BROOKLYN — Crop tops, rompers, military jackets. Every boutique from Franklin to South First streets has its version of these three youthful essentials for spring.
But Greenpoint and Williamsburg are growing up. And the disheveled, slightly louche, Bedford Avenue style, which once seemed comically uniform, is getting better looking with age.
The focus has shifted from ironic, ugly-is-pretty outfits to clothes that announce homespun, small-town living — with a little grunge on the side. The blend of talented local designers, vintage and thrift shops, heritage garb, as well as a number of high-end stores that have moved into the area, make it a shopping paradise for kids playing grown-ups — or grown-ups playing kids.
Here's your cheat-sheet for a modish spring along the East River.
263 S. First St.
Heritage Design from Around the World.
What You'll Want To Wear: Don't miss Jesse Kamm's airy weekend-wear chambray pieces, which pair beautifully with the soft leather booties Arianna Bohling makes by hand in her Brooklyn studio. Susanne Rae, also a Brooklyn-based designer, creates pieces that are perfect to wear to work in the warm weather. Her cotton polka-dot blouse and and structured cut-out dress are both perfection. Joinery's men's wear is also quite special. Paris-based graffiti artists Aurelien Arbet and Jeremie Egry of the label Etudes create well-cut shirts in stone-washed pastel colors. Left Field's Japanese 10-ounce twill pants are good for spring. They are woven in Japan but cut and sewn in Brooklyn.
Spring Trends: Anti-trend. Wear what makes you comfortable.
Where to Wear: A Saturday afternoon at The Brooklyn Flea
203 Grand St. in Williamsburg, 220 Smith St. in Cobble Hill and 316 Fifth Ave. in Park Slope
What You'll Want To Wear: Bird has the best selection of jumpsuits out there, perfect for lazy girls who don't want to bother matching a top and bottom. You'll feel great, look thin and save money because you can dress them up or down. The store offers accessible pieces from a long list of local independent designers, as well as labels you can find at Barneys.
Where To Wear: Romantic dinner at Marlow & Sons
68 N. Third St.
Heritage Surf for Men.
What You'll Want To Wear: You'll want perfectly faded organic cotton tees, some solid, and some in a flamingo batik print by Industry Of All Nations, a socially-conscious design co-op. Try Norse Projects, from Copenhagen, for lightweight knit-wear and spiffy jackets. The board shorts by M.Nii. Makaha, a company that created the first pair of board shorts in the 1950s, are the perfect length (not too long) and can be worn as regular shorts because they're cotton.
Spring Trends: The striped nautical shirt or sweater is a must for the Brooklyn look. Pilgrim carries Armor Lux, the authentic Breton company.
Where to Wear: With tacos at Cafe De La Esquina across the street.
200 Bedford Ave.
What You'll Want To Wear: SkinGraft, an L.A.. based design house, makes killer leather pieces, including a braided leather mini skirt that Brooklyn Fox carries. Nili Lotan, in TriBeCa, does a bit of everything including a leather vest that hangs perfectly, well-tailored silk blouses, paper-thin knits and military jackets. Don't miss Bella Dahl and Riller & Fount's chambray. And, of course, the boutique carries a number of jumpsuits. Enza Costa's was so popular last spring and summer that Brooklyn Fox brought it back again.
Spring Trends: The color pistachio will be everywhere this spring. Zimmermann's shimmery lace dress from its Cruise 12/13 collection is on sale, and would be perfect for a wedding on the beach. Safari never goes out of style, but this year Mara Hoffman's safari shirt is embroidered with pineapples, palm tress and parrots in keeping with the tropical trend.
Where To Wear: Cocktails at the Wythe Hotel roof bar.
148 Bedford Ave.
What You'll Want To Wear: A Detacher's cobalt blue dress is meant for a spring wedding. Rag & Bone's bouncy knit LBD has an Azzedine Alaia feel, and would be perfect with lace-up Greek sandals. Rachel Comey's jumpsuit comes in a warm earthy camel color, and the fabric is crisp and shapely, giving it a different feel than the drapey jumpsuits. Jumelle carries the best high-end tees, from the likes of Swedish fashion house Hope and Alexander Wang, as well as less-is-more basics by Apiece Apart.
Spring Trends: The black and white trend is at its cleverest in Cedric Charlier's tunic top. The white top half has a razor-sharp vertical line, and the bottom black half erases hips.
Where To Wear: A wedding at Stage 4 in Steiner Studios.
129 Bedford Ave., 70 Greenpoint Ave.
Schoolgirl-meets-grandma-meets-sleazy older brother.
What You Want To Wear: In God We Trust's black high-waisted cigarette pants are an extremely exciting find. Why? Because you'll need something to wear with all those crop tops. For ladies, the design team created a chic sunglasses print this year that comes in a loose crop top, bustier, circle skirt, mini skirt, jumpsuit and silk scarf. Men will find great spring shirts in ikat, pastel plaid, well-drawn camo and chambray. Don't miss their $20 sunglasses.
Spring Trends: Cotton pistachio green ties and bow ties are irresistible. Bass's metallic cobalt blue loafers are a no-brainer at $89.
150 Franklin St.
What You'll Want To Wear: “Dalaga” is the Filipino word for “lady.” Owners and sisters Michelle and Mary Mangiliman are precise in their selection of pieces that are prim, wearable and won't break the bank. They carry the best of the brand BB Dakota, which makes affordable on-trend pieces, and also Jack, BB Dakota's sister label. Seychelles makes cute comfortable sandals, like the tortoise heel sandals, that usually don't run much more than $100. This Spring Ark & Co makes a schoolgirl romper that doesn't look like a romper. And you'll want to try out over-the-top fluoro prints by Brooklyn label Krystalrae.
Trends: A lightweight spring coat will ease the transition from winter. Go for bright, loose-fitting crop tops which show a sliver of skin when paired with high-waisted jean shorts. And you'll surely need a festival appropriate sundress.
Where To Wear: On a date at Brooklyn Bowl.