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Best Stocking Stuffer
Ultra Legs Hosiery and Lingerie Outlet
3444 S. Broadway, Englewood

The thigh's the limit at Ultra Legs, which has about every kind of hosiery you could want, often for a fraction of what you'd pay at department stores. Need some purple pantyhose? Choose from not one, not two, but a dozen different shades. A naughty nightie? Ditto. Walk, don't run, to South Broadway.

Best Costume Shop
Marcia's of Denver
8693 Washington St., Thornton

If your first trip to Marcia's of Denver comes just after you've cruised all those pricey costume shops in fancy retail areas, you're guaranteed to feel like you walked into an after-the-holiday sale. It's noticeably cheaper than snobville and has a lot more masks and headwear than you'll find in most other stores. Marcia's also has an extensive collection of rental costumes at prices that wear very well--and one of the most dramatic displays of theatrical makeup around. Put on a happy face--and remember, despite its name, the shop is located in Thornton.

Best Drag Queen Clothes
Hero Group Outlet
227 N. Blue River Pkwy., Silverthorne

To be a truly successful female impersonator--or just to bask in the reflected glow--you need enough fluted beads to choke a horse, enough cleavage to smother a small child, and a high-enough leg slit to force Liza Minnelli to give up and leave town. So you need to drive a few hours to obtain all this? No one ever said entertaining was easy.

Best Place to Sell Your Jewelry
Marshall's Precious Metals, Inc.
3509 W. 38th Ave.

There's big money in antique jewelry. But Marshall's Precious Metals deals in more than that. Bring your scrap gold, that garish diamond ring Aunt Sophie left you, those gold cuff links you've been hiding in the back of your top dresser drawer for the past twenty years and your ex-husband's wedding ring. Marshall pays better than pawn shops and most of those jewelry-and-coin dealers in town. And nowhere else will you find such an amusing character to deal with.

Best Party Shop
Party America
Four metro locations

Whether you're planning a party for wee preschoolers, slacker graduates, lamenting middle-agers or cranky octogenarians, don't try to do so without first visiting Party America. Batman and Barbie cakepans, Wurmz-n-Durt gummies in cookie crumbs, life-sized Star Trek standups, guitar pinatas, Tasmanian Devil helium balloons, silk flowers and Old Geezer photo storybooks all commingle happily under one broad-minded roof. If you can't accommodate your theme here, forget it.

Best Paper Plates
Cherry Creek Card and Party Shop
2828 E. 6th Ave.

You want to throw a special fete, but you can't bear the thought of doing endless amounts of dishes. That's when you head to Cherry Creek Card and Party Shop, which has plates so gorgeous they look like china. They've got paper plates suitable for Hawaiian luaus, Mexican fiestas and Kentucky Derby do's. They've got paper plates in gold, black, white and fuchsia. You get the idea. In fact, you may end up washing them instead of throwing them away.

Best Gift Wrap to Buy
Tattered Cover Book Stores
2955 E. 1st Ave.
1628 16th St.

The Tattered Covers don't have an endless selection, but what they do have--available in individual sheets or rolls--is beautiful, capricious and ever-sophisticated. Choose from smiling, candy-colored cats for your nephew's picture book, a map print for Dad's travel guide or chile peppers for that salsa cookbook. That's a wrap.

Best Dried Flowers
244 Detroit St.

The folks at Frippery's don't consider themselves florists, but this is the choicest place we know to pick dried flowers. Most of the blooms are dried by the staff and vary by the season. You can always find roses, but late spring is a good time to get dried mums, yarrow and lavender. Sunflowers abound at the end of summer.

Best Flower Shop
Thomas Floral
1 Broadway

Thomas Floral employs arrangers who specialize in weddings, parties, funerals and other occasions, and it's clear they love their work. The staff is never too swamped to make that one-of-a-kind arrangement or talk with an indecisive customer. Those who routinely buy cut flowers know they can be fairly pricey around town, but the deals here may make you blush--just like the assortment of adult games and novelties in Thomas's gift shop.

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