The Road Less Travelled By

Discovering “gems” when you’re a tourist  is one of the perks of travelling. There’s a chemistry that happens when you’re in relaxation mode and you allow yourself to be drawn to certain buildings or landmarks. Sometimes the things you find inside are not just items, merchandise or implements but history, culture, artifacts and hopefully, someone’s passion! Re-Runs is a fabulous vintage store in the Westport district of Kansas City.  The “vintage apparel and accessories of distinction” store is a destination I love to get lost in each time I go there. My husband and sons have become fans of it, too. Men can find suits, cowboy boots, bolo ties, hats, ties, jewelry, etc….and kids can find great outfits for theme parties. Women can find hats, purses, jewelry, clothing, fur coats, sunglasses, etc.  My youngest son found retro items and I find something there each time I go.

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It’s like a walk into the past….a clothing museum, per se! Back to a time when fashion was about artistry. Vintage clothing is timeless. It’s structure stands the test of time, usually. Back in the 80’s, when most teens were wearing name brand clothing,  my friend and I used to go to the flea market and vintage shops. We loved cat-eye glasses, army jackets, velvet dresses, etc. A red satin vintage dress came in handy for a wedding….and was sure to not be duplicated. I like how this pink dress below captures the movement in it—and of it’s era.IMG_8333

At Re-Runs, there is a fun tradition called “Spin the Wheel”, where a customer can spin to see what discount percentage they won. I have been very lucky doing this!

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I interviewed Ken Coit, the proprietor of Re-Runs. He was articulate and knowledgable about this subject and I was fascinated with the history of his passion for vintage clothing.FullSizeRender 7

IMG_8369Where do you acquire most of your items…..the Kansas City area?

In general, the midwest—-mostly Kansas City and surrounding cities. I go through people’s attics and basements, at their invitation, when they inherit an estate…estate sales, thrift stores, ….always building the collections. I also buy online when I find a good deal.IMG_8345

IMG_8336What is the most valuable thing you acquired?

I honestly don’t know. Based on past experience, I determine prices but I may have something that may be quite valuable because there’s so many things to know. When you have a general sort of merchandise like I do, you can be an expert on a certain style and still not know it all.  It’s hard to say. Occasionally, we get some couture pieces  from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s –but we sell them substantially lower than they would in L.A.

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IMG_8351Would you say there was a “heyday” era for Kansas City? or has it been consistent?

What is available has changed. 30 years ago, when I started this, I was buying 40’s and 50’s items all the time in good condition.  Now it’s rare and we’re buying a lot more 60’s-80’s.

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IMG_8367Tulsa, in the early 1900’s, was the oil capital of the world…a time of swagger and then later, the art deco era (1920’s). Was it the same  for Kansas City?

The 40’s and 50’s–that was the prime era of interesting clothing for Kansas City as well as most midsized,  midwestern towns where we had a thriving downtown at that point. There were wonderful, individually owned department stores that were competing with each other for the best goods. I would say, that’s probably the best time for fashion and maybe into the 60’s when people really paid attention to their outfits and had everything matching.IMG_8355

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IMG_8350This top below is one of my favorite items I bought at Re-Runs a few  years ago…..in ivory and ice blue.

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Writer’s side note: I learned what “boot poodles” are! They are inserts that keep the boots’ shape.

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boot poodles

 

This gown is  a Bob Mackie! IMG_8364

This particular purse was not only wonderfully unique but also in amazing condition inside!IMG_8363

IMG_8359What inspired you to start this vintage clothing business?

It began as a means to make extra spending money for medical school. I began by sharing a booth at a weekend flea market with a young lady that I met at a garage sale. She left after a year so I decided to forge on and eventually left my professional job and decided to do retail. It’s a great business to have. As Robert Frost says, “……that made all the difference”. FullSizeRender 4

Writer’s side note : I found it interesting and serendipitous that the owner quoted Robert Frost in his background information about what inspired him to start his business. What a perfect quote for an article on a travel and culture blog! “IMG_8341

 Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference.”– Robert Frost

www.re-runs.com

 

4 thoughts on “The Road Less Travelled By

  1. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting this wonderful store and it is an adventure better than, “Back To The Future.” Go now and return again and again.

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