We decided to take advantage of being led around Brooklyn a few days ago to hunt down a store that had popped up on our radar. Let us clarify that Oak is not a hidden store simply because it is in Brooklyn. We're not that snobby. In both its locations, however, Oak is just far enough off the beaten path to be easily missed by anyone searching the obvious thoroughfares, and well camouflaged enough to evade anyone but the truly serious. Let's start with the original Williamsburg store pictured above, after the jump.
While The Shophound was walking down a particularly residential section North 8th Street, we kept wondering if we were in the right place, but there, wedged amongst the vinyl siding, behind a garage door was our destination. Oak seems to crystallize the paradox of any recently revived neighborhood. It's casual, unassuming, low key but basically expensive and upscale at the same time. Perhaps that's why it has been distanced from the Bedford Avenue main drag. Oak offers the opportunity to dress like a Williamsburg hipster without having to go through the trouble of rummaging through Beacon's Closet to find the right things in your size. After all, why pick though the cheap stores when you can afford to get everything you need to complete your look in one highly specialized shop. We could go on being cynical, but behind that garage door is a carefully culled selection of merchandise from the category we could call "hipster deluxe" including the very latest denim from the likes of Nudie, Tsubi and Acne Jeans. No faded boot cut styles over here. Other designers in this focused presentation include Filippa K, Rachel Comey, Andrew Harmon and other emerging labels. In fact, nearly everything in the store is either black, white, navy or a shade of gray, with a smattering of dark brown here and there. The folks at Oak have a carefully honed point of view so that their stock is somewhat more than the sum of its labels. Everything will go extremely well with your asymmetrical animé shagged haircut, but nothing is too avant-garde to appeal to those with more basic tastes, which is probably why Oak recently opened a second location in Park Slope, a neighborhood with a somewhat broader based population. Here, too, they found a location (pictured above) away from the heavy traffic, tucked away among the brownstones on President Street. The merchandise is basically the same, and adapts exceedingly well to the more subdued character of the neighborhood, where their friendly service can shine.
Williamsburg: 208 North 8th Street, Brooklyn
Park Slope: 668 President Street, Brooklyn