BEST PLACE TO BUY KIDS' USED CLOTHES, EAST SIDE

Once Upon a Child

A lot of moms scoff at the idea of buying used children's wear, picturing moth-eaten sweaters and stained onesies. Don't feel bad; we did too. That is, until we found this gem of a kids' shop hidden in a Chandler strip mall. The store is packed with rows of neatly hung apparel, from cute-as-a-button pink dresses to overalls for rambunctious toddlers. Everything smells fresh a hard thing to find in a resale store and all of the toys have been cleaned and repackaged in plastic for safety. You can find designer duds for a fraction of the price here if you look. There's a huge selection from Baby Gap, and you can occasionally find a Baby Phat tee or an Apple Bottoms onesie hidden on the rack. Our special tip? Sometimes the best picks are hanging in the storefront window. Pink Easter dresses with white fur muffs. Winnie-the-Pooh embroidered coveralls. Kids grow up too fast, but Once Upon a Child will help keep them in cute clothes as long as they're still little.

BEST PLACE TO BUY KIDS' USED CLOTHES, WEST SIDE

Other Mothers

Okay, admit it you love to get a slamming deal on your kid's clothes just as much as you love them looking cute, but you don't have the time to scour through piles of semi-gross used clothes at the Goodwill or hit the garage sale scene every Saturday at 6 a.m. Never fear: Other Mothers is one of the largest spots in the Valley to sleuth out the chichi-est of kiddy clothes for the least amount of scratch. The real perk is the trade-in you know you have bags of old clothes you'll never use again and Other Mothers pays better than most stores we checked out, giving you credit to burn. Go for the "get 10 outfits for 10 bucks" challenge (we made that up, but we tried it with success!) or buy a killer stroller for $30. Prices are generally 50 to 80 percent less than their retail price. With a rotating selection, and new product in almost daily, it pays to check in early and often to score those killer Guess Kids pants for $3. Other Mothers also resells a wide selection of women's clothing, baby furniture, and toys at prices equally dirt cheap everything but men's clothes. Don't worry; tell your man to stay home and put away the money you'll save for that 60-inch HDTV he's been dreaming of. Score!
Last Chance Bargain Shoes & Apparel
This category was created and has been sustained for Last Chance by a certain New Times writer so thoroughly addicted to the store that he now has 13 barely different pairs of top-shelf Italian ankle boots. This writer wonders, as does his wife, if Last Chance itself has made this man gay. No, no, on further thought, this is simply an asexual get-rich-quick obsession like gold fever. The shopper here is prospecting, digging through the ripped Pure Stuff short-staple cotton shirt that should cost a buck to find the perfect 100 percent cashmere Clan Douglas sweater for 98.2 percent off. For the persistent and studied, there is gold in them thar hills. For the green, more often fools' gold and frustration.
The best thing about resale clothing is that you can get a Marc Jacobs blouse for less than $100 and True Religion jeans for about $150 less than full retail price. The worst thing about resale clothing is that the blouse you just dropped $85 on isn't exactly your size, and those jeans are two inches too long. Don't even get us started on the hell of vintage clothing. We love it, but our closet's packed full of "project pieces" that we never got around to working on that dress that would look adorable if only it was shorter; that vintage tee that we were totally going to turn into a hot tank two summers ago. Which is why we're in love with Sunset Clothing Xchange for inviting tailor Karen Mealey to set up shop in its break room. Mealey has years of experience she's one of those I-used-to-make-outfits-for-my-Barbies kind of people. We're convinced she can do anything, from fixing a zipper, to hemming our pants (keeping the original seam!), to creating a jacket out of toilet seat covers. Really, she has one. And it looks great. We were already delighted with Sunset for supplying us with designer clothes we have to dig for hours at other resale shops to find. The fact that we don't have to pay full retail prices, and can have our clothes tailored exactly to our bodies all in one stop, is the reason Sunset makes us swoon.
With the asphalt melting under our soles in the triple-digit summer, shoes start to seem less like a fashion statement and more like a necessary evil. Those cool-looking Chucks and Docs give us sweaty toes and stinky feet, but walking around barefoot just isn't an option. Fortunately, there are flip-flops, and for the fashionistas who won't settle for some boring brown sandals, there are funky flip-flops at Go Kat Go. Whether you want to stand on some skeleton feet all summer long, or walk on some wicked-looking tiki heads, there's a pretty pair waiting on the racks here, from colorful polka-dot designs to classic black-and-white checkers. And you won't break the bank trying not to burn your feet, either there's not a pair on the shelves that costs more than 20 bucks. They'll even look good in winter, we promise.
Don't try this at home, kids. Every little girl wants pointe shoes as soon as she sees her first Nutcracker, but not every little girl will have them not if she has a good teacher, that is. Pointe is only for the right feet, the right body and the right student. If you're lucky (and hardworking enough) that your teacher says, "En pointe!" then hope she or he takes you nowhere but Barry's, where ballerinas big and small have been fitted for pointe shoes for decades. Barry's is also the one-stop shop for tights, leotards, lamb's wool all the accouterments a ballerina could ask for, except perhaps for the Band-Aids she'll no doubt need, after some time in those pointe shoes.
You can buy your jeans and flannel at Wal-Mart, cowboy, but when it comes to boots, you'd better find the best around. And we've found them for you, at David Espinoza's shop. It will take months, and it'll cost you almost $500, but you'll walk out of Espinoza Boot Maker with a pair of boots custom fit to your feet, with a one- or two-inch heel and the same attention to detail that the bootmakers of the 19th century turned to their craft. We know some picky cowpokes, and they say Espinoza is the place to go.
We don't recommend many chains in Best of Phoenix, but here's one we can't resist. Any time we feel our lives falling apart (and that's often), we head over to Cost Plus to find something to hold the pieces. We're never disappointed, particularly when there's a clearance sale. Even at full price, the enormous selection of imported baskets (big and small; rough and soft; colorful and earth-toned) makes us feel like we really can hold the whole world in our hands. Or, rather, our baskets.
Antique Gatherings
When you walk into an antique store and dust doesn't fly, you know you're not going to score any rusty tin signs or Beanie Babies. So it is with Antique Gatherings, an 18,000-square-foot mall that's packed to the rafters with high-end goods. Though the dealer wares are constantly changing as with any antique mall this is a great place to start if you're seeking something on the order of a well-preserved armoire or fainting couch, a Tiffany lamp, Capodimonte porcelain figurines, Villeroy & Boch ceramics, or china/glassware by the likes of Hadley, Limoges, or Royal Daulton. Antique Gatherings also has a dealer who specializes in rare books, and there's a large booth in back where you can buy (non-vintage) incense, candles and other aromatic delights.
Retro Redux
We hate the "retro" look. We're gonna hold out for the real thing. This is why we love Retro-Redux. It's not an Antiques Roadshow owner Beth Lipham is much more fun than that. Specializing in mid-century antiques, the store caters to the mod squad; lacquer lamps, laminate tables and fondue pots abound, without a Victorian armoire in sight. Not only that, Lipham keeps her prices well below book, so those of us without trust funds can afford to feel fancy. On a recent visit, we spotted a dining room set by mid-century furniture god Haywood Wakefield priced hundreds of dollars below its normal list price. Our favorite find? A black velvet picture of Saint Peter's crucifixion. It goes great with our new chartreuse sofa and bitter sense of irony.

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