Best of Big D 2010: Shopping
Our preferred places for procuring great stuff in Dallas.
Best Shop for Affordable Women’s Clothing
Krimson & Klover
Owner Ariana Peña stocks this shop with affordable versions of the latest trends. See a frilly frock at Neiman Marcus for $2,000, and you can probably find a similar style here for $200. Most things fall in the $120 to $260 range, but batches are bought in small numbers, so you won’t likely see your outfit on someone else. Locally designed jewelry lines such as Rory Ashton and CLQ Designs are sold up front for $40 to $60.
Readers’ pick: Flirt Boutique
Best Record Store
There is a magical (and, if you’re on a budget, frustrating) quality about a great record store. You go in for one thing and come out with a stack of discs you didn’t know you wanted but suddenly, immediately, absolutely had to have. That’s what happens every single time we go into Good Records. The staff is knowledgeable and opinionated (and free with both), and the store is basically set up (with plentiful listening stations) to separate you from your paycheck. The free in-store performances make up for it.
Readers’ pick: Half Price Books
Best Men’s Clothing
Perhaps it’s the low ceilings and maze-like interior adorned with dark wood. Or maybe it’s the natty salespeople catering to your every need. Whatever the cause, there is something rather quaint and gentlemanly about shopping at Stanley Korshak. Trendy clothing is replaced with the largest collection of Brioni, Kiton, and Zegna in the city, as well as made-to-measure collections by Oxxford and Ralph Lauren. Civility never looked this good.
Readers’ pick: Neiman Marcus
Best Custom Clothier
Don’t call them custom clothiers. Owners and husband-and-wife team Gable and Ed Shaikh consider their chic Highland Park Village boutique a “lifestyle atelier,” and their bespoke suits and accessories are without peer. Suits by Cesare Attolini and d’Avenza can run $5,000-plus. Handcrafted cashmere ties, footwear, and the like bring a taste of Savile Row to North Texas. 74 Highland Park Village. 214-770-4743.
Readers’ pick: Culwell & Son
Best Children’s Clothing
Fairy wings, wands, and tutus induce immediate baby fever when you walk in the door. We love the Little Giraffe blankies (carried around by celeb spawn like Suri Cruise), Kissy Kissy layettes, popular Luna Lullaby and Aden & Anais swaddling blanets, heart-melting lovies (those precious blankets with animal heads attached), and glass bottles for plastic-fearing parents. Bigger kids can ditch OshKosh B’gosh here with racks of Juicy Couture, Splendid, J Brand, and Ella Moss clothing.
Readers’ pick: Animal Crackers
Best Vintage/Consignment Furniture Shop
Forget taking up smoking. There are easier ways to channel your inner Don and Betty Draper. Instead, head straight to Vinya, the consignment shop owned by Debra Owens, and load up on midcentury modern home accessories. Owens, a noted interior designer, has created thoughtful vignettes throughout the light-filled space. And her prices are fair. So unlike some other places, your treasure hunt here won’t be a chore that leaves you poor.
Readers’ pick: Again & Again
Best Comic Book Store
Zeus Comics and Collectibles
If you’re looking for back issues of Neal Adams’ run on Strange Adventures from the late ’60s, you probably already know to try Titan Comics instead. That’s not to say Zeus is only for the casual fan. It’s not. But with a welcoming environment and well-curated mix of books and toys, it’s certainly a better spot for someone just falling in love with comics. No one plays matchmaker better than Richard Neal and his staff (immortalized in the genius web series they produce, The Variants). It’s exactly what you want and need in a comic book shop.
Readers’ pick: Zeus Comics and Collectibles
Best Toy Store
Froggie’s 5 and 10
There is a serious problem with the selection at Froggie’s: there is way too much to choose from. Whenever we take a kid there (or an adult, for that matter), the afternoon vanishes as he browses through the racks and stacks of gewgaws and gadgets, none of which have anything to do with what superhero movie is currently in theaters. Then comes the hard part: trying to decide which one(s) to take home.
Readers’ pick: Froggie’s 5 and 10
Best Home Accessories Store
Once upon a time, Nest was more matronly than mod. Those days are long gone thanks to Heather Wiese-Alexander, who transformed the Snider Plaza staple when she bought it in 2007. Americana tchotchkes have been replaced with art shows, sleek furniture by Cedri Martini, and Arte di Murano chandeliers. Local tastemaker Donald Fowler joined Wiese-Alexander’s team, and the two travel to Italy often for fabulous foreign finds. But the best part about shopping at Nest? Everyone is so darn nice. As Mom might say: manners never go out of style.
Readers’ pick: Nest
Best Furniture Store
Shopping for modern furniture in the Design District can be intimidating—and depressing. You might find the perfect sofa at Scott + Cooner, but in order to afford it, you’d have to sell the house. Sort of defeats the purpose. Enter Smink. For more than 20 years, store owners (and sisters) Jennifer and Autumn Smink have showcased some of the best in modern art and Italian furniture lines such as Minotti, Arflex, Living Divani, and Porro. Bonus: the store is open to the public, which means you won’t have to hire a designer to access the goods.
