Best Of :: Shopping & Services
The building that used to house the Toys 'R' Us on Central Expressway is now a liquor store. The old tenant just moved down the street, but it's a symbol of what's happened to the specialty toy store in the age of Walmart and Target: They've disappeared. Not Toys Unique. The family owned retailer has been holding down the corner of Lovers Lane and Inwood Road for more than 30 years, and stepping inside is a bit like walking back a few decades. There's no secret to its longevity. It has a wide selection for an independent toy store and an old-fashioned commitment to customer service. Have a question? Just ask. Want something ordered? Done. Of course, being in the Park Cities doesn't hurt either.
Look, we know what you're thinking. Jos. A. Bank's a pretty square choice for the Dallas Observer, right? Yeah, well, listen up, sunshine. You want a T-shirt with the logo of your favorite band or some retro consignment-shop duds, keep reading. We got plenty of those. But in the current reality, the name of the game is dress for success — or, if not success, at least a J-O-B. And for that, J-O-S has a wide selection of good quality men's clothing at reasonable prices. Suits, sport coats, polos, business casual and slacks (that's grown-up speak for "pants") make it possible for you to put together a set of work clothes that don't necessarily leave you looking like your dad (though if Dad's a pastel-loving golfer, he'd be right at home here). We know you don't want to put on a damn tie, but ask yourself this: Would you really rather move back in with Dad?
Stepping foot in this retail shop-meets-workspace is instantly calming. It soothes that ache in your brain, that tiny region in the back that fears everything's already been done. The designs range from organic-inspired and architectural shapes to highly detailed visual stories, and all are refreshingly inventive. You see the pride of ownership that is taken at each step of frank's process. The unique identity created for every piece is one you want to spend time with, preferably at home, in front of your mirror, draped in the stuff until you feel like a damn modern princess. Of course, in this fantasy you would own it all: the pendant cast from a scavenged animal tooth; the earring featuring reappropriated figures from toy train sets, and more giant gold rings than your phalanges can physically support. Until that glorious day comes, grow your collection one gorgeous piece at a time.
For as long as we can remember, it's been just too damn difficult for a girl (or boy) to find quality nipple pasties, fascinators, corsets, garters and enormous flowered hair ornaments in this town. All that changed with the opening last fall of Dallas PinUp, a Deep Ellum spot catering to the burlesque-oriented and the people who love them. In addition to lingerie worth wearing onstage, they have an ever-changing variety of beautiful, vintage-inspired dresses and cosmetics. The proprietresses also run portraiture company Through the Looking Glass Studio from the shop, which specializes in pin-up-style photography (they'll even do your hair and makeup first). For littler shoppers, they now carry adorable (non-sexy) dresses and rompers from Three Yellow Starfish. Even men don't have to feel left out — the shop carries Lucky 13 hair products, all the better for creating a slick rockabilly pompadour. It'll look great with your new pasties, guys, we promise.
All the discussion in the news of face-eating earlier this year had us giving some thought to disaster preparedness, namely how we can prepare ourselves to kill the ever-living shit out of some zombies. After some intensive intra-staff discussion, we've determined that Dick's is the finest anti-zombie outfitter there is. "Just go to a gun store, idiot!" you say, to which we'll politely have to tell you that you, sir or madam, are the real idiot here. Sure, Dick's has guns and ammo, and you can stock up on some of those. But you'll also want yourself a good baseball bat for when the bullets run out, plus maybe a nice heavy golf club. Sturdy running shoes are also a must, naturally. Mark our words: The undead hordes will inevitably turn up in Texas. Don't get caught empty-handed.
So you need a leather jock strap. Or maybe it's a nice, well-made harness you're after, or possibly a collar for the special submissive in your life. Leather Masters has all things leather and latex for the discerning BDSM-er, plus all the rings, stretchers, straps, sheaths and toys your love life has been crying out for. The Deep Ellum shop (they also have a location in San Jose, California) can also custom-make an outfit, if your imagination is ranging even further than what they have in stock.
You can go to a 7-Eleven, we guess, if you like harsh lighting and stale, corporate snack cakes. Or you can hit Oak Cliff's 6-Twelve, which has exactly the same stuff (beer, gum, dodgy-looking packets of caffeine pills). We're not going to lie to you: We're basing this one entirely on the name. Plus, the neighborhood is a little low on stores, convenience or otherwise, meaning if you're on your way to a party and get a call to bring snacks, you have limited options. Stock up on some Takis (Mexico's finest rolled chip, preferably in "Fuego" flavor) and a box of wine and you'll be good to go.
When your laptop starts emitting black smoke and making agonized dying-cat noises, people like to helpfully chirp, "Just go to the Genius Bar!" like they've just solved world hunger or something. When you have a PC, the temptation to punch those people in the eyeball is rather fierce. Luckily, Micro Center's there for you, located in Richardson's outer edges, just a short drive up U.S. 75. You'll drop your machine off at their help desk, then watch as they whisk it off to a just-visible workroom area, one that's always crowded with sad, broken machines waiting to be made whole again. In a few hours or days your electronic baby generally comes back good as new. Feel free to take it home and hug it to your chest muttering "precious, my precious," with a situationally inappropriate amount of intensity. We know. We've been there.
The women of Neiman Marcus are here to help with your face. They know that some of it's dry and the rest of it's greasy. They know you need a red lipstick that doesn't make your teeth pop out like yellow Chiclets. They know all of that in the kindest way, and they will happily — and patiently — show you 15 different eyebrow pencils until you find one that's exactly the right shade of medium/light ash (whatever that means). Best of all, you don't have to go to the mall every time you need a refill on foundation. Just slip in Neiman's side door, get your beauty fix and be on your way. Don't worry about that extra $70 you just inadvertently spent on all those products you didn't know you needed until one of those helpful ladies came along. Happens to the best of us.
Yes, you can try to pierce your nose yourself, if you want to end up with an extra nostril. And you can use crappy, nickel-plated jewelry from the mall if you enjoy unsightly rashes, green tinges and possible infections. Or you can do the grown-up thing and get yourself over to Obscurities for the high-quality stuff: implant grade stainless steel, real gold, plus any number of gorgeous glass and wood spirals and plugs. If you're getting pierced there or just buying replacement jewelry, they'll still gladly sit you down in a chair, put on sterile non-latex gloves (don't have those in your disgusting bathroom at home either, do you?) and pop in your shiny new appendage. The jewelry's not cheap, but that's because it's top-notch. Do it right and spare all of us the sight of your crusty, infected lower lip.
Whether in Deep Ellum for brunch, lunch, an early dinner or just a round of drinks, Lula B's is always a great place for some primo tipsy treasure hunting. After entering the two-story secondhand store, no matter which way you stumble you'll discover every nook and cranny is filled with amazing out-of-date finds, from old books and vinyl records to vintage apparel and shoes to ornate furniture, jewelry and knickknacks. With more than 75 vendors and thousands of square feet of space, there's bound to be something for every buzzed browser. And better yet, frequent visits unearth new treasures.
While it's been frequented by East Dallas hipsters and Lake Highland grandmas for years, Garland Road Thrift has managed to stay out of the thrift-store limelight (which is why we're so hesitant to tell you about it). The enormous florescent-lit warehouse is filled with bargains, and has everything from furniture and electronics to shoes and clothes, puzzles, games, baby items, curtains and glassware you'd find for at least four times as much in antique shops around town. It's a thrifty person's haven, as long as you're willing to dig for the good stuff.