Story by Samantha McDonald Photos by Byron Thompson Denton Live Spring-Summer 2015

Vibrant, distinct, and never short of original, Denton is a nest of creative talent, musical geniuses and cultural belonging. In the recent decade, the city has also become a fashion hotspot with its generous collection of retail stores and specialty shops. These local charms not only guarantee uniquely Denton items, but also make for popular statement pieces from game night to a field day. Whether the goal is dressing up or getting down, Denton provides a shopping experience unlike any other – and here’s the proof.

For Your Favorite Handmades: The DIME Store 510 S. Locust St. 940-381-2324

Beginning as a virtual community of Etsy sellers, the Denton Independent Maker Exchange is now a brick-and-mortar store in the heart of downtown Denton. Its intimate living-room ambience and quaint interior is home to the wares of more than 400 members contributing to DIME. Displaying everything from “I heart Denton”-stitched pillows to wooden kitchen utensils, the shop differs from other handmade markets by selling nearly every item in the store, including their coveted furniture. Owners Rachel Aughtry and Shelley Christner also organize an annual Summer Bazaar in June featuring wall art, gift packages and jewelry created by local artists.

shopping barefoot WEBFor Tailgating: Barefoot Athletics 207 N. Elm St. 940-442-5855

Denton’s main campus outfitter is the go-to for all things school pride. Barefoot Athletics offers apparel and accessories, except shoes (hence the name). Barefoot celebrates national holidays and special occasions by creating themed merchandise, such as their Independence Day Star Spangled and Barefoot t-shirt series. The 6,000-square-foot shop holds events such as a UNT fashion show. With a mix of southern hip fashion and college tailgating wear, showing team spirit has never looked fancier.

For Mom and Pop (and the Rest of the Family): Garden Gate 121 N. Elm St. 940-566-9090

Satisfy Dad’s green thumb and Mom’s interior decorating skills with this gift shop’s planting arrangements and home décor. Specializing in silk and dried floral designs, Garden Gate has become a spring and summer favorite for garden-loving Dentonites. But that’s not all – the shop also offers woven pillows and ceramic dishware for the humble homemaker. Every nook and cranny is stacked with items of various sorts, so one can find something for big sis (jewelry from DaVinci and Grandmother’s Buttons), Fido (animal beds and costumes), and those who simply love holidays (hello, Easter eggs and Valentine-heart blankets). The shop has been on the Square for more than 20 years, but owner Traci Davis’ habit of constantly redesigning the store each season has been known to fool customers and passers-by into thinking Garden Gate is among Denton’s newest shopping additions.

 For Your Inner Shoe Junkie: ShoeFly 114 N. Locust St. 940-442-6888

This fashionista’s paradise – sister to the Square’s stylish La Di Da – is run by Emily Wiest and Diana Roblyer. ShoeFly is home to brands ranging from Seychelles to TOMS. Heels and flats line the shelves and tables, with chic accessories to boot (no pun intended), ShoeFly perfectly complements the clothing displayed next door at La Di Da. Whatever your fashion need, visit both ShoeFly and La Di Da to get yourself looking classy and fabulous in new duds.

For Your Cowboy: Weldon’s Saddle Shop & Western Wear 345 E. Hickory St. 940-382-1921

Perhaps the most authentic Western wear shop in North Texas (their leather is made by hand inside the building), Weldon’s has been a cowboy and cowgirl staple since 1957. The store’s saddles and memorabilia, wide selection of boots and clothing, Big Boot markdown sales and Weldon’s grandson Clint Wilkinson’s Bell + Oak collection have attracted celebrities and travelers from around the world, such as four-star Army Gen. Tommy Franks. Come roam this historical shop. It’ll be worth every minute and penny.

For the Vintage Lover:shopping desk WEB Shop the Barn 221 W. Oak St. 940-382-8670

Bringing in new items daily, this self-proclaimed shabby chic furniture shop is a one-of-a-kind vintage store that offers customers goods that include airplane propellers and teacarts. Discounts are rampant with sales offered almost every day at Shop the Barn. This uniquely Denton shop off the square screams vintage Ikea-catalog-meets-holiday spirit party. Best of all, store owners are constantly refurbishing furniture and other items for selling, which means personalized pieces not only throughout the year, but also with each visit.