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A Return to Fashion

Local shop owners are ready to leap back into fun fashion, but not without a new focus on comfort

Last year put a lot on pause, but one of them was definitely fashion. Instead of shopping for special occasions, we were trying to figure out if our day required pants. As a result of being at home for most of the year, fun fashions were replaced with comfort and function. This year, we’re excited to take the lessons we learned last year — that cotton is king and that soft pants never lose their appeal — and dress them up as we return to the world. We talked to 4 local boutique owners about what they’re most excited about looking forward to and their takeaways looking back. 

Jill Marie Boutique

8640 N Dixson Ave, Kansas City, MO 64153

A boutique in Zona Rosa for the ultimate “cool mom,” Jill Marie sells both kid’s clothing and activewear, such as sports bras and leggings, from owner Sydni Russell’s in-house label.

What are you most excited about with fall fashions? 

I am most excited about jackets. With jackets, you can dress up or dress down and that one piece can drive the whole outfit. Jackets can be a true statement piece or help complete the look.

Describe your personal style. 

I would describe my personal style as chill-chic. My go-to is always loungewear because it’s comfortable and you can look fly without doing a lot and still being comfortable. Also, for me, I like to be able to move around easily and chase after my kids if need be because they are busy. However, sometimes I do have the fashion urge to do a “show-stopping” look when necessary or an event comes up and I feel like your aura and attitude can truly change when you really dress up and step out of your fashion “box”.

Pink Dinosaur

7102 NW 86th Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64153

While this Zona Rosa shop sells looks for head to toe, owner Elle Steadman’s pride and joy is their Pink Dinosaur t-shirts. The tees are made under fair trade practices in Haiti and printed locally by GOEX Apparel, a company that emphasizes fair wages.

How did your personal style change in the last year?

I would say I wore more t-shirts and sweatshirts than ever! I design every t-shirt and sweatshirt in our boutique so I obviously love them and want to wear them every day. Plus, they are so soft and are ethically made.

What is your favorite part of your business?

I have a few favorites! One of my favorite parts about my business is that I have been able to give back to our community. I have donated to a lot of local charities and made a real difference in people's lives. Another favorite part is that I have created a lot of jobs! We have hired people who lost their jobs because of the pandemic. The charity who produces our tees has hired more employees because of the number of orders from Pink Dinosaur. Seeing firsthand how my little business has made a big change in real life is amazing. Lastly, my favorite part is connecting with so many other female-owned small business owners. Wow, there are so many talented women out there. I love how everyone has something that makes them special. Being able to promote them, share their business with others and have them pop up in my boutique is so much fun. 

Cactus Creek

400 Main St, Weston, MO 64098

Cactus Creek, owned by Fancy Smith, is a funky boutique in Weston that mixes the boho and Western aesthetic. They sell clothing, antiques and home goods, and even have a bar in the basement.

How did your business change last year? 

August marked 21 years in business for Cactus Creek. What started as a little import business in a barn behind our house in Lenexa has now become a thriving boutique in downtown Weston. The year 2020 was a huge turnaround for us. During the 12 weeks that we were closed our entire shop got a facelift. Every inch of every wall was painted, the old wooden floors were redone, and new dressing rooms & counters were built. Once we reopened, business took off as people were itching to get out of the house — a day trip to Weston was the perfect getaway location.

How do you think the pandemic had an effect on fashion?

The transition in how people work — with so many going from traditional workplaces to home offices — has been the biggest change I have seen. Casual comfort is far more important now than ever before.

What are your dreams for your business?

We are spending the next 12 months focusing on our website making it easy to shop for customers across the United States. We are also working on expanding our Fancy’s Favorites club which is a VIP club that offers 20% OFF to all of our customers, and also has a way to give back to our community.

Urban Trends

6264 Lewis St, Parkville, MO 64152

This Parkville clothing store run by Jamie Duncan sells on-trend clothing with effortless style in a relaxed and fun environment. 

How do you think the pandemic had an effect on fashion? 

We're definitely seeing more relaxed styles, jogger sets, sneakers, more cute tops for Zoom calls, ha!

What are you most excited about with fall fashions? 

Cozy sweaters, layers, plaid shackets [shirt jackets], and cute boots!

Describe your personal style. 

A great pair of jeans, graphic tee and sneakers for daytime, then take that same outfit and add kitten heels and a blazer for a night out. I love to take basic pieces and have fun with the accessories.

  • Cactus Creek photos by Sarah Bailey of Dandelions & Dumptrucks