Friday, May 11, 2012

Local Spotlight - Donna's Dress Shop

I'll admit that I'm not much of a vintage clothes shopper. Perhaps it's because I suspect that only a select, pre-ordained few are "in the know" about where to buy and style vintage pieces. For instance, everyone has at least one really cool friend who wears her mom's jacket from the seventies paired with boots she found at Awesome Store X and a fedora that she found at Awesome Store Y matched with that one-of-a-kind designer shirt she snagged from her cousin. Seriously? Where does one start to try and match that kind of natural talent for finding and piecing together cool duds? To say that I can be intimidated by places with the word "vintage" in the title seems about right.

But I had a good friend who told me that I needed to stop by Donna's Dress Shop. She said that it was "a treasure trove of goodies". The description "treasure trove of goodies" sounded intriguing and inviting, so off I went.

I stopped by Donna's Dress Shop at 1410 W. 39th Street in Kansas City, MO, where the store's name (plus a few floating hangers) is emblazoned on the side of the brick building and the windows display the some looks that can be found inside the shop.

When I walked in, Donna herself greeted me from behind the cash register. I was impressed with her outfit, I remember, as she was wearing a yellow and orange floral brocade dress, cat eye glasses, rhinestoned clasp earrings and vibrant red lipstick. She had nailed the modern vintage look.

Donna directed me to where different types of merchandise were located in the store, as things were grouped into the new and vintage categories, plus accessories.

To the immediate left upon walking in, racks of new clothing sat against the wall.

The brand whose clothing I fell immediately in love with was Ark & Co. Donna said that the creators behind Ark & Co actually came from two different design aesthetics; one designer preferred to create pieces that centered on the trends of the forties and fifties, while the other designer liked to create more flowing, unstructured pieces. Fine by me, because I liked everything from the label that I saw in store.

I loved this bright coral, bell-sleeved dress because it is straight up sixties, and that is my favorite era of fashion ever (besides 18th century Revolutionary France, but if we're being realistic, then yeah, the sixties).

And then this bright purple, tangerine and coral pleated skirt reeled me in, too.

Toward the back of the shop and centered in the middle of the store was the vintage clothing haven.
When I asked Donna about which piece of vintage clothing had the richest history or story behind it, she said that it had to be an older wedding dress that had been brought in a while back. The people that brought the dress into the shop to sell were the children of the woman who had owned the gown. The thing that made the wedding dress so unique was the treasure it housed - more than a hundred love letters were tucked inside of the gown. I expressed horror that the woman's children would sell her wedding gown and the love letters between their father and mother, but Donna said that this was their mother's first marriage; their father was her second marriage.

Makes sense now, this juicy story. After hearing this, I felt like there should be a show on TV that's like the vintage store version of Pawn Stars or American Pickers. There are, no doubt, some interesting stories behind the pieces that are continuously brought into the store, and I would watch a show that highlighted some of the more outrageous ones.

 Check out these little home wares.

 I tried on the red leather gloves pictured and they were ultra thin and uber-soft.

So. Much. Pretty. Jewelry.

Though I didn't snag a photo, there was a brand of lipsticks called Besame that caught my eye. The lipsticks were packaged in gold, cylindrical cases reminiscent of the design from the forties and fifties, with rich, matte colors to match. With the ambiance of the store as the backdrop, the makeup added to the vintage chic vibe. (photo c/o

Do stop by Donna's Dress Shop as the inventory is constantly changing and you'll never know what you'll  find until you walk in and browse! Like my friend said, it is a treasure trove of goodies.

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