Photo: My well-used runners. Much cheaper than a car, and fat-burning! Hit the tarmac today!
When I was writing the previous section on recommended vintage & consignment clothing stores, I spent a few irritating hours trying to recall the name and/or location of a charity store I had previously visited that supported women’s shelters for domestic abuse victims. I did some creative Google searching but came up empty handed. I figured that this shop, on the periphery of Yaletown, had disappeared and become some sad, snooty little boutique with high ambitions but little substance (admittedly, there’re not a lot of Yaletown shops that I go ga-ga over).
One thing Yaletown does have going for it other than the new and shiny CanadaLine station is it’s WalkScore. What is a WalkScore, you ask? It’s a rating generated by WalkScore.com to compare the ease by which a pedestrian can access parks, public infrastructure (libraries, recreation centres, schools), retail businesses, services, public transportation and ‘community centres’ – areas or main arteries for public gatherings, outdoor markets, etc. The website ranks the most ‘walkable’ cities in America (and not for Canada, of course) hoping to influence where you should relocate. Vancouver has the same average walk-score as Seattle if you are wondering (72% - 6th place in the most walkable cities in the USA). The website even boasts the astonishing fact that people who live in ‘walkable’ neighbourhoods (note the correct spelling of ‘neighbourhood’, thank you very much) weigh 7 lbs less than those in sprawling neighbourhoods (suburbia)!
If you weighed 3.17 kg less, wouldn’t you feel like showing off those new curves in trendy yet affordable clothing? My Sister’s Closet is quoted by the BWSS (Battered Women’s Support Services) as being “a thrift store [that] sells sample and second-hand clothing”. The Yaletown location also accepts donations of designer clothing from local Yaletown boutiques, and has at least five ‘resident artisans and designers’ who sell their wares here as well. The store not only benefits the BWSS financially, it also serves as a place for women who have left abusive relationships to learn job skills through volunteering at this retail location. I didn’t know that the salespeople were volunteers or were starting on new, happier lives – they are always friendly, warm and polite, and offer a nice balance between the typical completely hands-off thrift store employees and the totally engaged sales assistants that you’d expect from a Yaletown boutique. I bought a lovely, flouncy skirt there ($12 – H&M), and I noticed that they even have a menswear section, which I believe is a recent addition. The prices are slightly higher than your typical Salvation Army or ValueVillage, but the atmosphere is infinitely better. If you like the idea of vintage but can’t handle the abysmal or non-existent displays and the crowded rows of squeaking hangers with an endless assortment of musty, size XXXXL padded-shoulder blouses, then My Sister’s Closet is a welcome alternative. The store is tastefully arranged and decorated, and there’s a limited selection of choice vintage and new articles. They even have a dedicated section for the well-endowed and robust woman, and at a glance I’m happy to report that there were no nasty padded-shoulder printed blouses in sight.
My Sister’s Closet is located at Seymour and Helmcken, and has a WalkScore of 97% - "A Walker's Paradise" (Yaletown). That’s only 1% less than my workplace downtown (98%), and it’s even better than my Kits digs (91%) which is 2 blocks from the heart of 4th avenue. As you can see, it’s easy to start getting competitive about your WalkScore, especially when the website points out that “6% of WalkScore users have a better score than you”. But I’d like to encourage you to think positively – if you are stuck living in the ‘burbs and have to walk 4km to the IGA, but you choose to walk instead of drive, you won’t be that person who weighs 7 lbs more. In fact, you’ll be in better shape than the Yaletowners who simply have to slip on the Christian Louboutins or Pradas and press “M” in the elevator to hit up Urban Fare. And you’re probably less likely to tread in Chihuahua turds, too.
My Sister’s Closet: http://www.bwss.org/programs/bwss-retail-program/
(2 locations – Yaletown and Commercial Drive)
and http://www.bwss.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/mysistersclosetpostcards.pdf or on Facebook