Best Costume Store 2015 | Easley's Fun Shop | Goods & Services | Phoenix

We've all been there. It's 2 p.m. the day before Halloween and you've just gotten a last-minute invitation to a costume party. You were planning to stay home and pass out candy this year, but now you need a costume that looks as though you'd planned it for weeks. Obviously, you're headed to Easley's Fun Shop. With the best selection of adult and children's costumes in the Valley, Easley's has just the thing for you. Maybe you decided to be crafty and make your own costume this year? Stop by Easley's to get some killer makeup that will put your look over the top. Of course, Easley's is there for more than just your Halloween needs. Got a '70s-themed birthday party next week? You know where to go.

Whether you aspire to do stand-up or simply want to step out of your comfort zone, Torch Theatre is your ticket for taking socialization to the next level. In addition to serving up its own weekly shows, the small Phoenix improv space offers a variety of drop-in classes and eight-week courses that range from beginner to advanced. Butcher, baker, or candlestick maker, you'll find all walks of life learning to let it all out on the stage. While learning to be funny doesn't come free, students do get an all-access pass to the Torch's regularly scheduled programming to see how professional antics are done. Meeting new people, making stuff up, and marking another activity off your bucket list? Sounds a heck of a lot better than speed-dating, if you ask us.

At $18 a pop, the School of Ballet Arizona is not the cheapest place in town to pick up an adult ballet class — but we stopped whining about the price as soon as we tried it out. The school, home to Ballet Arizona, the state's foremost professional ballet company, features beautiful studios with plenty of room to leap and high-quality flooring that makes turning a dream. It offers a dozen different classes — all danced out to live piano music — in the morning and evening, so it's easy to find something to fit your schedule. With three levels to choose from, the school is one of the only places in town that has something for every adult dancer, from the ballet-curious looking to take a first lesson to the experienced ballerina. The teachers do a great job of catering to the needs of individual students within the class, keeping everyone sweating. Good thing the school offers discount passes for frequent buyers.

Earlier this year, Amanda Rose led the dance company she directs, the Raqs Sharki Movement Collective, to first place in the Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition (the universe!). That should give you some idea of the sheer awesomeness you can expect from her Tuesday night class at Toolbox Dance Studio. As a dancer, Rose has a playful sense of musicality and a natural talent for stringing together shimmies and hip lifts in an organic way. Her instruction is on the cutting edge of modern belly dance trends, but it still manages, somehow, to maintain the authenticity of the centuries-old dance form. She keeps beginners comfortable and experienced dancers challenged.

We stumbled into this place once, desperate for cold coffee while driving around north Central Phoenix on a busy weekday, our eyes caught by the "espresso" sign on a window. "What's this, a bike cafe? C'mon . . .," we remember thinking skeptically. Then we went inside and fell in love with the place. We saw right away that it truly was both things it advertised — there's the counter for sandwiches and drinks, there's the rows of new bicycles for sale, there's the stands hoisting bicycles in for repair. The place even smells like coffee, new bicycles, and bicycle grease, an aroma that blends together well, believe it or not. Ever since that first magical trip — yes, the iced mocha kicked ass — we've been back to look at the bikes and bought equipment including gloves, a helmet, and biking shorts. Be careful about going to lunch there — it may cost you $2,000, but you'll be leaving with a sweet steed.

Readers Choice: Slippery Pig

We didn't think a pair of socks could change our lives. That is, until we went to Runner's Den and the staff pointed us toward a pair of running socks that since have become a fitness wardrobe staple. See, the people who work at Runner's Den are runners themselves, which means they know what you need even if you didn't know you needed it. Since 1978, this locally owned store has been a haven for both casual and serious runners. The knowledgeable staff go through a full fitting process before even suggesting you purchase a new pair of shoes, and if you're struggling with a nagging hamstring injury, they've got bi-monthly free injury clinics. We also suggest signing up for one of the Good Form Running class. These free 70-minute clinics will help you perfect your form for faster, safer running. With all these resources in one place, the only thing left to do is finally sign up for that race.

When the name of the region in which your state is located is a mix between the South and the Old West, cowboy boots are bound to be a given in the attire of the populace. But you'd better believe that just because these boots are worn more for fashion or comfort than assisting in wrangling a herd of cattle, it still matters where they are made. If they are the best of the best, those boots came from Espinoza Boot Maker. David Espinoza channels all 40 years of his experience working with leather into the boots he makes, and each pair is truly a piece of art. The boots start at $699, but we say splurge and go for a completely custom pair. After all, can you put a price on wearing art handmade specifically for you?

Check the tags on a few of your favorite pieces of clothing and chances are good that none of them will read "Made in America." Creating clothing that people want to wear is one thing. Creating that clothing ethically is a whole other. It costs more time, money, and energy — and Scottsdale denim brand Diego Milano is all about it. The line of rock 'n' roll-inspired jeans is more than boundary-pushing fashion, with its 3-D pockets and curve-enhancing piping. It's about creating clothes that people can feel good about wearing. We can't think of a better trend to get behind.

Though we generally agree that being a stylish dude is easier than being a stylish lady, we concede that finding menswear that is neither douchey nor bro-ish does prove more challenging than, say, finding clothing that one would not find on a Kardashian. That's not the case, however, when it comes to HUB. With an emphasis on elevated basics like super-soft T-shirts and designer denim, it's hard to go wrong at the Central Phoenix clotherie. With brands including Red Wing, Nudie, and Gant, the curated boutique could send even the most clueless guy out into the world with an easy, breezy look, like a model in an Esquire spread.

More than just a boutique, Central Phoenix shop Frances has turned into a cool-girl clubhouse. Thanks to workshops that feature local creatives like Lynne Bonnel and Brendan McCaskey and range in topic from the basics of knitting to embracing natural skincare, Georganne Bryant's store has become a bona fide hangout spot where making new pals and learning new crafts is actually super-fun. So's the shopping, as featured brands include Matt & Nat, Free People, and Bando. Not only can Frances get you all dressed up, it's also someplace to go.

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