Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Sometimes there's no one more qualified than an outsider to demonstrate what a city is all about. Take Michigan-born fashion designer Travis Austin. His custom leather and denim jackets, band tees and Stetson hats embody Dallas' flamboyance better than just about any clothing line we've seen. He finds the vintage pieces and then reconstructs them on a made-to-order basis, tailoring, distressing and adorning them with Basquiat-esque painted skulls, dried flowers, studs and any other items the buyer requests, with art-school punk results. Austin came up with this service in 2014, and when his custom wares started to catch on in California with EDM artists and rappers such as Tiesto and G-Eazy, he realized their power as a branding tool. In 2017, he relocated to Dallas with his wife and opened the first Travis Austin Customs showroom in Oak Cliff, where he started marketing his service to local, image-conscious creatives. Leon Bridges and Bobby Sessions are among the big names who can't get enough of it, proving Austin's business skills are every bit as honed as his fashion sense.
Downtown's Wilson Building offers everything a Dallas resident sick of the Soviet-style housing blocks that dot the city could want. It's more that 110 years old, has beautiful hardwood floors, higher ceilings than you'll find almost anywhere and more vintage touches than you'll ever notice. There's quick access to DART rail and an onsite parking garage if you're not quite ready to give up your car. Mix in reasonable rents, a roof deck, top-floor theater room and access to all the amenities offered by its sister buildings — The Mercantile and Continental — across the street and you've got one of Dallas' best rental values.
Once you get the Knowles family seal of approval, it's only up from there. In March, Charles Smith II's designs were featured in a short film accompanying the release of Solange's fourth studio album, When I Get Home. Smith couldn't actually be at the set of the short film, so fabric was sent in a Lyft from Houston to Dallas. Upon receiving the materials, Smith put together the costumes and sent them back to Houston in a Lyft within the span of 48 hours. Smith's fashions boast elegant, luxurious flair, with a Southern touch. In addition to being a master in runway craft, Smith also specializes in streetwear. His Do Not Touch line consists of designs for both men and women, all of which are artsy, stylish and comfortable.
The Dallas location is closed for upgrades right now, so thank goodness you can drive just a bit north to Farmers Branch or Plano to fill that conspicuous gap in your living room. We're willing to make the trip because of Weir's high-quality selection, effusive (but not pushy) salespeople and conscientious delivery team ... OK, let's be honest — it's all about the fresh popcorn and the outlet section, where prices are especially reasonable. And sure, our parents and grandparents might've shopped here too, but Weir's furniture is on the stylish side of traditional with some modern pieces mixed in — lots of wood, clean lines, minimal stuffiness.
In theory, we're not supposed to give the title "best" to the same business in the same category in consecutive years, but when our eyeglass-wearing staff members say that Warby Parker stands head and shoulders above all other eyeglass purveyors, whatcha gonna do? Warby Parker hits the perfect sweet spot between price and fashion, and when they say customers can get a basic pair of glasses, including lenses, for $95, Warby Parker means it. "Prescription eyewear represents perhaps the single biggest mass-market consumer ripoff to be found," LA Times business columnist David Lazarus wrote earlier this year, and even Warby Parker can earn a pretty hefty markup on some of its fancier glasses. Still, when you're shopping in a seller's market, it's nice to know that at least one company tries to keep its prices reasonable.
Gift shops are the unsung heroes of the retail world. They don't have the everyday utility and appeal of clothing stores or artisan food shops, but when it's secret Santa day at the office or your new boyfriend's sister's birthday party is coming up, a well-curated gift shop is indispensable. Enter We Are 1976, the family-run store and graphic design studio in Bishop Arts that specializes in creating and selling objects that "delight." These delightful and unique objects include cards, art prints, home goods, stationery and other tchotchkes, some imported from Japan and almost all hand-crafted by independent artists. We Are 1976 is basically the patron saint of challenging, ambiguous gift-giving occasions, and that's why it has won this category numerous times since it opened in Dallas 11 years ago. We'd feel bad about anointing it again, but that would be like feeling bad for calling Dirk Nowitzki Dallas' favorite basketball player year after year. Some things just aren't up for debate.
