Best Thrift-Store Mecca 2004 | Gus Thomasson Road and Ferguson Road | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

The corner of Gus Thomasson and Ferguson roads is the nexus of the world for thrifters. The shopping centers on each corner hold three cool secondhand stores: Value World Thrift, Ferguson Thrift and Casa View Thrift. These aren't nicely organized, well-ventilated Goodwills--you need some grit to dig through shelves of old Christmas decorations and worn-out shoes to find that one treasure. And with the enormous variety of items, that treasure just might be a vintage Christian Dior shower wrap, tags still attached; an authentic Army-drab knapsack; or a black leather biker's jacket. Plus, a wee drive back to Garland Road will land you on another thrift store-rich strip--check out Garland Road Thrift and 2 Friends Resale for more used goodies.

Shopping in Mexico is hot. And dusty. In a country where outdoor markets are more the norm than the exception, you must come to terms with the fact that during a Mexican shopping adventure, sweat will spill forth from pores you didn't even know you had. That's one reason we love Casa Mexicana: It's air-conditioned. The store offers some of our favorite Mexican goodies--from colorful pottery to Christmas ornaments to items emblazoned with Frida Kahlo and La Lotería images--all in an enclosed space where cold air flows down from a Freon-fueled heaven. The owners of Casa Mexicana frequently journey to various parts of Mexico and bring back the loot to share with us retail-lovers who can't stand the heat and don't mind the markup. Of course, we prefer to take our own Mexican shopping trips, but generally we're content with shelling out the extra pesos for some cool air and conversation that consists of more than a bungled "Cuanto cuesta?"

Be honest. The guest room closet has turned into a haven for all the things you "are totally gonna sell on eBay." If it's been a month and nothing's been listed, or even photographed, it's time to call on the boys at Cash It In. The auction masters take the crap you don't want but someone else will and do all the work for you. For a 25 percent commission and item fees (we'll let them explain the math, but we will say they have the lowest percentage we can find), that closet can once again store things you really want or need. And if there's something that isn't going to sell, based on the research they do when you bring in your items, they'll even take it to Goodwill for you or lump it into a creative auction combo. For example, a Jeff Gordon poster, Mark Martin hat, die-cast car, KISS figurine and other unmentionables might all go into a "Rockin' Redneck NASCAR party!" auction...not that we would have ever had those items in our possession.

Best Place to Buy Comic Books...Sorry, Graphic Novels

Titan Comics

For the past five years, this Bachman Lake establishment has been our top pick as comic-book retailers, and still no one in town comes close to challenging its supremacy. Doubtful anyone will: Zeus has more toys than you can shake a cape at, but Titan is like this astonishing museum where everything's for sale. The walls are adorned with Golden Age and Silver Age titles that sell at reasonable prices, while the floor space is consumed by boxes and boxes of older books we had when we were a kid but sold along the way to buy whatever it is we lost or broke sometime in 1972. We love the new stuff here--Titan carries more avant and outré stuff than any other retailer, including the Charles Schulz pre-Peanuts collection of Li'l Folks strips and the new comics edition of McSweeney's featuring a Chris Ware wraparound cover--but are constantly amazed at the old stuff, including long-lost Superman hardback novels that date to the 1940s. We love this place so much we'd like to marry it, preferably while wearing a Green Lantern tuxedo.

If you're into the "country crafts" style of decorating, move on, there's nothing for you to see here. Looking for something more modern, more colorful, less god-awful cheesy? Well, get rid of the chintz and head to Eurway and spruce up your décor with something sleek, modern and colorful (or not). Better still, the furniture here is both fashionable and comfortable--a rare treat. Tired of your home looking like a set from Hee-Haw? From hanging paper mobiles, wall sculptures and leather recliners to lighting and beds and dining sets, Eurway can help you bring your home into the 21st century. Better still, the prices won't leave you paying the bill until the 22nd century.

Readers' Pick

Z Gallerie

Various locations

It's no wonder Recycled's stock is always a book fetishist's dream come true. Both the University of North Texas and Texas Woman's University are nearby, so students sell their texts and private collections in order to pay bills and get their drink on, and professors trade in their research materials for different materials and to get their drink on. Plus the nearest Half Price Books is 20 minutes away in Lewisville. That means weird finds such as 20-year-old first-edition British punk rock histories and three copies of every Nick Hornby novel. Top that, HP! The collection is sorted across three floors and many rooms (some almost hidden) and spans children's literature to self-help to modern literature. There's an especially well-stocked mystery section, and the store brags about its collection of 16,000 CDs. It's like catching fish in a barrel.

Tuxedo, blazer, golf pants, formal to casual, this is the place for timeless quality clothing that will serve you well from Calcutta to Connecticut. Prices run the gamut: A typical rack of sport coats will go from $350 to $1,500. Keep your eye peeled for their sales: This store puts on some great ones a few times a year. The rest of the time, this is the place to shop if you're willing to put down a few bucks in order to make sure you're right. Helpful, mature salespeople, great tailoring. Nobody ever walks out looking goofy.

Readers' Pick

Banana Republic

Various locations

As a teenager, when we wanted to decorate our room with skulls, skeletons and other death images, our parents thought we were overly morbid and took away our black eyeliner. As an adult, we learned it's OK to decorate with symbols of mortality as long as they're peppy and colorful like those at Casa Mexicana. The modern mourner can find all her Dia de los Muertos (which we celebrate year-round) supplies at Casa Mexicana--sugar skulls, skeleton jewelry, La Catrina-themed items and many other whimsical reminders of death.

Finding a good bra is harder than it seems. It's more than going to Target and buying a $10 cotton contraption. The hunt amounts to far more than flipping through the Victoria's Secret catalog and finding a sexy tit-sling to show off. Generally, the best support, the most comfort and the right look are achieved when someone else is involved. Sounds shady, but we're serious. The experience may seem disconcerting at first, but the outcome is worth it. The women at the Maddox Shop take their task seriously, measuring and assessing a woman's needs before returning seconds later with the perfect bra. The ladies of the Maddox Shop instruct a girl on how to "place herself" correctly in the cups, and they are incapable of being embarrassed by errant nipples or flashing, so even the most modest person is suddenly at ease with a stranger in her dressing room. As for post-mastectomy bras, the shop has an amazing selection, and the saleswomen have the know-how to make a woman look as natural and feel as comfortable as possible after a traumatic loss. They don't gawk or judge, and they can fit difficult sizes as well as perform in-house alterations. It's all about feeling good, feeling attractive. And ladies know a good bra can unleash amazing confidence.

Who needs kids clothing that lasts forever? Want a snazzy toddler shirt you can get on sale for $4 and never worry that it doesn't quite look the same after you wash it? That's why we go for the inexpensive, sufficiently hip kids clothes at Old Navy. They always have sales, and they stock enough of each item to have your kid's size (important when you have a 31-pound 5-year-old). We got the cute camouflage pajamas; the orange Old Navy embroidered sweatshirt; the striped cotton sweater that looks a lot more expensive than it was; the fleece pullover available in a half-dozen or more cool colors. Boxer shorts for a 6-year-old? They have 'em. And unlike some stores that stock kids clothes, there are just as many selections for boys.

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