Dallas Pinup

Do you dream of a bygone era when neon-colored jeggings and tramp stamps had yet to be invented? If the overall look you're aiming for is more Rita Hayworth than Courtney Love, hit up this Deep Ellum boutique that's stuffed to the brim with everything you need to cultivate a classy pinup look, from vintage dresses and retro-style swimwear to the perfect shade of red lipstick. There's even an in-house photography studio boasting its very own hair and makeup stylist who's a pro at bringing out any woman's inner retro sex kitten. Major bonus: Nearly all of the merchandise is sourced from local, female-owned businesses.

Good jeans are hard to find; once we locate the perfect pair, we have a tendency to wear them for weeks at a time until they're perfectly conformed to our asses. So unlike the sparkly crop tops that compose much of our weekend wardrobe, we consider a great pair of jeans an investment piece. This Snider Plaza shrine to denim stocks more than three dozen different brands of high-end jeans in every style, from super-skinny and wax-coated to boot-cut and destroyed, and their denim experts will help you find a pair that's just the perfect size, fit and wash to make your butt the very best it can be. Go during happy hour and they'll even hook you up with a pint of beer or a mimosa, which makes that whole squeezing into skin-tight pants thing all the more tolerable.

This extremely friendly, well-lit neighborhood smoke shop has everything you could possibly need for a night of debauchery: a zillion varieties of rolling papers from bubblegum-flavored to Bob Marley-branded, a wide selection of the newest and most high-tech vaporizers on the market and tons of locally blown glass ranging from bargain-priced everyday pieces to some seriously artsy stuff reaching into the thousands of dollars. There's also a huge refrigerated case full of beer, a rather unusual find for a head shop, that makes Puff N Stuff ideal for Friday night one-stop shopping.

Had to happen someday. Somebody finally took your dad's old hardware store and turned it into something that speaks to how people live in cities today. Gecko Hardware is part of the old True Value chain, but it's definitely not from yesteryear. Stocked with green yard products, bird-feeding supplies, urban chicken-keeping equipment and ... what is that cheeping sound coming from the back? Oh, wow, they even sell baby chicks! This is like Mr. Greenjeans heaven. And it's still a good hardware store, by the way.

Size, selection, prices and location are our four chief concerns when it comes to choosing a liquor store, and Total Wine hits on all four cylinders. Don't let the name trick you into thinking it's a wine store, though the wine aisles are an oenophile's candy store. The beer selection is one of the best in town, and ditto for spirits. Frequent free classes, meet-and-greets and tasting events are excuses to go to this enormous booze-a-torium and, oh, as long as you're there you might as well pick up a bottle or two for the weekend. A relatively central and easy-to-access location makes it that much easier to pummel your liver while showing a bit of mercy to your pocketbook.

Dolly Python

Ever wondered where all the best-dressed frontmen and -women in town buy their stage-wear? Well, we've bumped into several frequenting this 3,800-square-foot East Dallas vintage shop with arms full of clothes. With a wide range of sizes and styles to fit any look you're trying to put together – from a special soiree to your daily grind — you can always find something worth adding to your closet at Dolly Python. Owner Gretchen Bell signed the lease for the space located on one-way Haskell near Ross Avenue in 2005, and in the years since the spot's won dozens of awards from local publications. And we've given them titles ranging from "Best Vintage Wear" to "Best Vintage Shop" to "Best Source for Pack Rats." But what draws us back are the racks of hand-selected women's and men's clothing — from sequined gowns and Mad Men pencil skirts to pearl snaps and cowboy boots, plus loads of costume and custom jewelry.

At Dallas Camera anyone can indulge their inner photographer without dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars to snap some frames. And don't worry about pretentious attitudes found at some camera shops. Whether you're an amateur just starting to build your portfolio or a professional about to tackle your hundredth commercial shoot, the folks at the family-run camera rental shop have all your photo needs covered. If you need a 35-mm film camera or a top-of-the-line DSLR, Dallas Camera offers fairly priced rentals on cameras and everything most photographers will need to get a job done — from backdrops and lighting to lenses and Pocket Wizards.

Milk & Honey Boutique

Scoping out Milk and Honey's rapidly changing collection is inspiring for a few reasons. The shop has such reasonable price points you have no reason to doubt that you could, in fact, pull off those black leather hot pants with a fringe top — but do question whether or not you should. The buying is done so well at this boutique that you'll find clothes that seem made for you, many of which can actually fit a variety of body types. The biggest problem you have when leaving the dressing room is picking a favorite, which is refreshing when you've been through the retail wringer at the other usual haunts. Add on that the sales staff is not only helpful but genuinely looking out for you — eager to tell you how to dress up or down a look — and you wonder why anyone ever battles the mall gantlet.

Looking for the kind of mod leather couch upon which one should shag, not make love? Really, if you can swing it, Simply Austin has the clean lines and fundamental simplicity that interior designers salivate over. They have sleek acrylic chairs that are, by the way, totally transparent. They've got a sofa table made of clear, tempered glass, which you probably can't imagine ever placing a cup of coffee on. And they've got a sumptuous aluminum-framed coffee-brown rattan day bed. It's in the "outdoor" section, but it's so comely you'd be grateful if it were in your living room.

Letterpress isn't for everyone. Printing this way is a personal process, requiring time and attention to detail that is often lost in the digital age. But Lily Smith-Kirkley wouldn't want to do business any other way. Her one-woman company, Lilco, specializes in handcrafted branding, identity, stationery, wedding and collaborative efforts. From design to press, Smith-Kirkley will give you a one-of-a-kind badass product. This year, after winning $10,000 and a car through the national Scion Motivate award, Smith-Kirkley took the leap and left her day job to focus on Lilco full-time, so expect to be seeing even more of her work around town soon.

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