for minimal kicks or something wilder, the West 4th location’s a great place to start if yours are, too. Good news for Torontonians: there’s even a location on Spadina.
Lululemon Lab in Cambie Village provides a space for the brand’s designers to test out avant-garde styles, many elements of which eventually find their way into the mass market. Rather than forcing you to wait, however, the Lab lets you purchase these experimental pieces with the satisfaction that they’re one-of-a-kind. The selection of menswear is enormous compared to your typical Lulu store, and features everything from bold mesh shorts to technically advanced button-ups. I grabbed an outfit myself — you can see the photoshoot here.
For a closer look at these great spots, click through the gallery below.