Better Than Best: Style and Services

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 5 | Posted Feb. 23, 2010

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Prime location, superior quality, an air of luxury and privilege—all this, of course, for over a century. What Holt’s Cigars does well—and without the condescension so often found at other shops—is carefully school its customers in the best practices of the genteel vice enjoyed by everyone from old-school political bigwigs to frat boys. Want to master the arcana of ring gauges and Candela wrappers? Ask away. Need a cutter for that delicious Padron Serie 1926 you just acquired? They have about a million. You’d best pay attention because (as the crafty signs at checkout attest) they won’t tolerate the careless mutilation of their fine handmade treasures.

Holt’s Cigars, 1522 Walnut St. holts.com

Best Place to Cheaply Satisfy Your Artmaking Habit

Face it, kiddo: After shelling out for rent, food, your overdue student loan, lager, January’s heating bill, a new helmet, that rare PIL vinyl you really needed, an emergency trip to the clinic and God knows what else, there’s not much left. And you’re not getting any younger, are you? So you’d better get rich and famous. Sadly, unless your talents run toward the conceptual (read: invisible), it takes lots of stuff to manifest your genius. Find the means and even the motivation at Artist & Craftsman Supply , a regional chain where almost anything is possible—and affordable, given its everyday discounted prices and frequent sales. A&C is also great for last-minute gifts and hard-to-find goodies like milk paint, hake brushes and bone folders.

Artist & Craftsmen Supply, 307 Market St. 267.861.6008. artistcraftsman.com

Best Place to Feel Good About Your Boobs

From members of the itty-bitty-titty committee to those searching for beyond-DD sizes to those who don’t even know what their bra size is anymore after switching birth control, Coeur has an excellent experience to offer. The Victoria’s Secret method of bra measurement—a tape measure run gingerly around the outside of your shirt—can sometimes leave you with an incorrect measurement that you then think of as your bra size for life. Coeur owner Mona Lisa Jackson will probably request that you get topless for your bra fitting, because she’s just that serious about getting you into the right size bra. She makes standing with your tits out in the back of the store feel oddly comfortable. In addition to offering you a selection of bras that fit right and come in varied price ranges, Jackson has been known to give customers the last word on properly putting on a bra, demonstrating on both herself and on you, if you’re comfortable with it.

Couer, 132 S. 17th St. 215.972.0373.

Best Place to Buy Clothes You Think Look Awesome And Your Dude Friends Will Think Look Dumb

Everyone knows that Fashion with a capital F is not about straight men. All one generally has to do to maximize appeal to straight men is wear something that fits properly, exaggerates the waist-to-hip ratio and is either very short or very low in the front. After a while, though, following this formula becomes dull. If you’ve got a case of A-line ennui, stop by Reward , curated by former Urban Outfitters buyer Shari Roulin to be full of some of the most not-boring clothes that are wearable even if you’re not Lady Gaga. Disregard what your dude friends might say about the skirt with the little pointy pleated hip-wings: You look awesome.

Reward, 55 N. Second St. rewardproject.com

Best Place to Hold a Kitten for Free

Sometimes, when your day is long, your boss is angry and your computer is making noises, you just want to go pet something furry. But because of your landlord, allergic boyfriend or lack of money for human food, let alone pet food, you don't have a pet of your own. Fortunately, Fairmount Pet Shoppe will let you drop by and play with the five to eight foster animals (usually kitties, although there’s an occasional bunny and a permanent store dog) that hang out in cages in the window. The nice ladies at the shop are securing their places in heaven by fostering cats in the store (they did 146 adoptions last year), so if you move, drop the allergic boyfriend or get a better job, you can adopt there too.

Fairmount Pet Shoppe, 2024 Fairmount Ave. 215.236.6080. fairmountpetshoppe.com

Best Place to Get a Work-Worthy Haircut or a Mullet for $30

The Alley used to be the best $30 haircut worth going all the way down to Mifflin Street for. Since they’ve relocated from their previous isolated-from-public-transit site, though, it’s just the best $30 haircut. Jeremiah and Kelly’s aesthetic definitely runs toward the sort of brightly colored, pointy hair that causes double takes; this is excellent if you’re looking for double-take hair, but also oddly reassuring if you’re just looking for a youthful yet professional haircut. It’s hard to worry that you’re going to end up looking like Kate Gosselin when the Misfits are playing and there’s a tiny dog with a streak of purple hair running around. The Alley’s specialties may be mostly for the young, but they have a dedication to customers that’s super old-school. Did we mention it’s $30?

The Alley, 118 South St. alleysalon.com

Best Place to Occasionally Find Awesome Art

Bare walls tell new friends and sexual partners that you’re either lacking in personality or piecing together a woman suit in your basement. Bob Marley posters shift the balance toward “boring” rather than “it places the lotion in the basket,” but wouldn’t you rather have something unique? Maybe even something with a frame? The Second Mile thrift stores in West Philly have a great track record of turning up framed anatomical diagrams, huge cowboy landscapes, amazing kids’ drawings and random paintings of old men among the pastel ’90s-flower still-life prints and “Hang in there, baby!” kitten posters. But, hey, if ’90s-flower still-life prints and “Hang in there, baby!” kitten posters are your thing, they’ve got those, too.

Second Mile thrift stores, 214 S. 45th St. 215.662.1663. secondmilecenter.com

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1. Stephanie said... on Feb 24, 2010 at 05:48PM

“I'm so glad Liberty and Hello were recognized for great service and skill. As far as hair stylists go in this city, many are hit or miss but Liberty is always a mega-hit! She has the best personality and makes you feel comfortable from the moment you meet her. I haven't been to her since last May and my hair still looks great and the color has even held. I won't go anywhere else!”

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2. CAROLYN VERDI said... on Feb 25, 2010 at 11:48AM

“Thank you very much for listing The Sample Rack as the best place to buy a wedding dress... I am Jim's associate who manages the business for him and sees the clients. Just for your information, we are in a new location at 918 Pine St. where I have moved my small boutique and wedding planning business in with The Sample Rack.

If you have any questions, or would like to come and see our new shop, please contact me, Carolyn at 215-925-2997.”

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3. T! said... on Mar 2, 2010 at 02:56PM

“Yes! I've been telling everyone I can about Liberty because she's so awesome. Every time I get a haircut, people notice it--and not just my coworkers, who are sort of expected to do so. But people on the street comment on the lines of the cut, which is a compliment entirely to Liberty and to Hello!”

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4. Holla! said... on Mar 2, 2010 at 06:57PM

“EXIT PHILADELPHIA KILLS IT!”

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5. Miriam Hohag said... on Mar 8, 2010 at 12:39PM

“PVLA's updated contact information is as follows:

Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, 200 S. Broad St. Suite 700. 215.790.3822 x1. www.artsandbusinessphila.org/pvla.”

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