On our way to The Gap, we stopped in at Bachrach out of innocent curiosity. We never made it to the original retail destination, and bought two excellent short-sleeve button-down shirts, which we wear every week (we still need more shirts). Anyhow, Bachrach is one of those "European"-style places, but that doesn't mean you'll end up looking frou-frou if you go there. The clothes are sleek and lightweight and should be worn by people who have a high opinion of themselves. We've been working out lately and, fairly or not, have somehow fallen into that category. The staff is very helpful.
Most comic-book stores live up, or down, to the stereotype: the good ol' fanboy club, the fortress of solitude and attitude. Woe to the novice who walks in unaware of what awaits him (or her, and let's be serious); you're in for the stink-eye from the guy behind the counter, who can't believe you don't know about Preacher or Top 10. Titan Comics, which bills itself as "the store for ther serious collector," exists almost to disprove the cliche. It's owned by a woman (Cecilia Shorr, who started her first comic shop in Houston almost two decades ago), staffed by women and Cecilia's kindly husband, Jeremy, and filled not only with the latest DC and Marvel titles, but the oddball good stuff that disproves the notion comics are still for superheroes. With its wall of new stuff and boxes of old stuff, Titan has become our home away from home, at least until we restock our boxes with copies of World's Finest, Brave and the Bold and Daredevil--ya know, the ones our moms sold when we went to college.
Target, the most progressive of discount stores, has increased its toniness with several new lines of furniture, kitchenware, fancy dining room chairs (some with tony prices still intact), and the Michael Graves collection. The designer offers up slate-blue plastic, brushed aluminum, and honey-colored wood products with lines so sleek and graceful that even the pot scrubbers are a work of art. Target's also amassing enough high-quality drawer pulls and bathroom fixtures to make Restoration Hardware proud in a sensei-to-student sort of way.