Readers’ pick: Weir’s Furniture Village
Best Gift Shop
Let’s be honest: most gift shops are schlocky, full of novelty gifts and “I’m With Stupid”-type t-shirts. Nuvo bucks that trend with the most highly curated and wallet-friendly collection of tchotchkes in the city. Whether your recipient’s tastes run traditional or modern, Nuvo has the perfect gift, as well as an exhaustive supply of greeting cards from thoughtful to risque. Throw in complimentary gift wrapping as well, and it makes this Oak Lawn boutique
the ultimate one-stop shop.
Readers’ pick: Bishop Street Market
What’s not to love about this bookstore? Stocking an average of 100,000 titles and hosting weekly signings generally featuring a local author, the store ensures every reader’s needs are met. But the best part about this bookstore is that it is independent. A large amount of what the store brings in stays in the community.
Readers’ pick: Half Price Books
Best Place to Buy Jeans
The Blues Jean Bar
It’s almost as fun as a real bar. Walk in, tell the girls behind the counter what you’re looking for (size, wash, length, shape), and several pairs of the newest styles will appear. Then it’s up to you to find the perfect blues in the cozy dressing room. Like we said, almost as fun as a real bar.
Readers’ pick: The Blues Jean Bar
Best Lingerie Shop
Trousseau of Dallas
If Victoria’s Secret is the Camry of the undergarment world, think of Trousseau as the BMW. It stocks a beautiful collection of European bra and panty sets, corsets, and shapewear that fits all budgets. But it’s the selection process that makes it the place to buy lingerie. Owner Nasrin Hormozi fits clients personally to find the right size and most flattering shape. Information is stored so clients (read: husbands of clients) can purchase lingerie without going in. Closed for now, the store opens in new digs next month.
Readers’ pick: Trousseau of Dallas
Best Vintage Clothing Store
The typical resale-store treasure hunt can be fun (for some seriously enjoyable digging, go to Gratitude Vintage). But when we’re in the mood to shop for timeless vintage fashion, we head to Ahab Bowen. The clutter-free space is organized into racks by clothing type: dresses, hats, coats, swimwear, vintage lingerie, menswear, and so on. None of the stale scent typically associated with vintage clothing here, either, because garments are washed on-site. We love the low prices, too.
Readers’ pick: Dolly Python
Best Pet Store
Lucky Dog Barkery
We love Tails of the City. The collection of ornate treat dishes and rhinestone-studded collars could keep any high maintenance pet happy. But we’ve got to give the standing ovation to Lucky Dog Barkery for its holistic approach to doggie care. The store is packed with locally designed dogwares such as recycled seatbelt leashes, Texas star-adorned leather collars, and hammered copper bowls. And the green cuisine aisle features more than 40 lines of organic and natural food and treats.
Readers’ pick: Foxy Paws
Best Jewelry Store
It’s no wonder proprietor Richard Eiseman was inducted into the National Jeweler’s Retail Hall of Fame this year. He still runs his company on the basic principles his parents started it with 46 years ago: integrity, value, service, and quality. Customer relationships are key, as is having a friendly, educated staff and, of course, exquisite jewels. Exclusive agreements with a variety of designers make Eiseman’s selection one of a kind.
Readers’ pick: Bachendorf’s
Best Garden Shop
North Haven Gardens
Long a staple among the North Dallas crowd, North Haven Gardens can go toe to toe with any nursery around when it comes to the depth and breadth of its selection. But what really sets North Haven apart is its full-service approach to gardening. They don’t just sell customers a plant and send them on their way. For example: North Haven has classes that will teach you how to plant a vegetable garden and then, once you harvest, contests (salad dressing, salsa) to show off your results. Plus, Laura Bush shops there.
Readers’ pick: Calloway’s Nursery
Best Consignment Women’s Clothing Shop
Though Vintage Martini might not be the biggest or most well-known consignment store, it has coveted pieces any fashionista would kill for—at deeply discounted prices. From gowns straight off the runway (think Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen) to high-end designer shoes and bags, this Carrollton gem’s inventory represents some of the most current styles. It even has an on-call seamstress who can be at the store in minutes.
Readers’ pick: Clotheshorse Anonymous
Best Shop for Designer-label Women’s Fashion
Forty Five Ten
When celebs come to town, they head to Forty Five Ten. There’s a reason for that. The boutique packs exclusive designer labels that other non-Neiman Marcus stores can’t carry. (Think Alexander McQueen, Proenza Schouler, and Balenciaga.) Put it this way: when the store turned 10 this year, heavy-hitter designers such as Narciso Rodriguez, Kimberly McDonald, and Doo-Ri Chung came to the party. Plus, the attached cafe, T Room, is the chicest spot in the city to lunch.
Readers’ pick: Neiman Marcus
Best Shoe Store
Oxygen masks should be handed out to women as they enter Gregory’s because they’re going to hyperventilate when they see the shoe collection. Purveyor of many never-before-seen styles, predominantly European, the store carries some of the most fashion-forward footwear in the city. Think cut-out wedges, strappy knee-high boots, stiletto sneakers, and rainbow-colored crystal booties. If they sound weird, they’re not. They’re fabulous. If you don’t believe us, just ask Jessica Simpson—she’s a regular.
Readers’ pick: Lou Lou