Best of Texas: Dallas Shopping

Let the men have their Cowboys games this fall. When it comes to the super bowl of shopping, no city in Texas can compete with Dallas’s all-star lineup of stores and boutiques.

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Illustration by Lorenzo Petrantoni

CLOTHING

Forty Five Ten

Hot Item: Anything and everything leather

Fashion aficionados flock here for the ahead-of-the-curve looks culled from the runways of Paris, Milan, and New York. When reinvention calls, any of the multicolored prints from Marni, diaphanous layered skirts by Rick Owens, or embroidered blouses by Dries Van Noten can take your look from boring to beyond belief. Peruse the carefully curated selection of artisan jewelry and sky-high stilettos to complete your envy-inducing ensemble. Another part of the store is dedicated to housewares and coffee table books, so your house can look just as stylish as you do. If you work up an appetite, have lunch in the T Room (214-559-2332), the chic set’s watering hole of choice. After you refuel, you’ll find that you have a few more hours of shopping left in you. 4510 McKinney Ave., 214-559-4510 or fortyfiveten.com. Open Mon—Sat 10—6. Closed Sun.

Stanley Korshak

Hot Item: VBH handbags

Dallas’s premier family-owned specialty store, which has been open since 1985, prides itself on a level of customer service that isn’t found at the national chains. Men can buy off-the-rack suits from Kiton, Belvest, and Isaia and have them fitted in-store and returned in one week. Women who are triple-booked on the charity circuit have their pick of gala- and luncheon-ready gowns from Thakoon, Brunello Cucinelli, and Giambattista Valli. Need something less dressy? Head across the courtyard to the Shak, a boutique filled with the fashions of local designers and featuring on-trend denim, T-shirts, and casual jackets and dresses. And, as if you needed one more reason to go, the store is located in the still-glamorous Crescent Court. 500 Crescent Court, 214-871-3600 or stanleykorshak.com. Open Mon—Sat 10—6. Closed Sun.

Cabana

Hot Item: Boyfriend shirts by Steven Alan

You have to drive slowly down Lovers Lane to spot this easy-to-miss, unmarked boutique (hint: ignore the car honking at you and look for the lavender door). But once you discover the superfriendly staff, who treat shoppers like long-lost girlfriends, Cabana will permanently be on your list of favorites. The cool beach shack vibe—think white-washed floors, chairs reminiscent of sea shells, and accessories displayed around starfish—is the perfect backdrop for the casual, summery lines that easily transition to landlocked cities. Well-priced cashmere sweaters can be worn as luxe swimsuit cover-ups or with skinny denim, and Koch carryalls in ostrich are best-sellers. And with employees who have never met a sippy cup they couldn’t handle, you can take the time to browse all you want. Make sure to sign up for owner Merry Vose’s frequent e-mails, in which she tells her “Cabana girls” what’s on the racks. How’s that for star treatment? 4711 W. Lovers Ln., 214-674-9928. Open Mon, Wed, & Fri 9—noon and by appointment. Closed Sun-, Tue, Thur, & Sat.

V.O.D.

Hot Item: Leopard-print rabbit-fur coat by Isabel Marant

Former Dallas Morning News fashion editor Jackie Bolin and seasoned women’s buyer Liz Thompson joined their friend Elizabeth O’Mahony to open a style insider’s paradise, which they filled with hard-to-find lines. A number of exclusives can be had, from ultrafeminine blouses from Anne Valerie Hash, architectural frocks by  Zero + Maria Cornejo, and easy-to-wear Isabel Marant. The shopping experience is all the better since the owners have a running list of client faves and keep their customers informed when must-have shipments hit the store. 2418 Victory Park Ln., 214-754-0644 or vodboutique.com. Open Mon—Sat 11—7, Sun noon—5.

Kacky and Carl

Hot Item: Two-tone ruffle-front dresses by Wink

A sunny, girlie ambience pervades this boutique, where the clothing is for sale—and so is the furniture. The front room’s shabby-chic table is yours for the right price ($995), along with the pieces of jewelry that adorn it. A cabinet holding flirty underpinnings is ready to take home, as are the undies and bras occupying its shelves. Pleasantly priced and pretty separates and feminine dresses abound, and the owners are spot-on when it comes to rounding out the merchandise with a mix of current trends and classic silhouettes. 2722 Routh, 214-295-4486 or kackyandcarl.com. Open Mon—Fri 11—6, Sat 11—5. Closed Sun.

