This Canadian metropolis anchors the country’s northeast with a cultured sensibility and European core. On the streets of Montreal, you’ll find men in slim suits and relaxed classic weekend wear. Ladies, meanwhile, have city slicker style with easy dresses that go from day to night and attention to draping and cut. And with the city’s annual jazz festival around the corner (June 28-July 7), it’s not only the best time to take advantage of live performances, but also the pleasant weather and stylish neighborhoods.
Women: Modern French Chic
Styles veer towards chic with an underlining note of utilitarianism here. For the French touch, look for sweet polo collars and simple tailoring like this floral print Equipment one-piece ($280). The romper style is convenient for sprawling on the grass at Lafontaine Park or for hopping on a bike to take in the 40-hectare park’s many bike trails. For seasoned city gals, a versatile day bag like this cross-body style by Cuval is the way to go ($135). The size is just right to go from day to night.
Speaking of evening fun, try a local designer on for size. Melissa Nepton is known for her well-draped dresses in city-smart neutral hues. This beige frock ($255) is lightweight and airy for 80-degree temperatures. And in accessories, Charlotte Hostens has some artful designs like this mixed materials bracelet ($105). Pair with a sophisticated wedge for comfort and style. French designer Pierre Hardy offers gorgeous and sculptural options like this suede wedge ($416). Take a light sweater, such as this super soft Enza Costa cotton-cashmere sweater ($73.50) when the temperatures dip at night.
Men: Dapper and Slim
Montreal men really turn it up a notch when it comes to day-to-day fashion. The trick to the urban dweller look is all about mixing tailoring with classic pieces. Start with an old school pair of Dickies in a clean and slim cut ($19.97). Roll them just above the ankles to show off a pair of summery chambray espadrilles ($25 at Topman). A lightweight sailor shirt rounds out the look. Navy and white is the standard, but if you’re feeling daring, try an unconventional color combination like this peachy pink and pistachio green design by French label A.P.C. ($52.50). Loop on a belt, if necessary, and no reason to go too crazy here. A small detail, like a down-the-middle stitch, will do handsomely ($60 by Surface to Air). For walking the city, a pair of sleek sunglasses will pull your entire look together. Aviators and wayfarer styles are also a good option. Especially for men, who generally have narrower faces, a nose bridge detail like the cut-out of this handmade Super tortoiseshell pair ($211) is a nice touch.
Montreal is also a good city to experiment with a man bag. This dapper houndstooth flap bag by Jack Spade ($425) is large enough to stow a smallish laptop, but not so wieldy that you can’t tote it around as you take in the city.
What to Do
The famous jazz festival will keep you plenty entertained, with headliners like Meshell Ndegeocello and Janelle Monae this year. But if you have some side plans in mind, then check out the city’s hip boutiques. There’s also the Underground City, literally a giant, below-ground complex of malls that’s ideal in the winter to ward off the icy temperatures but still novel in the summer for its size and span. (Located near Place Bonaventure.)
Over in the Plateau-Mont-Royal neighborhood, the vibe is buzzing with bohemian bookstores and cafes. For a taste of poutine, fries dripping with gravy and cheese curds, go to Au Pied Cochon. The classic goes for $7 but if you prefer a gut-busting experience, try the poutine topped with foie gras for $23. The classic French restaurant L’Express on Rue Saint-Denis is also a winner, although a more fanciful one. Book early as reservations are snapped up fast.
Women: Top left, The Pepin Shop; Bottom left, Steven Alan Holdings, LLC.; Left center, NET-A-PORTER.COM; Top right center, theOutnet.com; Bottom right center, ZOE
Right, MÃ©lissa Nepton; Men: Top left, A.P.C.; Bottom left, Need Supply Company; Top center, Surface to Air; Bottom center, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; Top right, JACK SPADE; Bottom right, Topshop USA