The thing we like most about Mark & Larry's Stuff is the vast selection of unusual greeting cards. We were particularly delighted to find one that featured a medical-like photograph of an anus. It was perfect for the boss. It also carries cool magnets with bizarre cartoons, political statements, film icons (including scenes from John Waters' films). This store also offers a large selection of artsy or unusual gift items, including custom jewelry, odd toiletry items, unique books and picture frames.

Half Price Books
With its huge selection, its reasonably nice shopping environment and half-decent coffee in the restaurant, this is the place to try before Amazon.com., which, by the way, is a great place to find used books. The last time we hunted for an out-of-print gem, Sebastian Japrisot's One Deadly Summer, even Amazon couldn't deliver. But there it was on one of Half Price's endless shelves, an unread paperback copy for $5.95. On the way to the check-out, we passed on the recycled Blue Oyster Cult albums, but the selection looked pretty deep.

A Jewelry Place
Like our high school prom date, A Jewelry Place isn't much to look at, but it gets the job done. And quickly. We have visited this 3-year-old store on several occasions with watches in various states of disrepair. Each time, the problem was solved while we waited and so inexpensively that we had to ask twice to make certain we'd heard correctly how much the fix would cost. It's also possible that we had to ask twice because the staff is from Vietnam and more facile with jeweler's tools than with the king's English. In fact, on our most recent visit, to have a pin in a watch band replaced, they took the time to explain that the pin bent because we wear our watch too tight, then refused to be paid at all.

A recent expedition in search of some comfortable sandals uncovered something that was otherwise unavailable elsewhere: a sharp-looking new design from Ecco, a British company that specializes in shoes made to be walked in. (Imagine that: women's shoes that are meant to be walked in for sale, here in Dallas!) The helpful salesman said the shipment was brand-new and in the store because this is the place where Dillard's tests new designs. Think of it as a year-round Detroit Auto Show for feet: If a design goes over well here, Dillard's will sell it at all of its stores nationwide. All this means that Dallas women can go to Dillard's, buy the latest design and actually help set a national trend. Oh, what fun!
Stuck in between a Kroger food store and a Mama's Pizza, the adventurous can pick up a little Armani sweater for a fraction of the original price. Sometimes, the garment hasn't even been worn. The owners of this place have a good eye. They arrange sleek threads in a way that even the not particularly skillful shopper can spot a tailored deal.

Let's get right to the point. You will find no Escada here. For those of us who have tired of that Dallas (think Highland Park) look--brightly colored suit, big hair--we want to commend any retailer who has tried to inject some style into the Dallas fashionista's mindset. At the 8,000-square-foot store, about one quarter of which is devoted to women's designer ready-to-wear lines, you'll find garments produced by Marc Jacobs, Viktor and Rolf, Joseph and Helmut Lang. The financially unendowed can pick up a T-shirt for $30, while those whose fortunes remain intact can find cashmere coats for more than a grand. The store is expanding its shoe selections but right now carries Alaia.

Walk into this 6,000-square-foot mecca to good men's design with no particular longing to keep your billfold intact. For $1,600, you can get yourself in head-to-toe (we're talking shoes, too) Ermenegildo Zegna, the store's top-of-the line Italian designer who is based in Milan. For the younger man without so much cash on hand, the store has off-the-rack merchandise starting at $600. Either way, you'll walk out a better-dressed and (with the store's tailor who boasts 20 years' experience) better-fitted man than you went in.

One client calls it "a party every time you go." This hip salon, which recently moved to a new location, offers a calm, relaxing atmosphere and never a bad haircut. The stylists work with long- and short-haired patrons to get the best fit even if you don't want to go with the most extreme look of the day.
Forget the $45 styling jobs. The $12-$22 cuts at this Park Cities mainstay are sharp enough for the Perots, Hunts and Meyersons, so why not for the junior exec who needs a weekly trim, or out-of-work dotcommer who needs a real job? In business since 1972, the shop's 15 barbers offer a dry clipper cut for $12, a layered cut for $18 or a shampoo and cut for $22. "Doctors, lawyers, real estate people, we have a variety," says barber Keith Gibson. As with shops of old, they have the revolving pole, but alas, no straight-razor shaves. Culwell's staff hung up the straight razor in the '80s for health reasons. These days they do it with injector blades.

It's hot in Dallas. Duh. And, even running from air conditioner to air conditioner, it's still tough to beat the heat. Best way? Shave your head. This is good for the ladies, too. We hear the Sinead O'Connor look is making a comeback. When you get around to it, make sure to stop by the Lakewood Barbershop, a throwback to the days when your dad used to drag you to chop your mullet. They'll treat you like a king, lather up your head and even shave your noggin with a straight razor if you like. Plus, for no extra charge, they'll make sure your beard matches up. No upper-lip hair for the gals.

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