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Shopping vacations: St. John’s, Nfld

July 13, 2011

L-A: I’m back from my mini vacation! Still stuffed up, but well enough to at least attempt to blog!

surprisingly clear photo considering the unseasonably insane wind nearly knocked us over on Signal Hill

So, remember when I said there was a time when the Avalon Mall in St. John’s was the heights of fashion for me? Well, it totally was. And when I spent a month in St. John’s 10 years ago, not much had changed – it had a Gap and what else did I really need? (I worked at the Gap at the time, so employee discount meant everything I owned was Gap). I’d spend my lunch breaks on Duckworth and Water Streets, but there really wasn’t any shopping there. And you’re probably thinking: L-A. We know this already. This is a city that is kind of literally at the ends of the earth (or continent). Not exactly a shopping destination. 

Well, a lot has changed in 10 years. In fact, I’m a wee bit jealous of some of the downtown St. John’s shopping. I’d love to import it over here and add it to the stores we already have in Halifax. My only problem was the fact that I had to stop myself from spending tons of cash.

The thing I like about all the stores I visited was that each one carried something by at least one Canadian designer (either clothing or jewellery). I recognized lines like Eve Gravel, Dace, Noujica and Paper People Clothing, among others. Well played, downtown St. John’s. Well played.

Okay, here are the stores I visited:

Twisted Sisters Boutik

I’d heard about Twisted Sisters before, so it was number one on the shopping hit list. It was fun and full of pretty things that both Ally and I would love – Canadian designers, BB Dakota and shoes by Marc Fisher, Fly London, Camper and TOMS. It kind of reminded me of Biscuit, but without the housewares. I almost gave in to the siren song of the TOMS, but they didn’t have any in my size (except glitter TOMS and I’m not ready for that sort of glitter shoe. Yet).  I did buy a fun brooch – it’s a giant flower made of upcycled tulle. It’s going to make a plain cardigan awesome one of these days.

Posie Row

Posie Row (Duckworth Street) was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I liked that they’re committed to fair trade goods, but sometimes that means styles that just aren’t me – a little too flowy and bordering on earth goddess for my liking. But that wasn’t all Posie Row had to offer. They had great scarves (bought one), fun jewellery, hats and fascinators and I found a Montreal designer – Schwiing – that I hadn’t heard of before.

Model Citizens Boutique

Across the street from Posie Row was a store recommended to me by reader Kimberley (sorry – not one Allan Hawco sighting!). The prices were great – dresses and tops that were vintage or gently used labels I love (like Marc Jacobs) for about $60+. They also carry local designers (one I saw was repurposing clothes to make fun new stuff) and new clothing, like Naked and Famous denim for men.

So much nice stuff in there. I was so sad when the dresses I liked the most weren’t in my size (the perils of stores that have only one of each item). I did find fun socks for the husband there. So it wasn’t a total bust. This store definitely needs a repeat visit from me (hopefully my next visit to St. John’s won’t take another 10 years).


I was sent to Tvål on a mission – M.Dubs needed a refill refill on her lip gloss. While I didn’t buy anything for myself, I think the fact that M wanted this one particular lip gloss bad enough to ask my to pick it up from another city says something. Customers ahead of me were asking about their favourite soaps and when they’d see them again. You could see in behind the counter to where they make their soap. And, quite frankly, I can get behind a store with the philosophy that life is too short to use bad soap. Good soap is important stuff (especially if it’s going to anywhere near your face). I’ve got a sample of their soap and I’m looking forward to trying it out.

Johnny Ruth

okay. I totally forgot to take a picture.

M. Dubs had told me about this store and I had forgotten the name and totally stumbled upon it. It just sort of appeared before me on Water Street. And I’m glad it did. Because it was full of pretty things – a lot of them by Canadian designers (and if the clothes aren’t made in Canada, they fit their ethical guidelines). I was super impressed by the dress boutique upstairs and wished I knew what I wanted to wear to fall weddings this year – because this totally would have been the spot to pick one up. They also had lots of pretty jewellery.

Pretty much, every shop I stopped into put me in danger of spending more cash money than is reasonable to spend in one day. My friends in St. John’s might be seeing more of me – because downtown St. John’s is totally a shopping destination. There isn’t a ton of stores, but the ones that are there are quality shopping. (Plus, you know…maybe you’ll spot Allan Hawco as you walk from store to store).

p.s. Also, on a non-shopping/non-fashion note, while visiting The Rooms I totally fell in love with paintings by Kym Greeley. I’m pretty sure it’s a case of “if you have to ask and they are hanging up in a provincial art museum, then you cannot afford” sort of situation, but holy cats! I totally want/need some of her paintings in my life.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Alison permalink
    July 13, 2011 10:42 am

    TOMS have to be the best shoes ever. I got a pair of ultra cute red crochet ones from kas and the r supreme comfy ( no need to break them in) and I actually enjoy wearing them without socks. We shall see how the stand to NYC walking! I’ll be sure to let u know

    • L-A permalink*
      July 13, 2011 1:15 pm

      Everyone tells me how much they love TOMS – but I’m not sold…yet. I almost gave in though. I do like the look of the wedges, but until recently, my income wasn’t enough to justify a new pair of $85 summer shoes. Actually – I tried to buy wedges last summer in the blue stripe, but they didn’t have my size. That’s twice now (and in two different provinces!) that size has prevented me from buying TOMS.

      We’ll see what happens with this summer and if I find my size.

      • MDubs permalink
        July 13, 2011 3:17 pm

        Don’t they get stinky? That’s what I always think when I see people in TOMS (even tho they are cute).

        • July 14, 2011 1:17 pm

          My TOMS don’t stink and I wear my burlaps all the time.


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