There is a time to stand on principle, and that time ends when your feet begin to hurt. We don't like recommending chain stores or malls in this compendium of consumerism, but the shoes at Nordstrom are worthy of making an exception. The sheer variety would be mind-boggling if the friendly sales staff weren't so good at honing in on exactly what you're looking for. Nordstrom doesn't blow the roof off customer-service ratings every year for nothing. As far as price, nowhere is the old adage "you get what you pay for" more appropriate than in shoes, but Nordstrom softens the blow with a "we'll match any price" policy (the November 11 opening of their outlet, Nordstrom Rack, in NorthPark Center will also help). Besides, a phat pair of buttery Ecco oxfords will last for years, and it'll go a long way toward counteracting the message sent by that mustard stain on your tie.

Readers' Pick
Larry's Shoes Multiple locations

Best Excuse for a Manly Man to Shop for Clothes

Threads

Threads has to be the only men's clothing store with a TV in the back hooked up to a PlayStation 2. You can play Madden all you want. Or drink beer. Threads has a bar. Or watch the game. Threads has a second TV forever tuned to ESPN. The owners of Threads, Michael Elliot and Charles Williams, are married to the women who own Flirt, the clothing store next door. They decided this summer to do something with the vacant storefront next to Flirt. Nothing schlocky, though. The guys at Threads have good taste--Penguin and Le Tigre are two lines they feature--so women across Dallas can rest easy. Your man won't come home with a tacky, baggy sports jersey from here. In fact, if you're not careful, he may never come home.

Best Place to Buy Men's Clothes, if You Can Afford Them

Neiman Marcus

There are plenty of cheaper places to buy clothes. God knows we can't afford to buy a suit at Neiman's, where the inexpensive stuff still comes in four-digit denominations. And there are hipper places, too. You wanna look like Euro-trash, by all means head over to one of those Euro-chic stores in the West Village. Neiman's has its share of ridiculous-looking shirts with $500 pricetags. Have you seen the men's Juicy Couture kilt (really, a mo-foing dress!) they're asking $395 for? But we're talking class, homes, and Neiman's will always have what other stores can't buy on credit. We're talking racks of classic Ralph Lauren, of can't-beat Armani, of can't-miss Dolce & Gabbana, of can't-live-without Prada. Better yet, the service at Neiman's is top-notch. This is what it must feel like to be rich, to have a gentleman of style making sure your clothes fit fabulously, dressing you like he's got money riding on your success in these very threads. Dang it, give us the Juicy man-dress. We're feeling lucky.

Readers' Pick
(Best Men's Clothing Store) Men's Wearhouse Multiple locations
Another Time and Place
Exploring this tiny shop on Henderson Avenue is like burrowing into a Middle Eastern street market in search of handmade treasures. From their travels, owners Mehmet and Lisa Celik bring back things like Afghani wedding hats, elaborate headpieces of bright fabric, embroidery, beads and metal pieces that are individual works of art. Carvings from Africa, brilliantly colored ceramic platters from Turkey, wall hangings from China and stone carvings from Vietnam are scattered throughout the store, along with skirts and tops from India and Pakistan. This is one of those places to visit every few weeks to stock up on unique gifts or to add something to your display cabinets or walls. Pretend you bought that embroidered silk jacket the last time you visited Thailand. Who's to know?
Why should "ladies who lunch" be the only ones who get to enjoy a massage? Certainly, instructing a housekeeper, shopping at Prada and attending a charity gala make for a stressful day. But what about those of us who actually, uh, work all day? Whether you're employed in a cube farm or with a jackhammer, you deserve an oily rubdown, too. At least, Massage Envy thinks so. That's why they have extended hours (open till 10 p.m. weeknights) and reasonable prices--just $39 for a one-hour massage on your introductory visit, $60 after that. And if you decide massage is definitely your thing, Massage Envy offers memberships that lower the prices even further--just $49 for one massage per month and $29.95 for subsequent visits that month. Which is more relaxing, $49 worth of drinks at happy hour or a one-hour massage? For our money, we'll pick the one that doesn't leave us with a hangover.
Full of statues of Jesus, the Grim Reaper and the good ol' Virgin of Guadalupe, Chango's window displays have probably caused more than a few auto accidents. Located near the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff, this botanica is your one-stop shop for everything needed to practice Mexican Santeria, the hybrid faith of Catholicism and Pagan Afro-Cuban religion. You name it, they've got it: herbs, holy water, votive candles, statues, incense and even aerosol sprays that can keep your in-laws away or help you win a court case. It's way better than that measly holy window stain over in Fort Worth. And even though the lotion may cost an arm and a leg, one bottle we found had a label featuring a picture of Jesus Christ flanked by some big marijuana leaves. It seems all of our suspicions about the Savior have been confirmed.
The ubiquitous big-box we-have-everything stores really don't have everything, and they may never, but Costco.com never quits thinking of how to better satisfy its customers. It carries caskets now. Ten kinds, ranging from $924 to $2,699. The manager at Costco in Dallas informs us his store, sadly, does not carry any of them but that an online delivery is as quick as one needs it to be. This is good news. Any time we can buy a bucket of butter and an Argos Cherry Casket--that's the expensive one--from a single store, well, that's the ingenuity of modern shopping. Creepy, sure, don't get us wrong, but ingenious nevertheless. And don't think just because it's coming from Costco, the caskets are of a lesser quality. These are high-quality numbers, some of them with premium ivory crepe interiors, all of them painted in shades of muted sobriety, perfectly acceptable--and indistinguishable--from any casket you could find anywhere else. So there, Mr. La-Di-Dah.
Counter Culture
Counter Culture, a little vintage store that started out in Deep Ellum, also wins the award for Best Expansion. This spring, CC opened a second shop at Mockingbird Station--this one's a little more upscale, with a boutique-y feel--and we couldn't be happier. Not that we don't like the Deep Ellum version; we do, really. But sometimes MockSta is more convenient. And sometimes, what takes us so high can also bring us way down. The thrift-store vibe at the original store gets us 43 kinds of excited--the possibilities of the search, the joy of the unknown--but there are times when that same euphoria turns dark. The racks and racks of color-coded T-shirts, the trinkets, the jeanssometimes it's just too overwhelming. There's good stuff there; we just know it. But what if someone else gets it first? What if we're not fast enough? What if they don't have our size? Clutch the pearls, we need a sarsaparilla.
The basis for this award is purely anecdotal: We had a framing project a while back that seemed quite simple in our mind--in concept, that is. The work it would require was not so simple; some would even call it tedious. But we wanted it done, and we wanted it done right. After being given the brush-off (and an outrageously high quote) from a local big-box retailer, we felt a little downtrodden. No one seemed to appreciate our vision. Then we found 3 Day Framing. Not only did the person who helped us say no problem of course we can do it thank you very much, she seemed genuinely excited to see the results of our beloved project. It was refreshing and uplifting and downright beautiful. Our visionary frame job now hangs in our dining room, and we swear we've seen it blush at all the compliments it receives.
Stained glass windows, sparkling wind chimes, mosaic tiles, mirrored gazing balls--if it's colorful and glimmers in the sun, Splendor in the Grass has it. This Lakewood gift shop also hosts classes for budding "beading" artists. The two-hour classes in beginning bead-stringing and beginning earrings cost $25, which includes use of tools and beads for the projects. Choose from their selections of semiprecious stones (turquoise, amethyst, onyx), new and antique glass beads and unique pendants. More advanced classes in making multi-strand necklaces and working with "memory" wire are also available.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of