Oh, the joys of home ownership, a never-ending cycle of repair, remodel, repeat. Lucky for you, there's Stardust Building Supplies, one of the better-kept secrets of frugal home flippers and historic-home pickers alike. Admittedly, the local home improvement store — with three locations in Mesa, Glendale, and Phoenix — relies on donated materials, so finding that special something is hit or miss. Some weeks, there's nothing but discarded cabinetry and kitchen appliances. Other times, you might stumble upon the salvaged deco hardware of a downtown office building. Your best bet is to be patient as you peruse aisle after aisle of preowned windows, washers, and everything in between. Because for those who are willing to put in the time, Stardust can really deliver.

When dumpster diving doesn't sound ideal and cover charges for vintage markets seem absurd, there's one place yesteryear enthusiasts can always turn: the antique mall. With locations in Phoenix and Goodyear, the Brass Armadillo is Arizona's seven-day-a-week solution to sought-after knickknacks, collectibles, and, you guessed it, brass. Each behemoth store is a labyrinth of long-lost '50s Pyrex, Victorian dolls, and the occasional vintage ambulance gurney — all organized neatly by more than 600 dealers. Like any successful antique shopping expedition, a trip through the Brass Armadillo takes patience, a keen eye, and, more often than not, a shopping cart to carry everything you didn't know you needed.

Brass armadillo antique mall

Scottsdale Fashion Square

Since 1961, Scottsdale Fashion Square has been steadily building a retail empire, evolving over time from a two-anchor-store destination to a nearly 2-million-square-foot shopping oasis. Despite three stories of retail and restaurant space, a newly remodeled theater, and claiming the title of being the largest shopping mall in the Southwest, developers of the high-end hub are showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, just next year, they plan on debuting The Luxury Collection, an upscale annex complete with personal shoppers, style consultants, designer stores, runway shows, and VIP concierge services. A little much? Sure. But in the era of abandoned malls and Amazon Prime, we can't help but be in awe of Fashion Square's success.

scottsdale fashion square

We are longtime fans of Bunky Boutique, a sweet little shop named after owner Rachel Malloy's grandmother, featuring a lovely collection of men and women's clothing, jewelry, accessories, and cards. Malloy went sky-high this year when she opened a second Bunky outpost on the main concourse (pre-security!) at Terminal 4 at Sky Harbor. The shop features the same wonderful, carefully chosen items, and we even spied Malloy's signature jackalope hanging on the wall as we passed by recently. We're glad world travelers can bring a little Bunky home with them. Now if we can just get ourselves to the airport early enough to do some serious shopping before they board our flight.

Pink House

Historic Downtown Glendale packs a wallop when you need a place offering unique items — especially if that gift or little something for yourself needs to be a shade of pink. Spot Pink House Boutique off 58th Avenue across from Glendale's Velma Teague Branch Library, and head in for apparel, jewelry, travel items, bags, some frilly or rustic decor, and Hello Kitty accessories up the yang. Local designers include Bliss by Nikki G., Bri Bridge, and Gina's Original AZ, while the array of styles offered range from rockabilly to wild child. What's more, the boutique's only other location is in the French Quarter in New Orleans. Though not everything is pink, you'll have a very good chance of finding something you like in that particular hue.

We've found a kids clothing shop that carries brands like Oilily, Camper, and Converse, all at a small fraction of the original cost. There's one catch: The clothes are used. But always the highest quality, some never worn. Given how quickly Junior grows out of his pants, we can't pass up a deal this good. On a recent visit, our arms were full of Gap dresses, Abercrombie & Fitch jeans, and Minnetonka boots, all for sale for a few dollars each. A limited selection of toys and baby gear (think Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bags and Junie B. Jones books) is also available, and the staff couldn't be nicer. And best of all, once you outgrow what you buy here, you can bring it back, trade it in — and buy more.

hissyfits

The thing about living in Phoenix is that it's T-shirt weather pretty much all year round, so we like to keep our closet well-stocked with stylish, well-made tees. Enter Dovetail Vintage, a local company that sells its wares on Etsy and occasionally at events like Phoenix Flea and Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market. Despite the name, the duds are new, and owner Kylie Durkin designs shirts with a casual, low-key vibe that still manage to be stylish and hip. The items are made of high-quality, super-soft cotton that doesn't shrink or fade and feels like a dream to wear. We're partial to the "Phoenician" tee, which features the word in stacked letters next to a line drawing of our beloved state, showing our local pride and our love of well-made casualwear in one comfortable package.

state forty eight

The key to killer denim is timeless appeal: Cuts and styles may sway with the times, but broken-in jeans always look great. Phoenix General's selection is limited — check the sale section for brands like Corridor and Bridge and Burn — but the trendy central Phoenix shop is the spot for Levi's Made and Crafted and Vintage Clothing collections, which split the difference between greaser chic and classic miner-styled dungarees. This is the place for only the most serious denim shoppers and those with plenty of space on the credit card. You've got to look the part, too. Not everyone can get away with bib and brace overalls, but if you're someone who can, Phoenix General has you covered (in distressed denim).

There's no fighting it. Athleisure is comfortable, and the trend is apparently here to stay. Nobody in Phoenix does gym chic quite like R&R Surplus. Founded by Steve and Andi Rosenstein, the couple behind The Duce, the workout wear label and its CenPho storefront offer outfits that'll look great at spin class, brunch, and while you stress your way through a Trader Joe's trip. We're partial to the drapey hoodies, lightweight dusters, and super-soft leggings. But regardless of the piece you pick, it's all but guaranteed to be comfy, casual, and stylish without being showy. Which, you know, is the whole point of athleisure.

The Shoe Mill

Thank goodness Birkenstocks are trendy again, because our feet were killing us. And thank goodness for The Shoe Mill, the best place in town to stock up on 'Stocks. Don't want to bare your toes? That's okay, we didn't really want to see them. The Shoe Mill stocks all the big brands in comfortable footwear, including Naot, Dansko, and Merrill. From sandals to clogs and a few choices in between, you'll be standing proud after a trip to The Shoe Mill.

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