Fred Flare

Neighborhood: Greenpoint
Type of Place: Gift Shops Women's Clothing

So we're finally in the home stretch of winter--which you can tell because these days, if you're lucky, you can actually grab a few minutes of sunlight after you clock out from work. To celebrate the (gradually) lighter days, check out Fred Flare, which offers clothes and gifts with a decidedly sunny mood.

Clothes worth coveting: A folksy pleated skirt in royal blue with a band of turquoise at the hem ($66); a black "spy girl" trench coat with spiffy white piping ($88); "sweetheart" bustiers in red or black (I was apparently too busy being charmed by these to write down the price, though I recall it as in the $40 range); and a deeply adorable Paul Frank hoodie featuring festive polka dots, Frank's trademark smiling monkey (named Julius, in case you've ever wondered), and--perhaps cutest of all--little fabric "ears" on top of the hood (Puppy? Kitten? Wolf? You decide!).

The accessories here are equally spirit-lifting: a tote bag featuring highlights of the Williamsburg/Greenpoint neighborhoods (including Peter Pan doughnuts, the deliciousness of which can hardly be overstated), $20; "Yes/No/Maybe" rings (with a dial you can move around to these three choices), $10; fantastic electric-guitar brooches in red, white, or black that I really must buy for my styling rocker friends ($9); a tote from locals 31 Corn Lane sporting joyful balloons on a blue background; wathches that speak the time in Japanese ($19); heart-shaped rings filled with what look like cupcake sprinkles ($11); and one more great tote, printed to look like a big cassette tape (fun, original, and on a very good sale: $9.99 right now).

Giftwise, how about "Let's Paint the '90s," complete with paints, brush, and a book of such iconic '90s images as "Baywatch" characters and Dan Quayle ($12.95)? Or for the hungry detective, the delightful "Nancy Drew Cookbook," spotlighting dishes Nancy might whip up when she wasn't busy cracking the Mystery of the Old Clock.

I'm thinking it may be impossible to feel entirely weighted down when you're sporting (or gifting) a hoody with little ears or a sugar-sprinkle ring. Dive in, have fun, and enjoy the light.
  - Pamela Grossman; March 3, 2009

Fred Flare
131 Meserole Avenue
(near Leonard Street)
Brooklyn, NY 11222