In September, Phoenix New Times celebrated the cream of the crop with our 36th annual Best of Phoenix edition. Here are our top picks for vintage and antique shopping in metro Phoenix.
Best Place to Buy Vintage Clothing: Vintage by Misty
When Misty Guerriero-Navon announced plans to move her vintage boutique from downtown Phoenix to Scottsdale, we were a little bummed. But we understood. The upscale boutique, which specializes in high-end fashion from decades past, seemed out of place next to a shuttered CD store and a Greek restaurant. Vintage by Misty's new home is located in Old Town Scottsdale's historic Brooks Building, with floor-to-ceiling windows and racks stuffed with the rich colors and eclectic patterns Misty's best known for carrying. Oh, and designers galore. We're talking Chanel, Pucci, and Yves Saint Laurent. Beyond the jaw-dropping, wallet-draining couture, you'll find home goods and budget-friendly picks. And for all those reasons, the new Vintage by Misty is more inviting than ever before.
Best Online Vintage Boutique: Luxie Vintage
Cory Martinez takes fashion risks we wouldn't dare try in our wildest sartorial dreams. Patterned leggings, floor-length hippie dresses, and punky acid-wash jeans are all on the table -- and a little scary to the all-black-clad set. And more power to her. The Tempe fashion maven, who runs online boutique Luxie Vintage, inspires us to push the envelope. And browsing her shop via Etsy and eBay (both complete with modeled shots of her handpicked pieces), makes us see how doable it is to incorporate splashes of Luxie's leopard print palazzo pants and Mexican sundresses into our otherwise monotonous closets. We'll get there -- one daring item at a time.
Best Antiques Mall: Antiques on Central
A great antique store is a place we can enter, lose track of time, walk around for hours, and totally enjoy. And that's why we heart Antiques on Central. With 65 dealers and 16,000 square feet, the store's beautifully organized and varied. Browsing the Native American pottery and French antiques is fun, but a broad array of dishware, furniture, and artworks is among the treasure waiting to be discovered. Our advice is to come in with an open mind and without a super-specific agenda, ignore the little statuettes that your grandma might go for, and see what you find.
Best Vintage Market: Junk in the Trunk
Nowadays, one man's trash is pretty much everyone else's treasure. But with retro, rustic, and recycled home décor on the rise, flea markets, swap meets, and Saturday morning garage sales simply aren't enough to satisfy the hungry junk fiend.
Lucky for us, professional pickers Lindsey Holt and Coley Arnold have banded together the best and the brightest treasure hunters in town to create the biannual Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market. This Scottsdale showcase of more than a hundred hand-selected vendors features everything from vintage collectibles to handcrafted custom creations. Save the dirty work for the dumpster divers because, thanks to Junk in the Trunk, one-of-a-kind finds aren't out of reach.
Best Place to Buy High-End Antiques: Rare Lion
More than three decades after it opened, Rare Lion remains a superb shop full of fine antiques and exceptional vintage jewelry. Carefully displayed furniture and dinnerware share space with ancient, pristine tapestries and fine art from the late 19th century. Looking for a better bookcase or a set of fine china? This is the place. Located in the heart of downtown Tempe, Rare Lion is a virtual homage to the past's better furniture makers and craftsmen. The management also offers appraisals of your collectibles, as well as an in-house gemologist who can assess the value of Grandma's pearl earrings.
Best Place to Buy Antiques on a Budget: Zinnias on Melrose
Everyone on your holiday shopping list wants something old for Chanukkah, right? And you've only got time to holiday shop on your lunch hour -- and a tiny budget, besides. So head to Zinnias, a giant antique dealer mall where you'll find great mid-century stuff (Hey, look! An Eames chair! A lava lamp! A harlequin paint-by-number kit!), cool Deco items (Is that a portable bar with Bakelite handles? Looky -- a penguin ice bucket!), and a whole lot more.
Someone else on your list wears only vintage frocks, you say? No prob, since Zinnias is home to Antique Sugar, a separate and quite large clothing boutique carefully crammed to the rafters with poodle skirts and shark skin suits and 40-year-old pumps in like-new condition. Get shopping!
Best Midcentury Modern Furniture: Red Modern Furniture
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Just because Mad Men is ending doesn't mean your Midcentury Modern obsession has to. And a lovely place to explore said obsession is Red Modern. Note: This ain't no thrift shop. That's true when it comes to the furniture emporium's stock and its according (sometimes eye-popping) prices. Walking through the showroom is like walking through a furniture buff's wildest fantasy. Mint green Hans Wegner papa bear chairs? Check. Impeccable rosewood credenza? Um, take your pick. How about a signed lithograph from Frank Gehry? Calm down -- yes. Before you head over, make a list of what you really, really want. Because it'll be easier than you imagine to get distracted.
Best Mid-Century Antiques: Modern on Melrose
We wanted a vintage Herman Miller/George Nelson slat bench -- not a knockoff. Instead of putting it on our Holy Grail list, we just hopped in our car and headed over to Modern on Melrose, a half-acre of interior and exterior commercial space located not in Southern California but here, among all those neat antique stores on Seventh Avenue between Camelback and Indian School roads. And there it was -- the perfect slat bench, which we didn't have to polish or repair because everything in this giant midcentury mall is ready-to-own. Established in 2012, Modern on Melrose quickly has become the best place in town to find a '60s swag lamp or a gaudy '70s sofa (avocado green, please!) or a hi-fi that's been fully restored and now ready to play your 8-tracks. With more than 30 combined years in vintage retail, M.O.M.'s friendly staff knows its stuff and is happy to conspire with you to turn your contemporary home into a mid-century showplace. Don't forget to nip outside into M.O.M.'s expansive outdoor area, where the store has stashed giant gleaming piles of vintage salvage and upcycled commercial for shabby-chic fans everywhere.