Gastown fashion maven Jennifer MacKay reveals style faves

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      For the past 16 years, Jennifer MacKay has been outfitting Vancouver’s style-savvy residents in the finest threads she can get her hands on. The Block, her boutique located in Gastown at the corner of Cordova and Homer, is packed with everything a fashion aficionado might need to create that perfect outfit for everything from a day at the office to a night on the town.

      “We’re at the point where we pretty much carry everything except underwear,” says MacKay, who wears many hats as the store’s owner and director. MacKay and her staff work to put together a carefully curated collection of wearable and affordable pieces that includes everything from basics and essentials to unique, hard-to-find designer selections.

      The shop itself is open and inviting, complete with a stunning custom-built curved wall of shoes that a friend of MacKay designed especially for the store. “I’d wear every pair of shoes we have here,” she says of the assortment of everything from Loeffler Randall heels—like the sleek pair MacKay is rocking—to a rare pair of rubber Converse high-tops.

      MacKay’s style sense has been an integral part of running a successful business—which is precisely why we were curious to find out where she goes to keep her closet stocked with the latest and greatest items. Here are MacKay’s picks for Vancouver’s style bests.

      Best place to style-watch

      Vancouver Art Gallery
      750 Hornby Street

      “The Vancouver Art Gallery, or smaller art openings in the city. It’s a great place to see many different types of people, and you get a lot of tourists at galleries as well, so you’re seeing styles from everywhere.”

      Best place for unique accessories

      Eugene Choo
      3697 Main Street

      “Eugene Choo for watches, blankets, vintage scarves, and hats—it’s my husband’s store. Sometimes he’s got some really interesting vintage pieces and one-offs, even though the store sells new items.”

      Best vintage shopping

      Duchesse Vintage
      430 Columbia Street

      Community Thrift & Vintage
      41 West Cordova Street

      The Main Exchange
      185 East 16th Avenue

      Erin Templeton
      511 Carrall Street

      “Duchesse, Community Thrift, and the Main Exchange are all great for vintage. The Main Exchange just opened, and a lot of people that I know really like it too. I love Erin Templeton, where you can also check out her leather-bag collection.”

      Best local designer

      “Sunja Link. She creates modern wearable pieces, which are designed and made in Vancouver. With that considered, it’s priced quite reasonably. What I’ve found is that her stuff really appeals to a lot of our customers, and it sits really well with a lot of items and lines that are much more expensive.”

      Best splurge

      Grimson & Sons
      470 Granville Street

      “A custom ring made by David at Grimson & Sons. David is a jeweller and he just makes these wonderful rings. He made this lion ring for me using a vintage mold, so they have this vintage feel to them, but they’re all new and custom-made.”

      Best neighbourhood for shopping

      “Definitely Gastown or Main Street.”

      Best shoe store

      The Block
      350 West Cordova Street

      “Sorry, I’m a bit biased, but there is not a shoe in my store I would not wear. Some shoe stores have too much stuff, but I think we have a well-edited selection of styles. The guys who work here help me pick out the best men’s styles, too.”

      Best unexpected place to find unique items

      Baker’s Dozen Antiques
      3520 Main Street

      “This place is great for stuff, not clothes. I always go there first when I need a unique gift but have no idea what to get. They always set me straight.”

      Best place for formal wear

      The Room at the Bay
      674 Granville Street

      “There’s some really great stuff at the Room at the Bay, and they definitely push the envelope. I’ve been surprised by them, because in the past they’ve had some really nonconservative pieces.”

      Best place to find a winter coat

      Violet Boutique
      1563 West 6th Avenue

      Eugene Choo
      3697 Main Street

      Hudson’s Bay Company
      674 Granville Street

      “The Block, Violet, and Eugene Choo are all great options…but if those don’t work, just buy a classic Hudson’s Bay coat.”