Best Star Trek Paraphernalia
8770 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada
8400 E. Iliff Ave., Aurora
Beam me up, Scotty! Business is out of this world for Stephen and KathE Walker, who've turned their obsession with Star Trek--all generations--into two local stores and a booming mail-order trade. Customers from around the world--next stop, the universe!--rely on Starland to keep them up to their Vulcan ears in gewgaws from their favorite show. Kitschy, kitschy coup.
Best Nuclear Fallout
212 S. Broadway
Sure, the bottom of your kid brother's closet was a mess--but could you have guessed that all those cereal-box prizes, Pez dispensers, posable action figures and Gilligan's Island lunch boxes would someday be valuable collectibles? No, or else you'd be laughing all the way to the R2D2 piggy bank with the owners of Atomic Antiques, whose snug little emporium is stuffed with all the junk your mother threw out--and that now could pay your kid's way through college. It's all here: Danny Partridge Kool-Aid glasses, original Barbie Dream Homes, a genuine Campbell's Soup T-shirt signed by Andy Warhol, cases and cases of Star Trek miniatures, and assorted trinkets featuring the lesser-known but oh-so-familiar TV and comic-book characters that studded the Atomic Age. Hey, save that cool multicolored Formica teardrop-magazine-rack-cigarette-cocktail table for me!
Best Funky Furniture
Anthony's Used Furniture
4431 Tennyson St.
Put the word "antiques" right out of your mind, because that's not what you're going to find at Anthony's Used Furniture. Instead, Jack Anthony has crammed his place with old--but not that old--dressers, tables, chairs and lamps that have seen better days. His cheap treasures are perfect for do-it-yourselfers and would-be folk artists who like turning bargain furniture into one-of-a-kind conversation pieces. Spotted recently at his shop: an old glider sofa (with cushions) for $49, and Fifties metal lawn chairs, 12 bucks apiece.
Best Upscale Boutique
286 Fillmore St.
Tastes are fickle in trendy Cherry Creek North, but Tapestry has been going strong now for twenty years, selling beautiful and unusual clothes that are derived--but a voguish step removed--from the flowing caftan school of fashion. You'll find ethnically flavored, richly textured togs in knockout colors and fabrics, complemented by handsome, one-of-a-kind jewelry. It's a place to step outside the fashion cookie-cutter without losing a crumb of style.
Best Upscale Women's Clothing Buys
The Back Room at Loehmann's
7400 E. Hampden Ave.
Shedding your clothes in front of your fellow shoppers is a small price to pay for a bargain. At Loehmann's Back Room, you don't pay fancy fees for fancy tags--sometimes they've been cut out, anyway, and you just have to guess the maker (regulars get to be good at it). What you don't have to guess about is the quality of the product: Silk is silk, wool is wool, a great cut is a great cut, and it never goes out of style.
Best Junket for Shopaholics
Nordstrom's Sky Trip
Colorado doesn't have a Nordstrom's, the high-end department store famous for coddling customers. But there's something almost as good for credit junkies: annual store-sponsored weekend trips to the chain's Fashion Valley store in San Diego. This year's Sky Trip, slated for late July (when the winter fashions arrive), features round-trip airfare, two nights in a hotel and shuttles to and from the store--even an in-store hospitality room stocked with appetizers and beverages. Sky Trippers can also shop unmolested; the store opens an hour early in their honor.
Best Hole-in-the-Wall Boutique
1021 S. Gaylord St.
Truly a hole in the wall, Old South Gaylord's Come-Hither is full of wonderful clothes with a vintage feel. There's a rack of flimsy frocks in rayons and chiffons--all reminiscent of the days when women's clothing was more sensuous and less obvious--along with beautiful hats of the crushed-velvet and satin-flowered ilk, beaded scarves, and hairpins and headbands decorated with pale, delicate silk roses. Just the place for the Victorian in your soul.
Garbarini is the place to satisfy your wicked shoe fetish and get away with it. The shoes and boots from trendy makers like Kenneth Cole, Via Spiga, Studio Paolo and Cole-Haan are stylish to a fault (after all, the ultimate footwear fantasy needn't be tasteless). You'll also find the cutest little handbags, socks and gloves around.
Best Place to Indulge in an Imelda Marcos Fantasy
613 E. 13th Ave.
Store manager Paul Italiano rightly claims that the streetwise Fashionation carries the best alternative footwear inventory in the West, featuring sole-ful masterpieces from the most insane of cobblers. The funky shoe bazaar includes everything from steel-toed work shoes to thigh-high bitch boots and indigo-glittered Doc Marten's--something for the Liberace in all of us.
Best Incredibly Cool--and Incredibly Expensive--Cowboy Boots
Cherry Creek Shoe Biz
2636 E. 3rd Ave.