BEST DENIM 2020 | Deep Ellum Denim | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

No matter how hard tracksuits and sweatpants try, it's nearly impossible for any other fabric to match denim's unparalleled reign. Deep Ellum Denim was founded by friends Jeff Kauffman and Bennie Reed, a pair of self-described denim "nerds," historians and expert curators. The shop specializes in raw selvedge denim (a fashion word that means that the jeans are woven on an authentically old-fashioned loom). The store carries jeans for men and women and brands range from their own Texas-made hand-crafted versions to Japanese and other international brands. Canadian tuxedo enthusiasts need look no further.

Kathy Tran

Since 1992, Lots of Furniture has stood strong on Riverfront Boulevard, providing design aficionados with antique finds, not the usual old garage sale crap you find at most vintage shops these days. The warehouse-style store has no tea room or well-decorated booths, making the shopping experience refreshingly transactional and cost-effective. Each piece is filled with history and built with enduring quality, including an abundance of delicately carved wood furniture. If you're looking to make your home a piecemeal catalog collection of utilitarian comfort — with a side of Swedish meatballs — go to Ikea, but if you're looking to collect pieces that your heirs will fight over, this is the place.

Tiffany Rae Grimes is not so much a colorist, but an artist who uses human heads as a canvas. The Dallas stylist has a gift for the avant-garde, matching the most fantastical of clients' requests with colors found only on an acid-enhanced rainbow. Grimes can whip up vanilla-mocha looks faster than your basic lower-back-tattooed ass can order Starbucks, but she's at her best with her signature mermaid looks. Not only is Grimes a color wizard, but her salon's focus is on fragrance- and allergy-free, holistic, eco-friendly and cruelty-free products.

Fitness is even better when it's equitable, and that's the case for donation-based yoga at Black Swan. There's a community that's loyal, which makes sense considering its welcoming environment. Suggested donations are just $10-20 per class. They also have online yoga from its teachers for those who aren't taking their mats out of the house during the pandemic.

One bright side of the pandemic lockdowns is that all that climbing-up-the-walls boredom inspired us to take a closer look at, well, our walls. Home repairs, gardening and redecorating are as intrinsic to early pandemic culture as Tiger King binging. And, speaking of Walmart enthusiasts, if you've ever tried to buy paint at the megastore you know why Texas Paint & Wallpaper is absolutely essential to our mental health: Expert customer service, a rich variety in product and home delivery are just some of those reasons.

Dr. Carlos Barceló is an eminent craniofacial surgeon. He was one of the team of doctors who separated the skulls of Egyptian twins Mohammed and Ahmed Ibrahim, conjoined at the head in a case so difficult it was featured on Oprah. But Barceló is also a master sculptor of plastic surgery. His cosmetic work (including Brazilian butt lift, Botox and filler injections) is tasteful, life changing but subtle, and his bedside manner is sympathetic and comforting. As a member of the International Esperanza Project, the good doc has also flown overseas to provide free surgeries to children in need. We wouldn't trust anyone else with our bodies.

Sneakers almost took an irreparable dive into a fashion "don't" when Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David and your dad decided to wear no other kind of shoe, but, luckily, figures like Billie Eilish and Kanye West keep the momentum strong. Especially in pandemic times, we don't feel like dressing up in binding or uncomfortable clothing. While Human Dior appears to be temporarily closed, the Dallas store is accepting consignments on its website, so we won't have to wait long to shop their rare and high-end resale items. Their specialty is rare, designer and Japanese brands, but the sneaker shop has a wide variety of cool finds, from silver platforms for men to blue suede stilettos, and endless tasteful streetwear.

Kathy Tran

It may seem like the world has gone completely digital, but paper still literally holds currency. The possession of the right paper is what stops you from being unwelcome in a country, and it's what you get when you're born and die. Not to mention, it was the first thing to run out — along with common sense — when the world shut down. Dallas staple shop Paper Arts carries seemingly every type of paper from all over the world, and they have a fine print studio where they focus on nontoxic printing with workshops and classes. Yes, save the forests, but if you're gonna use paper, make it art.

Inspiration can strike at any time, so Dallas Makerspace is open 24/7 to cater to your random bouts of creativity. The nonprofit is a collaborative and educational community for DIY artists, craftsmen, designers and everyone else. The Carrollton space offers tools like 3D printers, glass and ceramic kilns, sewing machines and vinyl cutters along with classes and support. Dallas Makerspace is sticking to strict COVID-19 guidelines, but if you don't have enough face masks, you can always make them here.

If you were in the Design District about three years ago, you may have seen a bunch of cyclists riding down the street in nearly nothing but their underwear. They were riding for an event organized by Red Star Bicycle Shop to promote body positivity. But don't worry, you don't have to strip down to get your bike tuned up at Red Star. Just bring your wheels and a smile on your face. If you're still looking for a crowd to cruise with, you can do so modestly with Red Star's crew during one of their Road Mile rides.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of