Story by Caitlin Agnew. Illustrator Cleo Kendall was inspired by Blair Waldorf, the modern arbiter of preppy chic.
If you’ve been paying attention to what women are wearing on their feet lately, you’ll have noticed a major shift away from the ubiquitous ballet flat to a pointier, manlier, and more practical shoe. Yes, oxfords and brogues (brogues being the ones with the detailing and “W” shape at the top) are the current shoe of choice for Toronto’s fashion-conscious pedestrians.
The running shoe for grown-ups, oxfords and brogues are as versatile and practical as they are fashionable. Wear them with jeans, wear them with a dress, wear them to go shopping or out to brunch; they’re the perfect daytime shoe, offering comfort, support, and a polished finish to any outfit.
Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf loves them, and with the great selection available in Toronto, you’re sure to find a pair (or four) that you’ll love too. Here are 10+ of our favourites.
Named after the French term for private hunting ground, Chasse Gardée is as well-curated as its name suggests. The boutique specializes in recherché brands, such as Mona Kowalska’s private label, A’Détacher, and LD Tuttle, the masters in layered-leather footwear. Fans of Jeffrey Campbell’s popular line—and men who have a thing for Belstaff, the Italian military brand—will be pleased to find both resting on pedestals against the brick wall. Yet the most unexpected, made-my-heart-skip-a-beat find were the grey Jules Power sweatpants I had seen only a few weeks earlier on the runway. I’ve put them on my shopping list along with the candy-coloured oxfords by Dieppa Restrepo and the stunning yet understated black leather Belstaff doctor bag that called to me from one of the highest pedestals.
As I chatted with owner Daniela Bosco on the big comfy couch in the “living room” area of the store, she confessed that, aside from offering excellent accessories, what she really wants is to envelop her customers in the warm, hearth-like atmosphere of Chasse Gardée amid the area’s austere warehouse aesthetic. Her wish appears to be coming true. During our conversation, the sun shone in through the glass storefront, Daniela’s sweet dog, Max, lounged in the corner and friendly neighbours dropped in to say hello.