Best Boutique 2022 | Desert Crafted | Goods & Services | Phoenix

Maybe there's a time and a place for luxury boutiques, but we'd rather be shopping at Desert Crafted, where the vibe is genuine, creative, and calm. Instead of being bombarded by glitz, we're embraced by desert tranquility here, where we always find a changing selection of goods curated by local artist Laura Plecas. On any given visit, we might find desert basics such as wide-brimmed hats or woven handbags, or self-care goodies like candles or exfoliating body brushes. We can always count on finding great gifts here, from unique earrings to ceramic trays with an evil eye motif. And the shop also carries original artworks by Plecas, which makes it a perfect place to start your journey as an art collector.

Now that we're all spending less time on the couch and more time out in the world again, shopping for clothes feels like a grand adventure. That's especially true at Phoenix General, where you'll find a carefully curated selection of fashions that strike the perfect balance between timeless and trendy. One day, you'll spot a denim jumpsuit with clean lines, and the next day you'll find a hand-knitted top with a geometric design and playful cutouts. Shelves hold accessories like hats and handbags you won't find in other shops around town, to help give the basic pieces in your wardrobe fresh life. Most importantly, the customer service here is superb, and we always feel great leaving the shop knowing we're supporting a local business with strong roots in Phoenix.

In our opinion, there aren't enough stores in metro Phoenix that are dedicated to outfitting men. And even fewer that offer carefully curated clothing and accessories that you don't see on everyone. But at least we've got Cave + Post Trading Co., which opened last year in central Phoenix. Cave + Post calls itself a "men's mercantile and general store." We call it the best place to find well-made, subtly stylish goods for ourselves and the men in our lives. Think striped summer button-downs by Marine Layer, retro sunglasses by AO Eyewear, hats by local designer Iconic Arizona, and a fun selection of graphic T-shirts. There's always something new to consider at Cave + Post, which is why we find ourselves visiting the store and the website again and again.

Well, it's come to this: Clothing from the 1990s is now considered vintage. Let's put that alarming development aside and focus on the fact that you can find stuff from the '90s, plus every other decade of the 20th century, at Antique Sugar in downtown Phoenix. The store sells clothing and accessories for men and women, and there are new treasures every time we stop in. Midcentury letter sweaters. Groovy 1970s rock T-shirts. Gorgeous Mad Men-style party dresses. Prices are reasonable, and there are bargains to be found, especially on the days when Antique Sugar marks a lot of their items at $5 to make room for new acquisitions. You can find out when the sale days are, as well as keep up with what's in store, on Antique Sugar's always-entertaining Instagram feed.

When Rihanna announced her pregnancy by posting a photo of herself, baby bump on full display, in a hot pink puffer coat, it went viral. But we couldn't help but notice the necklace she was wearing, a pearl and jewel number that purportedly cost $11,000. The superstar bought the eye-catching piece at Vintage by Misty, a small shop with a big reputation in Old Town Scottsdale. Vintage by Misty specializes in designer goods from the '60s to the '90s, everything from groovy Pucci sunglasses to disco-fabulous 1970s Gucci handbags to suede Chanel boots. There are no bargains here, but when you've been featured in British Vogue as one of best designer resale stores in the world, you don't have to offer deals. And if you've got any top-quality goods you're looking to part with, Vintage by Misty may take them, either by buying them outright or through consignment.

We appreciate a stylish pair of sneakers — on ourselves or others. So we love to browse the offerings at Many Worlds in central Phoenix. The clean, hip space is stocked with kicks from Nike, Adidas, and more, including plenty that are hard to find. On a recent visit, we ogled the Air Jordan 1 in a variety of colorways, super-comfortable Adidas Yeezy slides, and even tiny Nikes for little sneakerheads. Many Worlds shares space with Reshoevn8r, a sneaker-cleaning store and service, meaning our shoes always look their best. Besides sneakers, Many Worlds also carries branded hats, T-shirts, and water bottles, meaning we can truly look cool from head to toe.

You can really mess yourself up with a bad choice in running gear, so there's really no substitute for having smart, helpful staff who listen even better than they give sound advice. We find it every time at Runner's Den, where we start with laying a strong foundation for our feet before we delve into all the practical but fashionable running clothes we keep acquiring in the hopes it'll keep people from noticing how all that movement makes us sweat our butts off. Between group runs, workshops, injury clinics, and charity events, we constantly find ourselves getting smarter about the way we run. We love the camaraderie that develops from spending time here and meeting people for whom running might be a routine form of self-care or a chance to achieve a lifetime milestone. It's all about positivity and stretching yourself, which can't help but carry over into all those other places you test your limits in life.

Trill is a high-energy hip-hop shop promoting the genre's four fundamental elements: breaking, MCing (rapping), DJing, and graffiti. For starters, there's a dance floor in the middle of the shop for b-boys and b-girls to breakdance; in May, during their third-anniversary shindig, Trill hooked up the best breakers with $3,000 cash. Trill also provides a stage and sound system for local rap artists and DJs to perform, and they hook up graffiti artists in town with plenty of paint and wall space to use it on. In addition, the store slings everything hip-hop: the dopest streetwear from brands such as Supreme and Anti Social Social Club; art supplies; music in vinyl, CD, and cassette formats; DJ gear; sneakers; and toys and collectibles.

Cowtown Skateboards touts the fact that it focuses on "skateboarding only," allowing the circa-1997 chain with stores around the Valley to dial in on providing the best products at affordable prices. Cowtown sells brand-name decks, trucks, bearings, grip tape and wheels, skate gear and sneakers, slaps, skate mags, helmets and pads, and other merch — even healing cream in case you munch it. But besides just selling things, Cowtown is also dedicated to nurturing the local skateboarding community. The company hosts skateboard events throughout the Valley, including some that are for locals only and some that benefit charity, as well as PHXAM, an event that draws competitors from around the world. Whether you're a beginner dropping in or a pro flying in to compete, Cowtown has the knowledge and gear to get you off the ground.

If you're wondering about that zero-waste life or just want to take small steps toward a more sustainable existence, Desert Refillery is the place to start. Since 2020, owners Kyle Walters and Tiffany Skoyen have been working hard to bring the zero-waste philosophy to Phoenix and educate the community through their passion. Desert Refillery is the place to go for a bring-your-own-container station where you can fill your vessel with laundry detergent, dish soap, hair conditioner, and more. They also carry various sustainable products for everyday life, such as beeswax wraps and compostable utensils. Outside the shop, you can find them on Instagram giving tips, tricks, and recommendations for living more sustainably.

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