It may have snowed recently in Baltimore, but the Shops at the Village of Cross Keys have your springtime wants and needs covered.  Two anchor stores at Cross Keys offer new seasonal trends not only for the hip and fashion-savvy woman but also for the young fashionista in the making. And two exciting newcomers to the village offer fine jewelry and, for the first time, vintage clothing.

Jean Pool
Jean Pool, a long-standing favorite, lives up to its reputation as a go-to shopping source for an eclectic mix of casual, contemporary clothing.  On a recent trip, I was struck by how full the store is with not only a stylish selection of the newest jeans but also so many great looking tops, blouses, and jackets to wear with them!
If you are looking for a new pair of jeans for Spring, they are here. Jeans with hems that are ripped, fringed or with just enough holes in them to still look like jeans. And from the top designers too. Jeans by 7 for Mankind, Paige, Joes, Hudson and Citizens of Humanity (to name a few ) can be altered the same week you buy them.
Choose from an array of options to complete your look: black and white gingham tops, cold shoulder and one shoulder silk blouses, off the shoulder blouses with restructured bell sleeves, stripe cotton sweaters, moto jackets and – – once again trending – – camouflage in dark green and black that everyone can wear.
Look for popular brands like Sanctuary, Central Park West, Jet, Chan Lua ( all white clothing! ), Acrobat, Wilt and Red Haute. They even have Havaianas flip flops for sale and a corner devoted to athletic clothes.  An added plus: The salespeople and owner Scott Wable give you their full attention and are very knowledgeable about the right fit for anyone who walks in! Kick start your Spring wardrobe in this store!
Rebecca Myers
The Rebecca Myers Collection is two doors down from Jean Pool. I walked in thinking it was just a pretty jewelry store but was immediately given the tour of the in-house studio in the back where Rebecca and the three artists she employs ACTUALLY produce all of her designs in the store.
Her jewelry is all about “ contrasts in color, texture and materials “ and much of her work is inspired by nature. She works with high karat gold, platinum, and silver as well as natural stones, diamonds, and pearls. She loves oxidized silver too.
There are four collections: Bee & Flower, Bark & Branch, Monarch, and Halo, priced from $200 to $10,000. I tried on a beautiful lariat necklace with two oxidized silver cast poppyseed pods ( found in her garden) with black and white flush set diamonds and 18k gold accents.  Tiny bees, flowers, branches, and monarch-wings are just a few patterns often integrated into her designs. Nature’s motifs have never looked so alive and luxurious.
There is other jewelry featured in the “gallery“ as Rebecca calls it, along with funky colorful sculpture and design pieces by local and national artists displayed on the walls. Rebecca travels the country with her unique collection and sells it at the American Craft Council Shows and Design Centers.  Do ask to meet Rebecca when you go in. It’s worth the time to hear her describe her take on the beauty of handmade jewelry and art.
Across the courtyard on the corner is a new shop called Shmatta. Opened in February, the bright and airy shop is all vintage clothing and accessories. The owner Natasha Yeager explains the name Shmatta in Yiddish means “old rags“ so she thought it was a fun and funny way to introduce her shop and how it stands out among other retailers.
Natasha “thrifts,” as she calls it, to find great vintage pieces and goes to peoples homes and also has people come to her. She emphasizes Shmatta is NOT a consignment store. She pays 20 to 30 percent of what she thinks the item will sell for in the store, cash up front.
The result is a fine-tuned, color-coordinated and fun boutique. The accessories (lots of shoes perched in shelves on one wall) are also 20 years or older. Vintage giftware is laid out on a center table and Natasha plans to add more. You will see designer coats to wear this Spring and designer and handmade dresses at unbelievable prices.
There are blouses, tops, skirts, and pants all from the 1960s to the 1990s – with the occasional modern piece. I immediately started pulling from the four racks that were so beautifully merchandised they looked like a rainbow! Shmatta is open Thursday through Sunday – check online for hours because they vary. And Natasha also does trunk shows in other stores in the area.
Natasha runs the show herself so she will be there to greet you and introduce you to all the treasures she has found. I promise vintage has never looked so good!
The Pied Piper
Anyone in Baltimore who has had a child or ever bought a gift for one knows The Pied Piper. It is a Baltimore institution! Kathryn DeVincentis opened the store on Wyndhurst Ave in 1965 and moved it to Cross Keys in 1995. The Pied Piper was recently voted by Child Magazine as one of the 10 best children’s stores in the country and is now run by Cookie Schneider, Mrs. DeVincentis’s daughter, who does all the buying.
When you enter the store you are greeted by the picture perfect baby and toddler departments with classic lines like Florence Eiseman and the British line Sarah Louise (worn by Princess Charlotte) but Cookie has also made sure the new “baby bohemian” look is well represented here too.
The 2 to 6-year-old girls department and the “tween” department for 7 to 13 year-olds are both full of fun play wear, young and hip sportswear and special occasion dresses.
There is an entire room full of old-fashioned birthday party dresses, short and sassy preteen dresses, and dresses for Bat Mitzvahs, First Communion, and Father-Daughter dances!  But not to be outdone by the girls is the boy’s department for boys ages 2 to 12.

Here everything from seersucker shorts, long khaki pants, polo shirts in every color, sweaters, Spring suits and bomber style motorcycle jackets fill the shelves. And don’t miss the fun toys, board games and Madame Alexander dolls scattered throughout the store.

What is so special about The Pied Piper is the carefully curated combination of tasteful trends that kids want to wear mixed in with traditional and timeless pieces your grandmother and mother remember.  Before I left the store, I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. DeVincentis who told me all about her early days in retail when shopping was only done in shops.  And how her friend Florence Eiseman loved martinis…I’m going back to hear more.

The Village of Cross Keys is located at 5100 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21210.