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The Joys of High-Waisted Shorts, Huaraches & Muumuus: Q&A with the founders of Citizen Vintage, Montreal’s Newest Vintage Boutique

Montreal’s vintage scene got a boost earlier this summer with the opening of new boutique Citizen Vintage in the Mile End. After a series of successful vintage pop-up shops, boutique founders Brooke Doyle, Lara Kaluza and Becky Emlaw decided to set up shop permanently, much to the delight the city’s fashion lovers. We caught up with the lovely ladies of Citizen Vintage on the eve of their Montreal designer Pop-up (July 28-30 @ Citizen Vintage, 5330 St Laurent) to chat about trends, dressing for the heat and the dream of better-dressed men.

So, how did you get into the vintage game?
We each have a background in online retail and last year developed a really successful series of pop-up shops in Montreal, first under the name Seven Days of Vintage. The sales were a week at a time in various locations and featured our combined collections. We had so much fun setting up shop and were always so sad to have to pack it all up again at the end of a sale, so we decided to settle down and get serious!

You’re hosting a Montreal designer pop-up sale with Quartier Mode from July 28th to 30th, what can we expect?
The event will feature collections of clothing and jewelry from nine local Montreal designers: Eve Gravel, Remy and Mercy, Noir-de-Mars, Lady Like, Patterns Recognitions, Ramona Lisa, Estrella bijoux, Daian Tang and Blue Eyed Coquette. We’re really excited to work with everyone and think it will be an amazing opportunity to shop for both designer and vintage pieces all in one place! There will also be an opening party Thursday, July 28th from 5-7pm, which will be a great chance to get first dibs on the collections. 

What are some of your favourite items in the store?
Our collections are constantly changing, but right now we have a great selection of high waisted denim shorts, vintage swimwear and silk blouses in amazing, bright gem tones. My absolute favorites though are a silk bomber jacket with an atlas print, a sage colored, studded jumpsuit and two pairs of leather shorts in grey and blue metallic. In our men’s collection we have several gorgeous pairs of leather wingtip shoes and some beautiful pieces of leather luggage.

What’s your Holy Grail of vintage? 
We’re always looking for pieces that translate to current trends, so it changes often. We’re usually really excited to find Brazilian and Italian made shoes, well-tailored, high-waisted pants, and anything with an interesting print, pattern or drape. We’re more concerned with wearability than designer name brands, though currently have a beautiful pair of Donna Karan peep-toe heels and just sold an adorable Dolce & Gabbana crop top. 

You’re handed $1000 for a shopping spree and a plane ticket to wherever you want. Where do you go and where will you shop?
It would be a direct tie between Paris, London or Los Angeles for the flea markets!

It’s been face-meltingly hot lately; how do you dress to stay cool, without resorting to a muumuu? (Not that there’s anything wrong with muumuus!)
Obviously, less is best, but also be mindful of fabric and fit. Denim short shorts two sizes too small will NOT keep you comfy and cool!  Anything loose and flowy, like sheer blouses, maxi skirts and dresses are perfect and, if properly belted and accessorized, are completely acceptable alternatives to your mother’s muumuu. Also, SUNSCREEN. Deep, dark tans are beautiful but will leave you as leathery as your huarache sandals.

Citizen Vintage is no stranger to the Q&A format; every week on http://citizenvintage.com they profile a Montrealer who loves vintage and fashion. Well, we’re asking the questions now, so we turned the tables on Citizen Vintage, asking them some of their favourite queries:

What is the most frequently worn garment in your wardrobe right now?

Brooke: My high waisted gingham shorts and the leather rucksack I bought at a flea market in Berlin are absolute staples. I wear the shorts with every single blouse I own (clashing patterns be damned!) and can fit my entire life into my backpack, perfect for bike trips, afternoons at the pool and picnics.
Becky: Right now I’m wearing a dress a friend made me from a really pretty vintage fabric and it’s polyester!  I know it sounds crazy in this heat but the secret to a polyester dress is to keep it sleeveless and flowing. It’s perfect for a hot day when you can think about what to wear. Slip it over your head and walk out the door.
Lara:  I’ve been wearing a navy and white polka dot romper a lot lately, it’s simple like a dress but is easier to bike in. I usually pair it with a woven belt and my tan leather shoulder bag. In the winter I can’t wait to pull out my summer wardrobe but when it’s as hot as it’s been lately it’s hard to be creative with your style. Now I can’t wait for fall!

What is your favourite occasion to dress for? 

Brooke: Traveling! I’m always inspired to see my wardrobe differently when factors like luggage space and new locale are in play.
Becky: I like dressing for my lazy days off. When you have time to linger and play with your wardrobe you can come up with some unexpected and fun outfits. So when I put together a particular inspired outfit I like to spend the afternoon walking around Mile End people watching. There is so much creative style in this neighbourhood.
Lara: Parties! I love having the opportunity to put a little more thought and effort into what I’m wearing. I also love wearing heels but find them impractical for everyday use so parties are a great time to pull them out. This weekend I’m going to a retro Hawaiian tiki themed party, finally, a chance to wear my emerald green palm leaf dress!

Which trend would you like to see retired forever? 

Brooke: I think following trends is healthy to a degree, if they’re incorporated into an existing sense of personal style. That said, anything done to absolute death should be at least revamped a little: I don’t know how many girls with top knot buns and oversized glasses wearing green army jackets with leather granny boots I saw last fall. I really hope we don’t have a repeat!
Becky:  Low-rise jeans have to stop.  It does nothing for a woman’s figure and it`s super uncomfortable.  I know we can’t all do the high-rise jeans but mid rise is perfectly flattering and sweet.
Lara: I’m sick of seeing dirty hipsters all over Montreal. You have decent clothes, wash them every once and awhile! 

Which trend would you like to see make a comeback this year?

Brooke: I would love to see better-dressed men. Can that be a trend? Seriously, just invest in one beautiful pair of shoes and a decent haircut! It will change your life…
Becky:  Well I’m seeing some pretty beautiful crochet halters and tanks out on the streets so I’d like to see that sweet look continue this year.
Lara: Hats! All styles. For men and women. Hats are one thing I’m seriously lacking in my own personal collection, I would love to have a 1920s cloche hat for fall.

Thanks Citizen Vintage!

Citizen Vintage and Quartier Mode host a Montreal designers Pop-up with this week from July 28th to 30th, 11 am to 7pm. Don’t forget the opening night party on Thursday July 28th from 5pm to 7pm.

And check out Citizen Vintage during their regular opening hours,

Saturday – Wednesday: 11am-7pm
Thursday & Friday: 11am-8pm.
@ Citizen Vintage, 5330 St Laurent

Heidi Craig

All photos by Martin Reisch www.safesolvent.com

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