Merge

Hot Item: Loeffler Randall boots

This used to be a one-stop shop for the entire family, but even though Merge no longer carries menswear, it remains replete with irresistible labels from established and newer designers. Women can toughen up feminine dresses with buttery-soft leather jackets from Mike & Chris. The under-ten set can choose from comfy tees by Splendid. 5959 Royal Ln., Ste. 624; 214-987-1606 or shopmerge.com. Open Mon—Sat 10—6. Closed Sun.

Elements

Hot Item: Elizabeth and James equestrian-inspired jackets paired with over-the-knee boots by Dolce Vita

Situated on the busy two-lane strip of  Lovers Lane connecting Highland Park to University Park, Connie Sigel’s clothing mecca is worth every minute you may sit in traffic to get here (tip: steer clear of this street during carpool hours). Original head-to-toe outfits can be pulled together in a flash with the low-key but helpful staff. Look impossibly thin with J Brand skinnies, which you’ll find stacked on an overflowing table of denim. Be effortlessly downtown cool with Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent. Other highlights are loose blouses from Tucker and burnished gold bangles from Elizabeth Cole. 4400 Lovers Ln., 214-987-0837 or elementsclothing.com. Open Mon—Sat 10—6. Closed Sun.

Archive Vintage

Hot Item: Alaïa leather trench coat

Thanks to owner Kerry Bonnell’s refined eye—she was, after all, a stylist’s assistant in New York while she managed vintage superstore Resurrection—everything in this house-turned-vintage-clothing-boutique is just as relevant today as it was when it was first produced. Bonnell picks pieces from the sixties to the nineties, and they’re all in near-flawless condition (many are, in fact, “dead stock,” which means they have never been worn). When we stopped in, we spied a below-the-knee Yves Saint Laurent seventies trench, a black Issey Miyake jumpsuit, and a Guy Laroche orange-and-black-plaid coat. 2912 Maple Ave., 214-999-8921 or archivevintage.com. Open Tue—Sat 11—6, Sun 1—5. Closed Mon.

Carla Martinengo

Hot Item: Balmain boots

Ambitious fashionistas flock here for flashy European labels that the owner, former runway model Carla Martinengo, handpicks each season. The shop may be small, but it packs a punch with head-turning Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Chloé, all of whom are known for their energetic patterns. If prints are too loud for your personality, don’t fret. The subtle set will appreciate the clean lines of Jil Sander and Balenciaga. 8300 Preston Rd., 214-739-7076. Open Mon—Sat 10—6. Closed Sun.

Sartel

Hot Item: Kimono shirts made from ivory silk chiffon

Designer Matthew Earnest’s first foray into retail is a lesson in discreet elegance. Intelligently designed clothing hangs from five simple racks along the walls. A George Henry Longly white-neon art installation glows over a Lucite table filled with necklaces and earrings dangling with tiny doll heads that are from the M. Graves collection by Megan Marrin. Under-the-radar girls gravitate this way for dresses and jackets with strong shoulders, slim-fitting trousers, and chiffon peasant blouses that drape in all the right areas. 4212 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-520-7176 or sartel.biz. Open Mon—Sat 10—6. Closed Sun.

Linus Lounge

Hot Item: Shoe-boots

Locals know this place as the best spot in Dallas to buy shoes that no one else in town carries. Perched in a second-floor walk-up near antiques shops in Uptown, it’s open for only a few weeks in the spring and fall or by appointment. Proprietor Kristen Radakovich deals only with designers who aren’t sold in Dallas, and her shelves are filled with forward, not-for-the-meek footwear from Parisian Barbara Bui and Englishman Rupert Sanderson. 2724 Routh, 214-965-0180 or linuslounge.com. Call for hours.

GIFTS

Grange Hall

Smart Buy: Leather jewelry and handbags by Natalia Brilli

Darkly glamorous and often macabre little things fill every nook and cranny in what’s considered the best gift store in town. We can promise you’ll be hard-pressed to find taxidermied birds in bell jars, gold spider pendants covered in pavé diamonds, and shimmering pyrite-laden picture frames any other place. Everything is rare; much of it is an acquired taste. For something lighter, stop in for the gorgeously designed floral arrangements (delivery is available) and the no-need-to-water and budget-friendly succulents. 4445 Travis, Ste. 101; 214-443-0600 or urbanflowergrangehall.com. Open Mon—Sat 10—6. Closed Sun.

