Pandora Jewelry
Pandora Jewelry carries much more than just jewelry. There's Angel Snot (sticky, gooey, sparkly stuff that comes in an egg), Dress-Me-Jesus dolls, hula-girl dashboard ornaments and bacon-strip band-aids, just for starters. And who can live without tater-tot pencil toppers? If kitsch isn't on your shopping list, you can stock up on hip gifts, including groovy greeting cards, luxurious candles and soaps, glittery jewelry and unique chi-chi shwag that's good for any last-minute hostess gift. Open Pandora's box; we guarantee you won't be disappointed.
Rosi Macedo is a diminutive gem of a jewelry designer with a monstrous talent. After years of study and designing in Rio de Janeiro and New York City, the Brazilian native moved to Denver and opened a shop here in 1993, where she creates gorgeous custom jewelry using semi-precious and precious stones in gold, platinum and silver. Her work is perfect for any occasion, but Macedo's real specialty is same-sex commitment rings. They're pretty enough to make Marilyn Musgrave envious.
A cute bag is a girl's best friend. And, like girlfriends, you need more than one: Each bag in your collection should fulfill a specific need, appeal to a certain facet of your ever-changing, sparkling personality. The Pink Purse celebrates such diversity with a selection of hip pocketbooks that range from functional to outright silly. Hooray for the Zippurse and the Original Seatbeltbag for turning everyday materials into something fabulous and durable; three cheers for Matt & Nat's PETA-approved synthetic leather "vegan" bags in fun colors; and kudos to Little Earth's molded license-plate bags, including a Euro-sleek Italian one and a rootin'-tootin' Wyoming model with a root beer bottle-cap clasp. Thank heaven for Hello Kitty couture, suede-fringed hobos, corduroy clutches and everything in between. Hey, it's in the bag.
Staying on the cusp of urban-sneaker culture is a tough mission that involves a constant dialogue between the word on the street and the drafting table. But Kris Fry and brothers Randy and Mark Kleiner decided to give it a shot last year, opening The 400 as a real working retail laboratory. Besides doing research for clients in the skate, action-sports and running-shoe industries, the three operate a storefront where they display and sell shoes you won't find in the malls, from such seriously up-to-date collectable lines as Adidas Trendline, Nike Quickstrike, Gravis Blackbox and Onitsuka Tiger. The 400 also exhibits artwork by local graffiti artists and graphic designers on First Fridays; in the crowds, just be careful not to step on anyone's shoes.
What you put on your face has to be carefully considered, since that's where people look first, and the glasses you wear should speak for you. If you want your face to say "hip" and "cutting-edge," head to DisRespectacles, the only outpost of this big-city-style store outside of New York. For chunky, oversized shades, updated aviators and freaky, fat rectangular frames that make a statement, look no further than this Platte Street spectacle.
If you're gonna play poker, you're gonna have to dress poker. If you were a bulldog, a visor and cigar would be all that you'd need. But two-legged folk like a fuller house. That's what area tournament player/ real-estate investor/Vegas hustler Michael Turnbull banked on when he created PokerMade, an online shop hawking T-shirts, caps and women's panties emblazoned with poker slogans and symbols that range from the straightforward "Deal Me In" to the iconic, Last Supper-parody "Poker Night With the Boys." Read 'em and weep, boys, read 'em and weep.
Your Best Friend's Closet
If you can squeeze into something smaller than a size fourteen, Ranelle Gregory's inviting vintage, thrift and consignment clothing shop is a bargain paradise. Fittingly, Your Best Friend's Closet is best experienced with a friend, so take one along who enjoys stroking fabric, eyeing jewelry and mining for good labels. Help each other pick out outfits and then model the results: More often than not, you'll get lucky in Your Best Friend's Closet.
Safari Seconds Thrift Store
Safari Seconds isn't the biggest, the cleanest or even the most discerning thrift store in town, but it supports a very good cause: The shop is a fundraising venture of the non-profit African Community Center and employs immigrants in need of social acclimation and job experience. Tucked behind Manos, Safari Seconds can be tough to find, but there are a few specialties here that make the hunt worthwhile, particularly the Ethiopian coffee, the trinkets and store manager Jerry Baack, a Vietnam vet with a big heart and an eye for antiques and vintage glass. It's a jungle out there, but Safari makes it worth the trek.
Eras Vintage is everything a good vintage store should be: cozy, cluttered and brimming with surprises. Every time one layer is excavated, another trove of treasures is uncovered. Proprietor Bobbi Boynton opened her shop last May and filled it with hats and shoes and bags and clothes and pitchers and needlework and Tom Collins glasses and more; the list goes on and on. She keeps the clothes impeccably repaired, and her selections befit a woman who always has an eye on fashion -- a trait she attributes to her mother. The only way Eras could be better is if it were a secret stash you found in your grandmother's closet.
Located in super-hip Highland is the equally hip Swank. On the scene for just a year, Swank has the quintessential elements of a successful independent clothing store: itty-bitty clothes; oversized, crystal-encrusted jewelry; sequin-adorned everything; and no more than three of one item. Jeans that already look worn and whiskered to perfection -- at a mere $100 per pair -- line the exposed-brick walls, and dry-clean-only satin tops hang on metal racks. Owner Wendy Vandermaas brings in the freshest designs from California, New York and Europe to outfit Denver's most stylish and independent-minded residents.

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