The great American pastime of window-shopping is best done during the summer months, when time is spent indoors and there are no obligations to buy holiday gifts. Although you might want to reach for your wallet at every turn, sometimes a lack of funds and/or necessity prevents those impulse purchases. But it can't hurt to look, right? Not everyone can afford a ruby and emerald cocktail ring shaped like a strawberry -- but it's totally reasonable to prepare for if and when that day comes.
Here are 10 of our favorite spots to window shop.
The Willows Home and Garden French-inspired home furnishings, clothing, and knickknacks fill this Valley boutique, which feels as much like a showroom as a store. Shabby chic is the predominate aesthetic at the Willows. This extends to every piece of merchandise including furniture, bedding, accessories, apparel, and jewelry. The Willows even has an antique birdcage available for $975. Get lost in the racks of hand-dyed linen blouses, lay on a perfectly made bed that costs more than your student loans, and maybe even snack on a homemade Oreo (made in the store) while you're at it. Hand-dyed throw pillows cost anywhere from $175 to $240. The Willows has a collection of hand-picked items to be looked at and potentially bought.
Trouvé & Bibiche Trouvé offers home furnishings and store-within-a-store Bibiche takes care of apparel. Although the clothing is fairly reasonable price-wise, everything else is très cher (that's loosely translated French for keep dreaming). The antique home decor is undeniably beautiful, as is everything else in the newly relocated downtown Scottsdale store. The store is white-washed from floor to ceiling and filled with delicate jewelry and a random assortment of things for the home. Trouvé is heavenly, but the price tags will bring you back down to Earth. A ceramic coffee mug that costs over $114 is probably best for looking and not buying. A majority of the buying for the store is done in France, so the exchange rate isn't so forgiving.
Blueseeds Blueseeds is an interior design firm with a showroom downstairs that's retail-oriented. Blueseeds' aesthetic is that of a high-end Z Gallerie-meets-Pottery Barn hybrid. Peppered between gold-lacquered table lamps and imported sofas are tchotchkes like rare gem wine corks. Not everything in the store is a must-have, but it's certainly a must-see. There's nothing wrong with ogling a well-designed living room. If your budget allows, you could splurge on a $50 toiletry bag. Blueseeds isn't exactly budget friendly, but it's the perfect place to design your dream house.
Bungalow Furniture and Accessories North Scottsdale's Bungalow is an upscale version of Cost Plus. It's as if the store buyers bought a plane ticket around the world and picked up something special in every city along the way. Shoppers can spend hours exploring the 12,000-square-foot shop. The folks at Bungalow could decorate every square inch of your home -- and even fill your closet with a cotton LnA dress ($121) or two. Bungalow doesn't stick to one design style, so things are always interesting and new. Even the accessories are expensive, $75 leather flip-flops and a Buddha necklace that's more than $900. Home décor can be expensive and not always a necessity, which is why Bungalow offers some of the best window-shopping in town.
Jewelry by Gauthier Nothing says window-shopping quite like rare and precious gemstones. Obviously diamond rings and gold cuffs aren't usually on the shopping list, but they deserve some love. Even though love can't always be given in the form of ownership, admiration should suffice. Gauthier is an independent jeweler specializing in individually designed, modern jewelry. Black opal and diamond cocktail rings for just under $80,000 and aquamarine stud earrings for $22,900 are some of the more expensive pieces available. Gauthier's less-pricey pieces include a gold pendant accented with a dainty pearl that garners a price tag in the mid-$1,000 range. Each Gauthier piece is a one-of-a-kind work of art. That being said, most of Gauthier's jewelry is best reserved for weddings and post lottery win shopping sprees.
Vintage by Misty A Phoenix staple, Vintage by Misty is literally covered with finds from Europe, Israel, and everywhere in between. If a designer shift from the '70s isn't your style, then go ahead and make yourself a dress from some Missoni fabric for $120 a yard. In addition to clothes, Misty carries a treasure trove of jewelry and purses from another time. Misty also recently set up shop inside Scottsdale boutique Nové. Misty caters to a variety of shoppers, but this isn't exactly the place to do back-to-school shopping. VBM is a place to find investment pieces like the coveted, arty Saint Laurent ring that dates back to a time when there was still an Yves in YSL. These goods come at a steep price, but they're just too pretty to be overlooked.
Stephanie's The merchandise at Stephanie's is made up of items normally reserved for Los Angeles or New York. Stephanie's carries stuff previously only found on Shopbop and Net-a-Porter. This Scottsdale shop has transformed itself from children's furnishings to women's clothing and accessories -- although there's still a rack of onesies in the back. The space is merchandised like it's the home of a fashionista or muse. Equipment blouses, Mother Jeans, and a drool-worthy collection of coffee table books fill the space. The shop is probably the only place in Arizona that has Jenni Kayne d'Orsay flats, which start at $415. Stephanie's carries a limited collection of lines that not even Barneys carries, which makes it the ultimate place to gather inspiration for your fantasy birthday gift list.
Lindsay Lou The high-end clothing boutique with a Southwestern flare recently relocated from Hilton Village to Scottsdale Quarter. Vintage inspired T-shirts flank the shelves, nestled between Buddha heads and cacti. Rebecca Minkoff cross-bodies and Chan Luu wrap bracelets are not to be missed, and both have price tags exceeding $200. Lindsay Lou certainly fills the wearable fashion void in Phoenix. Stores that carry high-end casual wear are hard to come by in the Valley. Don't be disappointed when you spot the price on that actually-flattering perfect pair of denim shorts. Above all Lindsay Lou offers a chance to admire $100 sweat pants, while still wearing $20 sweats from your alma mater.
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Fashion by Robert Black Fashion by Robert Black is like a museum (with prices to match) filled with dresses previously only seen in photographs of your grandmother or great-grandmother for that matter. The store is truly like a black-and-white photo come to life. Each piece is hand selected and has a story like a dancer's costume embellished with giant Swarovski crystals and pearls that costs $1,200. Robert Black is the type of place Rachel Zoe would shop if she were looking for something Anne Hathaway might wear to a movie premier or the Oscars. If you're not heading to a Hollywood award show any time soon, you still deserve the opportunity to take a peek at the likes of vintage Chanel. While you're at it, go ahead and try on that silk gown with fur trim.