Store for teen girls that helps you create outfit in Toronto?
June 22, 2022 10:54 AM   Subscribe

I need to get an outfit for my 15-year-old developmentally delayed daughter to attend a couple of awards ceremonies/grads next week. I'm looking for something respectable-ish, don't take attention away from the grads but look nice. But I am completely lost. I've browsed online, I just got back from Winners, and I have no idea whatsoever. Is there a store in or near downtown Toronto that I could walk into with her, say, "Help us find an outfit" with a description as vague as the one I've just given, and get someone to help us put something together head-to-toe for $100-$150?
posted by clawsoon to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total)
Perhaps you could rent a dress from The Fitzroy?
posted by dobbs at 11:05 AM on June 22

Response by poster: (Not so sure about a rental... a rip, poo, or pee is a distinct possibility. Comfort over fashion on this one, too.)
posted by clawsoon at 11:12 AM on June 22

Maybe this is a good occasion for a floral midi dress? They’re on trend, long enough to avoid most wardrobe malfunctions, summer appropriate, and available at most price points. Pair with some flat sandals and call it a day.
posted by A Blue Moon at 11:24 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]

Personal shoppers do exactly that (interview you, take your money and give you options of clothes in your size that meet your specific needs). Most non discount department stores have personal shopper services (Nordstrom, Macys, etc) but it will be more than $150 with the items and their costs- probably $50 for an hour of their work plus the costs of the clothes, shoes, etc., and they are unlikely to be focusing on the sales rack! You can also likely find and hire a personal shopper independently that will go to whatever stores rather than buying from Nordstrom, likely to be cheaper because they will find that $40 dress at Winners, but still above your total cost as you will probably be paying them for 2-3 hours of work to run around town. If you have $150 total I might suggest asking one of your adult friends who likes to shop or an teen/20s-aged sister or cousin of your daughters’ friends to take her shopping at the discount store, spend $125 to get a new outfit, and buy them a nice lunch as a thank you. I am not being judgey here, all my clothes come from Ross Dress For Less, which seems exactly like Winners, and it’s totally overwhelming to stare down that dress rack if you have no idea what is fashionable or “acceptable.”
posted by holyrood at 11:24 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]

Here's two outfits that should get you through any Toronto event. I picked these dresses because they won't require a strapless bra.

Outfit one - evening/more formal

This dress:
Any lightweight shawl she loves
Any necklace she loves
Any black shoes she's comfortable in (ballet flats are good)
Black or deep coloured purse

Outfit two - daytime or evening

This dress in any colour: or this dress:
These slides if she won't trip, or similar:
Light coloured purse
posted by warriorqueen at 11:35 AM on June 22 [10 favorites]

I’m not sure what the deal is in Canada, but in the US Nordstrom lets you meet with a stylist online or in person for free, and no need to buy things. It’s worth checking out, especially since you’ll probably end up in this situation again in the future.
posted by Mizu at 12:10 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]

There are a number of nice, inexpensive dresses at Uniqlo. I find Uniqlo stuff of reasonably high quality and durability too.

I find shopping at Winners bewildering for myself, let alone a teenage girl's important occasion. It's great to find a bargain if you're lucky, but if you're looking for something specific that you have to have next week, it's not where I would go. So don't worry if you found that difficult; it's kinda how the place is designed.
posted by grouse at 12:26 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]

Joe Fresh has some nice jersey and linen summer dresses and they carry fun/fancy cheap jewellery, too, though it's not on their online store. Something like the Belted Linen Blend Dress in any colour/pattern with knit flats or strappy sandals and a long necklace, or the Elastic Waist Dress or Midi Tank Dress with espadrille sandals and big earrings or a blingy bracelet.

For brands that I hear are cool with the teens, maybe Brandy Melville (
Dress, necklace) or Forever 21 (Floral maxi dress and sandals, Smocked midi dress and studded jelly sandals)? Forever 21 definitely carries dresses/shoes/jewellery in one store but it is so loud and clubby in store that I'm not sure that you would want to take her in there. Reitmans also has some nice options (square neck swing dress, short sleeve wrap midi dress, sleeveless ruffle jumpsuit) but you'd probably have to hit up another store for shoes/accessories.

If you bring her in when they're not too busy, independent stores like Risque or Coal Miner's Daughter or Fresh Collective would probably be able to help you out here, but it will likely cost more than your budget.
posted by phlox at 12:44 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]

I'd try H&M and Zara first.
posted by SNACKeR at 1:36 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]

As mentioned above, a simple short sleeve dress and a pair of black or brown flats will suffice for pretty much any occasion. Moving forward, if this is an ongoing difficulty for you, and you want more assistance, think about hiring a personal stylist. You can meet with them and they can learn of your daughter's preferences, then they can shop for you. This is one, but I'm sure there are many. It may be worthwhile to outsource this task.
posted by hydra77 at 1:50 PM on June 22

I can’t improve on the suggestions people have made, just want to add - your daughter might feel more comfortable sitting down with a dress that hits at least her knees. (It’s the sort of thing that would have made a difference at that age that I probably wouldn’t have thought about.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:46 PM on June 22

Best answer: To add to the above, I think you would have more luck at Zara or H&M in particular than you might have had at Winners because Zara and H&M operate more on the concept of "seasons" and want to encourage people to buy full outfits so lots of their stuff matches together in a coherent way, which is not really what Winners is about (their stuff is really just whatever leftovers are available).

Of the two, Zara is more on the dressier side of things than H&M and would have more that would read "nice" but their price point is typically higher than H&M and their clothes are also typically a lot more structured and less comfortable than H&M too.

They don't do personal shoppers at either store, but I am sure they would be happy to help you put something together anyway. I would suggest calling ahead earlier in the day when they're not busy and explaining that you're looking for help - including that it's for your developmentally disabled daughter - and asking if there is someone who is working who would be willing to help you out in a more hands-on way that you could then ask for by name once you arrive. I'd bet there would be, as that would help their day pass more quickly than just their normal anonymous ebb and flow of customers and it would also probably be nice to help someone out in this way. You might particularly have success with this approach if you choose a less-busy more suburban Zara or H&M that you could go to on a weekday during the day rather than a busier downtown one (think more like Yorkdale than Eaton Centre). That's also what staff are there for.

Good luck!
posted by urbanlenny at 11:32 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I would suggest calling ahead earlier in the day when they're not busy and explaining that you're looking for help - including that it's for your developmentally disabled daughter - and asking if there is someone who is working who would be willing to help you out in a more hands-on way that you could then ask for by name once you arrive.

This was the perfect advice, and made everything go smoothly. They had a couple of dresses ready when we showed up, my daughter instantly picked the colour of Spongebob, and they were super-helpful with shoes and bras and hair clips.

(FWIW, the store we ended up going with, recommended by an old friend on Facebook, was Ardene.)
posted by clawsoon at 1:17 PM on June 23 [9 favorites]

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