A recession doesn't mean we should wear last season's duds.
If you're the type that has to find the perfect, funny gift for everyone instead of just running out and buying up overpriced items at the last minute, the store for you is Fred Flare in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Owned by Chicago transplants Chris Bick and Keith Carollo, Fred Flare's chock full of awesome (transportable) items.
By awesome we mean bacon flavored dental floss (yes, we know, perfect for your dad/grandpa/meat-loving brother), the hamburger phone from "Juno," a Holly Golightly sleep mask (excellent for your insomniac friend), sparrow salt and pepper shakers or even an LED menorah.
Fred Flare's the type of place where you'll find something hilarious for everyone, quickly making you the talk of the holiday. Our favorite part is that the stuff's cheap, and we mean like mostly under $25. If you shop online right now and spend $75, you get free shipping too.
Fred's motto is "stay cute," and employees are upbeat and helpful when you need them but stay away when you just want to browse. The shop's closed Monday and Tuesday but open noon-7 pm Wednesday-Saturday and noon-5 pm on Sunday.
As Thanksgiving inches ever closer, we are immediately reminded of all the holiday shopping we have yet to tackle--and the budget we are lacking to tackle it with! Not to worry, we're back with this week's recession shopping stop in NYC: Saada, perched cutely on the corner of Second Avenue and 61st Street.
Saada means "happiness" in Arabic, and we have to admit that we feel pretty damn good after shopping here. There's almost always something fun in the window, and the store features tons of stuff for the best girlfriend/sister/co-worker in your life. One of the best parts about Saada is its reasonable prices: Rarely are items over $100 and they often have little-known designer sample sales and will sometimes slash prices if you ask... (You didn't hear it from us!)
Recently we scored two long sweaters, leggings, an offbeat necklace and bag for under $200. If you want to splurge, Saada also carries high-end lines like Sass & Bide, True Religion and Mackage. The two tables in front are usually covered with the items selling out the quickest, so be sure to triple check there before moving to the long racks down the wall.
The shop's salespeople are also very friendly and honest about sizes and fits. We just bought a long skinny sweater which we had an inkling would be snug and Saada called us back in a day to tell us the larger size was in and we could exchange it, no questions asked. That spells true recession retail happiness to us in any language.
[Photo: Google Maps]
Once the weather turns chillier, we inevitably turn from our closets in despair: Where did all the cool clothes we bought last winter disappear to? Hm. Time for some seasonal shopping, although this year's budget is, um, a little bit tighter than last year's. So we're delighted to offer you some Recession Shopping spots to check out worldwide.
If you're sick of shopping for new fall and winter clothes in giant department stores or chains with canned-response sales clerks who tell you everything looks good on you, take a break from them all and head to Greenpoint in Brooklyn to the mecca that is Dalaga. Located "on the sunny side of Franklin Street" Dalaga is what we imagined mom and pop shops were like decades ago.
The staff is friendly, honest and actually helpful. The lighting is just right and the interior, assembled with bits of a Victorian bedroom set found by the owner and friends in the neighborhood, makes you feel as though you've stumbled on an amazing closet of finds. Opened in 2006 by designer Michelle Mangilian, "Dalaga" is a Tagalog word that Michelle interprets as "quintessential woman in her prime." Guys, don't feel left out, there's awesome men's clothing too.
And the racks of clothes? Excellent both in style and in price. We found a very cool Sherlock Holmes-y style fall cape for under $100. Dalaga seems to have something for every day too, from formal dresses and suits, to more casual sweaters, boots, hats and fun tights. The best part? We were eager to step out of the dressing room each time because the staff straight up told us what worked and what didn't. We never felt like they were just trying to make a sale. Dalaga's open from noon-9, Tuesday-Sunday.