313 N. Bishop Ave., 214-821-1976
A good hairstylist is worth their weight in gold. Which explains how Charlie Price was able to double the square footage of his salon last year. The beachy waves and sunkissed highlights he and 14 fellow stylists turn out at Charlie + Co's new Design District location cost a pretty penny, but loyalists say you get what you pay, and wait, for. Yes, appointments are in high demand, and you can expect to receive a hair consultation before you ever end up in a chair. But these hoops are all part of the experience when you're getting your hair done by an artiste of Price's cachet. He's worked for everyone from haute couture brands like Chanel to of-the-moment celebs like Gigi Hadid, who well know that when it comes to "effortless waves" and "low-maintenance" hair color, it takes a lot of work to look unbothered.
We can finally breathe easy — Exhale Spa gives us a one-stop shop for all our true beauty needs. The spa doesn't just service your outward appearance (waxing, facials, nails, scrubs and the like) but takes your absolute well-being into its capable masseur's hands, with acupuncture and yoga on the menu. The Dallas fixture is known for its barre classes and a fitness technique consisting of micro-movements that make you work every single muscle, even the ones that have yet to make the pages of Gray's Anatomy. The post-spa relaxation room is an affair fit for royalty, serving you tea and infused water in a luxe atmosphere of perfect lighting and soft music, all while you're sinking into a robe so plush you swear you'll never wear anything else. And we didn't even get to the big, luxurious sauna. Let's just say the place is one where Frasier and Niles Crane would fight to get in the door first.
Nail treatments are supposed to be fun and luxurious, but too often they feel like just another chore on the hygiene checklist, somewhere between shaving and blackhead extraction. The manicurists at Pink Pedi are aware, and they're here to disrupt your sad after-work routine of rushing to the nearest salon that can fit you in and burying your head in an Us Weekly until it's over. Almost nothing about the experience at Pink Pedi will feel familiar to regular salon-goers. They don't do acrylics, and they don't do simultaneous treatments. But if you want a classic look well done, have a little time to spare and enjoy the idea of a build-your-own ice cream sandwich shop where you are the sandwich, this is the place. When you arrive for a pedicure after booking online (hallelujah), you'll need to do two things. The first is pick out your own eco-friendly, toxin-free combo of bath bomb, sugar scrub and body butter. The second is more difficult, but worth it: Allow yourself to register and enjoy that a human being is devoting their entire attention to your cuticle health for the better part of an hour.
Shamsy Roomiani is known primarily for her lush and whimsical work with plants; she's a multimedia artist who inherited all the best maternal genes from Mother Nature herself. Shamsy's jewelry is perfectly in line with the artist's fanciful signature and includes monumental rings and pendants that center around her star product — original, lit-up "Shamstones," as multicolored and cheerful as the rest of her offerings, such as "zen dust" and "unicorn" herbal bundles. Also, we're pretty sure they have magical properties. The artist's work is available at various boutiques around Dallas or at shamsy.co.
Hollywood Feed's Lemmon Avenue at Knight Street location has everything even the most finicky pup needs: a wide variety of dog food for dogs at all stages of life, great natural treats and a floor-to-ceiling wall of toys. The best thing isn't the merchandise, though, it's the staff. Tell them a little about your dog, and they'll point you in the perfect direction.
Vape 'em while you got 'em, because vaping has become the cause du jour among the state nannies ever ready to protect us from our pleasures. Not that we're bitter, but some folks at the Observer have actually stopped smoking with the help of vapes, so we get a little testy at the notion that saving an adult from lung cancer is less important than keep a 17-year-old from sucking on a Juul ... but we're ranting. We're here to praise Je Vape while we still can. As pro-vaping as we are, we admit that among the 30 million or so vape shops that have sprung up across DFW, some are a little sketchy. OK, very sketchy when it comes to knowing what we're sucking into our lungs. There's nothing sketchy about Je Vape, a clean, bright, well-stocked shop with a huge variety of batteries, coils and vaping units. They also have the usual fancy glass smoking devices — please don't call them bongs, even if they look like bongs — alongside equipment from reputable manufacturers, plus their juices are legit products, not something cooked up in a back room from Chinese chemicals and candle scents. Best of all, the friendly staff is extremely patient and knowledgeable, ready to take the time to help ADULTS (ahem) find the right device and juice from countless options, without getting into discussions of milliamps, watts, etc., unless you want to.