This flower of a boutique blossomed from a seed that Megan Timlin planted under the moniker Stritch last fall. Although the shop has since been rebranded as Whorl, the team behind it remains dedicated to making sure that stylish women in Denver have a place to pick up fashionable threads from local and national designers alike. Whorl is a mecca for all the things a conscious and chic girl needs: luxurious fashions hand-picked by people who live and breathe style. Whorl also stocks original works of art, candles and live hanging plants for those seeking quality home furnishings. Looking good, Denver.

The Cotery

Designer, community builder and Westword MasterMind Tricia Hoke teamed up with her tech-savvy entrepreneurial partner, Charlotte Genevier, to hatch a plan for putting Denver designers on the map without sucking up their limited cash flow. The result is the Cotery, both a service platform and a built-in marketplace that makes the business end of launching a line much simpler for an artist who is happiest creating designs. And it's incredibly easy: Designers are invited to submit limited-run lines of apparel that are crowdsourced for pre-sale to buyers. If there's enough interest in the line online, the prepaid garment orders will be manufactured and shipped. Too easy to be true? Not at all. Seeing is believing — and we're seeing the fashionable results all over town.

Prada? Kate Spade? Stella McCartney? Jimmy Choo? The once unaffordable comes much closer to matching what your pocketbook can cover at Ali's Closet, a friendly resale boutique with a twenty-year track record and a discerning eye for better-brand quality. The long-lived project of founders Casey and Carol Burnette, Ali's favors ritzy stock that's definitely on the high end, but you can shop like a lady here and get no snark. And that's priceless.

After spending 27 years on a storied block of East 13th Avenue, counterculture-apparel hub FashioNation made its way to 1594 South Broadway last year. Now bigger and better than ever, the shop has even more space for showing off its vinyl wearables, one-of-a-kind rockabilly party dresses and the largest selection of Dr. Martens in the state. Kids have their very own section of cool clothes and accessories here, too: FashioNation offshoot Babysitter's Nightmare is now a store within the store. Owners Pam and Paul Italiano take pride in being the local alternative-lifestyle shopper's dream closet as well as a magnet for world-renowned rock stars: the guys in Ministry, the Damned and Green Day all stop by for great clothes and excellent service whenever they're in town.

Every woman's running jacket offered by this Englewood-based online boutique is "sewn by the CEO," Sarah Vander Neut. And what jackets! SVN offers an astonishing array of patterns, colors and materials, all with attention to comfort and durability. Vander Neut has given considerable thought to what you might need during a hectic workout in just about any situation: thumb holes, a watch hole, reflective patches, hoods that adjust to accommodate a hat or ponytail, plus lots of pockets and spaces for hydration, your iPod and more. You go, girl.

Best Shop for Masquerade Attire and Fetish-Inspired Wearables

ArtsMyths

ArtsMyths

Catering to steampunks, goth queens, Victorian-fetish-ball attendees and every fancy human in between, ArtsMyths is a specialty apparel shop unique to this city. Hats, corsets, crowns and masks for all occasions can be found year-round at the distinguished shop, along with an assortment of stockings, jewelry and accessories to make your costume pop — or just liven up your everyday apparel. The mother-daughter duo of Tiffany and Lynn Smyth run the magical fashion factory, where they also offer custom wearable pieces made from leather, feathers, fabric and every other material imaginable.

Children of the '80s, rejoice! Someone found that secret spot in your brain where all those favorite action figures, Atari games and other pop-culture rarities have been gathering dust and made it real. Walking into this quaint storefront — with the mantra "STAY GOLD PONY BOY" printed on the entrance — is akin to a Marty McFly-level time slip, where you can not only touch, but procure all those items that made your rad youth worth living...and that your mom was totally wrong to throw out.

1874 S. Broadway

Maybe it's a stretch to call Buffalo Exchange a thrift store, but it does recycle gently worn garb at more affordable prices. And what garb! Because Buffalo Exchange specializes in still-stylish clothing in tip-top condition, this spot is a destination for the hipsters of South Broadway, not to mention the rest of the city's budget-conscious trendsetters. If you're looking for bottom-of-the barrel deals, there's still a big ol' Goodwill waiting for you right down the road, but if you're looking to do fashion a favor on a dime, stay right where you are. In a throwaway world, Buffalo Exchange keeps the best and brightest sartorial pieces.

Readers' choice: Buffalo Exchange

Assemblage artist Paul Moschell creates boundary-breaking hats — whimsical, fantastical, found-object creations — that made their debut in a pop-up shop last spring. A new venture for Moschell, the hats can be worn as an out-of-this-world fashion statement, but they also work as sculptural artworks. Who doesn't need a pillbox chapeau covered with tiny plastic babies with a bird on top, or a red riding helmet bestudded with feathers, glass eyeballs and horse teeth? A tip of the hat to them.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Aaron Thackeray

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is an inquisitive child's (and adult's) dream hangout, and its gift shop just continues the exciting learning experience. Complementing the museum's regular exhibits on space exploration, dinosaurs, ancient Egypt and wild animals from all over the world, the shop offers books, interactive games, educational toys, apparel and accessories for all ages that are equally worldly. This is one spot where kids won't mind going shopping. But there's just one problem: With all the puzzles, sticky things, glowing devices and even costumes to try on, the store can be as as much fun as the exhibits, and it can be tough to peel the kids away.

Readers' choice: Denver Art Museum

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