Best indie shops: Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens

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  • Dear Fieldbinder

  • Dear Fieldbinder

  • Epaulet

  • Epaulet

  • Exit9 Gift Emporium

  • Lee Lee's Valise

  • Lee Lee's Valise

  • Mongo

  • Mongo

  • Mongo

  • Olive's Very Vintage

  • Olive's Very Vintage

  • Retrospect

  • Retrospect

  • Rime

  • Smith + Butler

  • Smith + Butler

  • Smith + Butler

Dear Fieldbinder

Dear Fieldbinder
Owner Lara Fieldbinder has a genius eye for what's hip, happening and sure to be a hot little number at Union Pool—and her eponymous boutique is hands-down the most fashion-forward shop in the neighborhood. From the graphic (Dusen Dusen frocks, Twinkle by Wenlan tunics) to the girly (anything Cynthia Steffe), the boutique's well-edited selection of tanks, dresses, shorts, wedges, flats and jewelry leaves few styles untapped. TONY deal: Enter discount code TONY during checkout when shopping online at dearfieldbinder.com to get 15 percent off everything in the shop through April 29. 198 Smith St between Baltic and Warren Sts (718-852-3620, dearfieldbinder.com)

Epaulet
Mike Kuhle and Adele Berne's shop smells as good as it looks, thanks to its ample supply of Baxter of California candles and grooming products. And the shop attracts the sort of guy who's into that—one who'd burn a candle while shaving, then slip into a pair of straight-leg jeans made from Japanese selvedge-denim and a lightweight gingham button-down (designed by the shop's owners). Other top picks include ties, tie bars, cuff links, hats hand-knit by Berne's mama, scores of Toms shoes, and dresses, tunics and heels for the ladies. 231 Smith St between Butler and Douglass Sts (718-522-3800, epauletshop.com)

Exit9 Gift Emporium
This oddball shop is like Spencer's for grown-ups—except there are no naked fat-lady greeting cards. Gags and gaffs abound, whether they're virtually useless (Believe in God breath spray, denture-shaped ice-cube trays) or surprisingly useful (sturdy wallets, pencils shaped like drumsticks). This is indisputably the neighborhood's go-to spot for wacky games, goofy cards, silly stocking-stuffers and everything in between. TONY deal: Mention TONY to receive 20 percent off everything in the shop through April 22. 127 Smith St between Dean and Pacific Sts (718-422-7720, shopexit9.com)

Lee Lee's Valise
This What Not to Wear favorite (the shop has appeared in more than a dozen episodes) stocks women's apparel in sizes 10 through 28. And guess what? It's stuff you'd actually want to wear. Gregarious owner Lisa Dolan got fed up with the fashions (if you can even call them that) offered to shapely ladies and starting designing her own. The result is a bountiful boutique stuffed with curve-lovin' belts, boxers, blazers, dresses, jeans, activewear, bras (sizes 32E--46H) and a rainbow of Spanx options, as well as housewares like Brooklyn's own Joya Luscious candles. Bring a copy of this issue to receive 10 percent off everything in the shop through April 30. 368 Court St at President St (718-246-5337, leeleesvalise.com)

Mongo
Tom Diller's eclectic shop is a neighborhood institution—if only because he made it one. The storekeeper strikes up a conversation with everybody who walks through the door, and is eager to share the stories behind his artisan stock: record bowls, hand-stitched Indian quilts, unisex pajamas printed with Hong Kong personal ads, handwoven Oaxacan laundry baskets, even wallets fashioned from The New York Times' Arts section. TONY deal: Mention TONY for 20 percent off Cydwoq shoes and Ohm spring clothing through April 30. 246 Smith St between DeGraw and Douglass Sts (917-671-7696)

Olive's Very Vintage
Vintage fiends, pace yourselves: Owner Jen McCulloch's divine vintage boutique is crammed with fairly priced floral frocks, darling beaded clutches, delicate lace gloves, candy-colored wooden bangles, and hand-dyed corsets and slips. The emphasis here is on '60s, '70s and '80s garb (holy psychedelics!), but even-more-bygone treasures abound—like rhinestone-studded hair combs from the roaring '20s. If you need anything altered, deconstructed or reconstructed, McCulloch will hook you up with her buddy, classically trained couture seamstress Heidi Ahrens, who can make any off-the-rack garment fit like a dream. TONY deal: Mention TONY to receive 15 percent off everything in the shop through May 13. 434 Court St between 2nd and 3rd Pls (718-243-9094, olivesveryvintage.com)

Retrospect
Fans of the cheery Environment337, located two doors up from Retrospect, will sense a little Jekyll-and-Hyde action going on with owner Loren Sosna's buying habits. Her newest shop is a shrine to all that is sinister and steampunk. The cavernous space is loaded with religious iconography, creepy crawlies encased in Lucite, antler plaques, and more globes and compasses than a Lewis and Clark expedition. It's otherworldly and wonderful, and not nearly as scary as it sounds. TONY deal: Mention TONY for 20 percent off everything through April 30. 333 Smith St between Carroll and President Sts (718-522-1767, retrospect-bklyn.com)

Rime
We're positively crackers for this kicks shop, a no-bullshit alternative to the city's snootier sneaker havens. The relaxed staff know the product (Nike, Clae, Alife, Jack Purcell, etc.) inside and out, but won't make noobs feel bad about asking questions. Shiny Moncler puffers, Kangol hats and limited-edition G-Shock watches lend an uptown flava, while Dickies chinos and cool-dude footwear by Pointer and Fred Perry remind us that the MO here is still straight-up Brooklyn. TONY deal: Mention TONY for 20 percent off all apparel through April 30. 157 Smith St between Bergen and Wyckoff Sts (718-797-0675, rimenyc.com)

Smith + Butler
If Steve McQueen were alive and bumming around Brooklyn, this is where he'd shop. Everything about the rustic Americana boutique screams King of Cool: waxed-cotton jackets, durable dungarees, pyramids of old-timey Layrite pomade. Owner Marylynn Piotrowski hawks all the classics, incluidng Built by Wendy dresses, Jack Spade carryalls, Moscot sunglasses, Levi's 501 selvedge, Red Wing work boots, plus unisex jewelry by Digby & Iona. And yeah, the motorcycles parked inside the store are also for sale. TONY deal: Mention TONY to receive 15 percent off everything in the shop through May 1. 225 Smith St at Butler St (718-855-4295, smithbutler.com)

Store 518
It's not unusual to see this shop's eccentric offerings spilling onto the sidewalk out front: creepy doll parts, antique flasks, tooled leather handbags and platform clogs—even a pram heaped with astronaut ice cream. Inside, owner Nadia Tarr's versatile Butter by Nadia dresses are displayed on vintage Garment District hangers, and a wall of yanked-ajar wooden drawers houses old-fashioned candy (Abba-Zaba, Chase's Cherry Mash), plus Brooklyn-made Saipua soaps and D.S. & Durga perfumes. A rack showcases a rotating crop of vintage dresses, but Tarr is forever on the hunt for unique menswear, including dead-stock army parkas and anything Pendelton or Woolrich. TONY deal: Mention TONY to receive 20 percent off everything in the shop through May 14. 518 Court St between Huntington and Nelson Sts (646-256-5041, store518.com)

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