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Not that anyone's going to be looking around your house, with the rear view you'll be offering.
Suede soles and heel height seem to be the most important factors for the serious dancer, and if you mean business, you're in luck here. From casual "social dancers" to the most competitive of the ballroom crowd, folks are heading to this Tempe store for their extensive selection.
We've gotta warn you, this place isn't easy to find. After more than three years at this location, Great American still doesn't have a sign over its door (evidently, it doesn't need one). Sandwiched between a nail salon and a wedding shop in this nondescript (formerly Michael's) plaza, you will find only a small sign on the door as a welcome.
Inside, you'll know you're in the right place: There are walls of men's and women's styles to choose from from the sensible black "practice shoe" to full on blinged-out sandals. Anything you don't find can be special-ordered. You'd better really wanna swing and salsa, though, as the average price runs $140 a pair (they do have some clearance styles). Totally worth the price tag, the die-hards tell us.
Owner Emily Blanche has hit on several keys to success in the resale world: location, inventory and price. Unlike some other vintage shops we were really rooting for (rest in peace, La Dolce Vintage), Gold Lion's actually got a good, accessible location in central Phoenix. And on top of that, once you get into the place, it's tough to leave. The selection is just that good. It's a relatively small space, but it's easy to waste an hour or so in the store playing dress- up with the hundreds of sundresses, heels, belts and purses, as well as the random kitsch floating around, like a brass unicorn statue we spotted recently. The inventory leans mostly toward '60s, '70s and '80s (yes, some '80s items are vintage now... even though we can remember them from the first time around), and best of all, Blanche has done an awesome job at making sure the store is stocked with a variety of sizes, not an easy thing to do in the vintage biz. The shop turns a year old in January here's hoping Blanche makes it.
Our only disappointment is that Small Change refuses all clothing from Target. Old Navy, too. And even the good stuff we had, they gave back too worn. That's okay, we don't blame them. We know we're not worthy. Just let us keep shopping there, okay?
The idea behind the do-it-yourself workshops comes from artist Wendy Tremayne, who wants communities to explore the reuse of recycled clothing and stop textile waste.
It's like the Build-A-Bear workshop fucked a Mongolian BBQ grill and then inbred with a Christmas Cookie Party and a White Elephant gift exchange then spawned all-fabric offspring. And we love it.
Then we scurry out the door and, heading north, stop off at Brandeis University Bookstore (3343 North Seventh Avenue), where we always find at least one slim volume to add to our personal library. Continuing up the street, we crash our favorite thrift shop, Flo's on 7th (4116 North Seventh Avenue), just north of Indian School, where we load up on housewares (last time, our big score was a dozen Mikasa crystal goblets and a set of Norleans china, for which we paid next to nothing; thank you, Flo!). A mad dash into Rust and Roses (4200 North Seventh Avenue) and Retro Redux (4303 North Seventh Avenue) to make sure they don't have that elusive teacart we've been searching for since the 1980s (and maybe, like last time, to add to our collection of tiki vases) precedes a leisurely stroll through Home Again, where we're bound to find some big honking piece of gorgeousness that will necessitate our shifting every stick of furniture back home to make room for it.
Then we pop in to Hollywood Regency (right around the corner at 708 West Montecito), because owner Heidi Owens has the exact same taste that we do, and we always end up maxing out our credit card there because, well, we want to own everything in her store. A quick peek into Qcumberz (4429 North Seventh Avenue) and Figs (4501 North Seventh Avenue), where we get our shabby-chic fix for the day, and we wind up our afternoon exhausted but happy at White Dove Thrift (5035 North Seventh Avenue), where we always score something (most recently, a giant punch bowl set for $18 and a box of funky silver napkin rings for five bucks). Who needs Tanqueray when there's a whole stretch of city filled with so many intoxicating, happy-making bargains?