SAS Fabrics by the Pound
We're all about remnants, so plowing through the big, waist-high cardboard boxes full of bolts of fabric at SAS is our idea of a good time. The thought of wholesale-priced silk and cotton blends that have been marked down makes us a little dizzy, so after grabbing some nice yardage, we move on to the long, long row of smaller boxes lined up along the low, wide counters of this Phoenix institution. There, we find vintage carded buttons, fabric ribbon at a dollar a roll, and enough imported lace to make an endless supply of mantillas. Finally, we head for the clearance aisle, which is filled with end-of-bolt material that's been reduced in price at least three times. We're giddy with glee as we head for the register, weighed down with tons of textiles and enough cash left over for a fun lunch. We love SAS! But consider yourself warned: Not all SAS locations are created equal. You'll find them across the Valley, but we much prefer the Central Phoenix SAS — victim of a fire a few years back, it's now much cleaner and better organized than its SAS-sy sisters.
Danese Creations
It's tough to find good fabric in Phoenix. We don't have serious fashion design students (or the cast of Project Runway) to necessitate a Mood Fabrics store, and we aren't enough of a "real city" to have super high-end places like Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. Sure, you can order online, but colors are never the same on your laptop screen as they are in real life, and it's tough to keep track of all those dang color swatches. Danese Creations can help. The funky spot (yes, the one with somewhat creepy mannequins in the window) carries more than a healthy handful of silk, satin, brocade, velvet, chiffon, organza, charmeuse, lace, and fine cottons. Feel free to wander through the bolts and see the beautiful hues first-hand. But be warned: You'll need to empty your wallet for these tough-to-find fabrics.
Valerianne of Scottsdale
We always feel a little dirty when we step into one of those bed and bath superstores (nothing super about it, if you ask us, even with one of those ubiquitous 20 percent off coupons) so that's why we were so happy when a friend told us about Valerianne. This is a "chain" with just two outposts — the other's in Vienna, Virginia — and definitely a "special occasion" kind of place. But as Valerianne's website explains, you spend a third of your life in bed, so you might as well do it in style. The shop stocks sheets with a thread count we've only dreamed about, and behind the sweet 1930s adobe there's a smaller guesthouse packed with goods for your bathroom. So get off your duff, Sleeping Beauty, and do it in style.
Willo Antiques
There are plenty of antiques malls around town, but most carry odds and ends that appeal to a select audience — French lace doilies, Superman lunchboxes, garage-sale crap repainted and marketed as overpriced shabby-chic. Willo Antiques, on the other hand, always manages to get the cream of the crop from estate sales. You never know what you'll find here on any given day. Willo mainly carries large antique furnishings such as dining tables, desks, and wardrobes, though it also has small but luxurious decorative items, including chandeliers and folding screens. Though many people can't afford anything bigger than a teacup here, you can always linger over a gorgeously upholstered mahogany settee or a china hutch with intricately carved filigree designs, hoping you'll hit the lottery.
Antique Gatherings
We found our room-size Persian Hamadan at this bustling, super-stocked local antiques mall, and if we told you how little we paid, you wouldn't believe us. There's an authentic and very old Iranian Isfahan there that we've had our eyes on for some time, but in the meantime, we're happy to have scored a hand-woven wool-on-cotton Bokhara runner for the dayroom and a scatter rug from "Dipsy of Manhattan" (according to its still-sewn-in label) circa 1940. All these and more came from a little room at the very back of Antique Gatherings, a room filled with nothing more than an eye-popping cache of old rugs in like-new condition, all of them displayed on runners and hanging wide on the wall. Any collector will tell you it's tough to find old rugs in great shape, but the folks at Antique Gatherings don't seem to know about this yet. Let's hope they don't find out.
Fashion by Robert Black
Robert Black's name was already synonymous with fashion in this city; he ran a popular modeling agency forever. Now he's sharing his good taste by dressing you in vintage wares. Housed in the landmark White Hogan building (once home to the famous silversmith), Fashion by Robert Black's got plenty of famous names on the rack — from Halston to Chanel to Oleg Cassini — at prices our friends-in-the-know swear are too good to be true. You may not wind up on the runway or even a red carpet, but you can still dress to the nines, dahling.
Love Child
Love Child offers great finds for the stylish kid in your life. You'll find groovy treasures — a rainbow of kiddy sunglasses, brands like Justice and Gap, and baby gear — throughout the store, and the staff offers good old-fashioned service to all who walk through the door. Love Child is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Head over and love the child in your life with some new (to you) duds, or dump a pile to sell.
Come close, because here's the bargain tip all the moms of the Valley are keeping to themselves: a twice-a-year indoor flea market filled only with kid goods. This is a two-day venue where you can sell your children's outgrown clothes, toys, and gear. If you are in need of wares for your peanuts, this is the place to pick up some nearly new items in great condition. Shhhh! Don't tell anyone.
Here on the Corner
One of our favorite things about college towns is the shopping. Such spots tend to be havens for tiny boutiques, tucked away off busy streets, holding sweet one-of-a-kind treasures. There's not enough of that in the town that houses one of the nation's universities, as far as we're concerned, but we are lucky enough to have Here on the Corner. Run by longtime Tempe types and featuring the work of local designers, this place doesn't pretend to be anything more than an indie shop for sorority girls. And that's just fine, considering it's located at the edge of Arizona State University. College girls on a budget can find cute hats and purses, drape-y tops and skinny jeans, and enough baubles to cover it all. And the service is friendly and prices affordable. Keep an eye out for such events as the regular fashion/food confab HOTC had going this summer with La Bocca, the Italian joint on Mill. Like we said, we could use more shops like this one.
Last Chance Bargain Shoes & Apparel
We are accustomed to running into friendly firefighters shopping for dinner at our neighborhood Safeway, but when we spotted a gaggle of firemen near the front of the line at Last Chance on a recent visit, we got a little uppity. "Jeez," we said (luckily only to ourselves), "the bargains are good here, but really, shouldn't those firefighters be adjusting their hoses or waxing their poles instead of shopping?"Then we got close enough to see the victim on the floor. Given the pushing and shoving that goes on at this shopping mecca — folks come from all over the country (indeed, the world) to pick through the Nordstrom wares on sale at the one and only Last Chance outlet — you gotta figure that sooner or later, someone was going to pass out. We certainly hope he or she is okay, but we didn't stick around to find out. We were on a quest for a certain Prada purse that day. Whether it's Ugg boots or Taryn Rose flats, you just might find your dream item at Last Chance — for a fraction of the original price. You never do know what will be on the racks, and the selection changes all day long, so get a physical and get over to Last Chance.

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