The T Shop

Smart Buy: Handpainted glassware called Chickenware

Lori Trent and her husband, Matthew, own this sliver of a Lakewood shop and have it charmingly overflowing with fantastic ideas for any occasion. Items pop out from every direction, but our favorites include fresh flowers and small plants for hostess gifts, candy-bright Italian-leather bound notebooks and cosmetic cases, and alligator- and twig-shaped graphite pencils. There is also a small selection of Matthew’s exquisite jewelry. And since every gift needs a note, Snow and Graham letterpress stationery is at the ready. For those patrons with a literary interest, ask about the store’s “Book Chat,” a lively conversation about novels, movies, and even magazines. 1911 Abrams Pkwy., Ste. 102; 214-821-8314 or thetrentshop.com. Open Mon—Fri 10—6, Sat 11—5. Closed Sun.

Madison

Smart Buy: Alligator-skin scratch pads

Prepare to swoon. Everything down to the oh-so-appropriate navy gift boxes wrapped with lusciously thick navy-and-white-striped grosgrain ribbon screams “proper,” “patrician,” and “very, very chic.” Brooke Astor would have been in heaven. Webster dictionaries bound in brightly colored leather, Christopher Spitzmiller lamps, and hand-painted Herend porcelain figurines are big-ticket recommendations. Winchester Mandala plastic picnic plates, silver-dipped shells, and William Yeoward leaf-shaped porcelain dishes are more-affordable options for the budget-conscious. 45A Highland Park Village, 214-528-8118 or madisondallas.com. Open Mon—Sat 10—6. Closed Sun.

Haven

Smart Buy: Nouvel glassware

Eco-friendly home accessories from around the world find a place at Jon Tutolo and John Bassignani’s relaxing West Village spot. The decor of creams, browns, and whites—even Bassignani’s cocker spaniel matches the interior—suggests a take-your-time attitude. Paraben-free wood-wicked DayNa Decker candles, drinking glasses and bedside carafes, and cozy Matteo bedding are no-fail hostess gifts. Beautifully rustic Estilo Argento trays, pitchers, and bowls, with their signature horn handles, elevate anything from the ordinary to the sophisticated. 3699 McKinney Ave., 214-954-1515 or haven-dallas.com. Open Mon—Sat 11—8, Sun noon—5.

Gardens

Smart Buy: Torrene Bacci hazelnut chocolate

This Austin-based home and garden boutique opened its Dallas outpost last year to a great reception. Discriminating green thumbs appreciate the simple clay pots that look more artful than plain, as well as hard-to-find seeds and bulbs that grow plants hearty enough to withstand the August sun or February ice. Bumbling outdoorswomen will like the surprising selection of artisanal salts, olives, and other cooking accoutrements. 3699 McKinney Ave., 214-528-7770 or gardens-austin.com. Open Mon—Wed 10—7, Thur—Sat 10—9, Sun noon-6.

KIDS

Babybliss

Too Cute To Miss: Shopping cart and high chair covers by Itzy Ritzy

Design-minded mommies flock here for the standout selection of baby and toddler furniture, toys, and clothing. Graphically driven sheet sets from Dwell Studio; modern changing tables, cribs, and bookcases for your Mini-Mes; and the boys’ and girls’ collection from Tea are a few options. And if you’re not a mama but need a shower gift, you won’t go wrong with machine-washable hand-knit cotton dolls by Blabla. 6721 Snider Plaza, 469-232-9420 or shopbabybliss.com. Open Mon—Sat 10—6, Sun noon—4.

Froggies 5 & 10

Too Cute To Miss: The large display of crazy hats and sunglasses

When you’re over toys that need batteries, head here for old-fashioned classics that never go out of style. Roll-and-release metal police cars and fire engines, wind-up tin robots, and silly fake-mustache kits are always in stock (and in demand). And if you’ve ever wondered where to get that hard-to-find collection of Pez dispensers, this is the spot for you. 3211 Knox, 214-522-5867 or froggies5and10.com. Open Mon—Sat 10—9, Sun 11—6.

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