Dallas Luxury Shopping
Everything really is bigger in Texas, even the shopping. The great sprawl of Dallas includes many uber-exclusive shopping centers and boutique stores, and even wealthier locals looking to spend money at them. Here in the Big D, as Dallas is known, the art of shopping is less a pastime and more of a very expensive extreme sport. Whether you're looking to grab a new pair of Manolo Blahniks for your tootsies, or slip into something more comfortable like a Chanel nightie, Dallas can fulfill all your shopping fantasies. Here, we've picked out the best of the biggest.
In the heart of Dallas's Highland Park neighborhood lies its most exclusive high-end, outdoor shopping plaza, Highland Park Village. The village lays claim to being America's first shopping center, but Dallas locals will likely agree they care less about its history than its stores. There's no fooling around with discounts or sales at this shopping mecca.
Shoppers exercise their credit cards in an extreme way as they browse the hallowed aisles of Jimmy Choo, Hermes, Chanel, Harry Winston, Diane von Furstenberg and more. Once you've worked up an appetite in the dressing rooms, head to one of the classy dining options (no fast food courts here, of course!), like Bistro 31, which offers Mediterranean fare, or Cafe Pacific, a Dallas institution serving up seafood for more than 30 years.
With more than 325 restaurants and stores, including super-luxe icons such as Tiffany's, Barneys, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta and Neiman Marcus, NorthPark Center feels more like an elite shoppers' paradise than a mere mall. Think there's no culture in shopping? Think again. NorthPark features a rotating collection of avid art collector Ray Nasher's sculptures throughout the center, as well as works by major artists like Andy Warhol, Frank Stella and Jim Dine.
Still, with more than $1 billion in annual sales, NorthPark shoppers are clearly doing more than art gazing. Originally opened in 1965, NorthPark underwent a major renovation and expansion several years ago, with a 15-screen movie theater, a 200,000-square-foot Nordstrom, a food plaza and a landscaped garden. And if you don't like dealing with parking lots and lugging your purchases to your car, no worries; NorthPark offers a concierge service and valet parking.
Typically when you think, "boutique shop," a small, exclusive storefront selling a few very expensive items comes to mind. But then, there are Dallas's boutique shops. In the land of "bigger is better," Forty Five Ten's boutique experience includes some 8,000 square feet of glitzy shopping. From high-end fashion brands to exquisite jewelry and pricey home goods, Forty Five Ten -- named after its address on McKinney Avenue -- can satisfy even the savviest shopper.
Live out your clothing fantasies trying on the latest fashions from icons like Givenchy, Balenciaga, Céline and Alexander McQueen. Keep your eyes peeled for a celebrity sighting; the boutique has played host to a clientele list that includes Jessica Simpson, Laura Bush and even Oprah. Plan to have lunch in the T Room, an actual tearoom that has become one of Dallas's trendiest lunch spots.
4. Cowboy Cool
So, you wanna be a cowgirl but your fashion know-how is a little more Harry Winston than Western? Take your credit cards straight to Cowboy Cool, a boutique specializing in upscale Western gear with a rock 'n' roll twist. Here, you will find a well-curated collection of items like cowboy boots with hand-tooled images of skulls, Texas flags and hot rods that'll set you back $2,000 or more.
You'll also find accessories like turquoise-encrusted belt buckles, which run in the $500 range, and cowboy hats from the Bullhide Hat Company, which at a mere $50 a pop, seem like a veritable steal. Chunky silver jewelry is de rigueur here; plan to pick up a massive-metal cuff bracelet, crucifix pendant or -- wait for it -- a 9-mm bullet necklace. You can buy your man, or even your kids, belts, buckles, boots, Western shirts and more, and know you'll all be on the cutting edge of cowboy style.
5. Neiman Marcus Flagship
The Neiman Marcus flagship store, which opened in Dallas in 1907, is like a mothership to shoppers visiting the Big D, and practically a source of religious worship for fashionable Dallasites. For more than a century, this local institution has provided some of Dallas's -- and nation's -- classiest, luxury shopping. Though Neiman Marcus outposts can be found at Dallas's other shopping centers, including NorthPark, it's still a feather in your cap to say you've shopped at the Neiman Marcus flagship store.
Try to visit the store during the holidays, when the exterior is decorated in thousands of lights, extravagant window displays are unveiled and a Christmas tree acts as a holiday centerpiece. If you do head to the flagship to exercise your shopping chops, plan to get there early; the flagship store closes at 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and is closed on Sunday.