Thursday, April 06, 2006

Cute + Cool = Fred Flare

I used to think that I got cute out of my system at a very young age. When I was really little, I loved jewelry, makeup (of course I wasn't allowed to touch it), stuffed animals, and all things ruffly, pink, floral, and otherwise girly. As I got a little older, it morphed into a sort of drag queen-tomboy thing; I was a kid with scrapes and bruises, wearing plastic jewelry and Mom's mascara, climbing a tree or begging my big brother to let me play soccer with him and his friends. A bit of a conundrum. At an even later age (think late elementary school/middle school), I started gravitating away from overly-cutesy stuff and toward simpler silhouettes. I satisfied my outdoorsy side by horseback riding, and started looking (slightly) less scruffy. I was never really interested in dressing in a way that wasn't at least somewhat feminine, but as my style evolved, I came to prefer touches that were visually interesting and engaging to things that were just cute.

So of course, now that it's been so long since I've actually wanted to dress in a style that could be classified as "cute," my interest in it is resurfacing. I still find interpretations of it cloying; I never want to wear Juicy Couture (except their shoes), and t-shirts with "cute" sayings like "Hot Boys Wanted" and "Your boyfriend thinks I'm cute" make me wretch. One place, however, that will never mess cute up, is Fred Flare. They sell a mishmash (love that word) of life necessities, like clothes (duh), accessories (duh), books, home goods, and so on and so forth. You probably could have guessed this from the title, but it's all really cute. The best part of it, however, is that all of it's clever, too. It's all kind of a funny, self-aware cute, cute like the slightly awkward indie music nerd that everyone loves because of his good looks and sunny disposition (why yes, I am thinking of a specific person). Their stuff is bright and colorful and fun, but none of it would look ridiculous on a person who is (and by "is", I mean "acts occasionally like") an adult. The pictured necklace meets all the above criteria (bright, colorful, fun), and it's almost kind of Marni-esque. The anchor t-shirt is an adorable (and cheap) way to simultaneously pay homage to and make fun of the nautical trend. The iPod speakers are no only infinitely useful and cool-looking, they're kind of retro-funny, too. A pair of earrings I have that came from Fred Flare (not pictured--I'm lazy) get comments every time I wear them. Fred Flare has hit the "cute" nail on the head, so go check them out.

Cute Overload also does cute right, but you can't buy clothes from them.


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