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Best of Big D: Shopping 2012

Where to find the finest wares (and the finest things to wear) in Dallas.
photography by Maxine Helfman

photography by Maxine Helfman

Best Toy Store
Froggie’s 5 & 10

We give the nod to Froggie’s every year, but the quirky little toy store on Knox is just that good. From the comforting squeak of the glass door to the toy-obsessed sales staff, Froggie’s is our touchstone for reliable, whimsical goodness. In addition to a well-chosen selection of standard fare (puzzles, dolls, toy cars), you’ll find bins of wind-up bath toys from Japan, a wall of clever kids’ books, old-school confections, classic gag gifts of the fake barf variety, and a vast array of nostalgia-stoking flashback toys.

Readers’ Pick: Froggie’s 5 & 10

Best Custom Clothier
J. Hilburn

There may be more luxe custom clothiers in the area. But we love Dallas-based J. Hilburn for its ease, affordability, and great taste. Though the company offers made-to-measure suits and pants, it’s the custom shirts—cut from the finest fabric milled in Italy and starting at the low price of $89—that keep our closets happy. Founders Hil Davis and Veeral Rathod have a crew of more than 1,000 style advisers who will visit you at home or office to take measurements and help you choose which look is best for you. Once the company has your measurements, you can use J. Hilburn’s online shirt builder to create a one-of-a-kind shirt, choosing from various collar, cuff, and pocket options. Don’t even get us started on the placket versus no placket debate.

Readers’ Pick: Stanley Korshak 

Best Jewelry Designer
Olivia K.

It’s not that we don’t like fine jewelry. We’re just tired of seeing the same gaudy gems. Ariel Saldivar’s line of everyday wearable pendants, necklaces, and earrings is not just beautiful (like, really beautiful), it’s earth-friendly, too. Slices of natural amethysts, citrine, and crystal quartz hang elegantly on recycled silver and gold chains. Plus, it’s affordable, ranging between $150 and $325.

Readers’ Pick: Olschwanger Designs

photography: Milk and Honey by Alex Ham; Vintage Martini by James Bland; Olivia courtesy of vendor

Best Shop for Affordable Women’s Clothing

Milk & Honey Boutique

We loved this store the second we walked into it, and apparently you did, too. Word has spread about Brittany Thomas’ place, and the lines to the fitting rooms now wrap through the store. The shabby-chic decor, with pallets and greenery on the walls and chalkboard paint on fitting room doors, reminds us a bit of Anthropologie, as do the tops, dresses, skirts, and accessories. You know what doesn’t remind us of Anthropologie? The price tags. Almost everything in the store is under $100.

Readers’ Pick:
Milk & Honey Boutique

Best Vintage Shop
Vintage Martini

Its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years (Sea of Shoes’ Jane Aldridge is a fan), but we love that it’s still off the beaten path (i.e., Carrollton). Rather than just a collection of used retro goods, this shop is a treasure chest of relevant vintage pieces that delight designer lovers. If you’re intimidated by wearing vintage, don’t fear. Staffers are happy to help newbies put outfits together.

Readers’ Pick:
Dolly Python

photography by Alex Ham

Best Vintage or Antique Furniture


With a knock-off Eames chair on seemingly every corner, our long-running love affair with midcentury modern is in danger of waning. But that fire is swiftly rekindled every time we cross the threshold of Abby and Wlodek Malowanczyk’s 8,300-square-foot temple of iconic 20th-century design. When we walk among the couple’s discerningly culled cache of collectable classics from the likes of Wegner, Nakashima, Juhl, and Jacobsen, we feel like we’re rubbing shoulders with the who’s who of the design cognoscenti. And that’s enough to put the Design District modern mecca at the top of our list for the second year running.

Readers’ Pick: Blue Print

Best Museum Shop
The Modern Shop

museums can be intimidating. Museum shops should not be. And the one at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth isn’t. Spacious and well organized, it has the usual offerings: prints and posters of works on display, postcards, and gorgeous, art-filled books. But it’s the unexpected items that make this place great. They have things like 37-pence stamp throw pillows, balloon dog sculptures, an English single-serving teapot, colorful serving trays, children’s books, and hand puppets.

Readers’ Pick: Dallas Museum of Art

photography courtesy of vendor

Best Eyewear

Fashion Optical

We love anybody who can take some of Dallas’ best socialites and name a pair of sunglasses after them. Last year, Morgan Gianni, proprietor of Fashion Optical, launched his m.Gianni collection. Want a pair of Jan (named after Jan Strimple), Abi (Abi Ferrin), or D’Andra (D’Andra Simmons)? Give Gianni a call. We suggest making a Saturday appointment. That’s when Gianni serves champagne in-store.

Readers’ Pick: Peeper’s 

Best Home Accessories

Nest owner heather Weise-Alexander’s house is filled with treasures that she finds on her travels. So, too, is her McKinney Avenue shop. Weise-Alexander and store manager/buyer Donald Fowler journey everywhere from Italy to France to find home accessories you didn’t even know you needed. Good luck selecting just one or two Eva Sonaike accent pillows or trays from Kartell. You’ll also want pretty much everything from the Blu Dot line.

Readers’ Pick: Nest

Best Gift Shop
Grange Hall

When the editors of D Home recently interviewed some of Dallas’ more prominent art collectors, more than a few named Grange Hall as their favorite local place to shop. Little wonder. Though the store has an impressive array of cool coffee table books, letterpress note cards, and unusual floral arrangements, you can find stuff like that at lots of places. But try finding taxidermy, tripetal ceramic vases, and titanium flatware under the same roof anywhere else in town.

Readers’ Pick: The Gypsy Wagon