Act II Inc.

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Finding high end clothing in Kansas City can be tough, in fact aside from Halls and Nordstrom you pretty much have to go out of town. However, for those that don’t mind buying into second hand/lightly used/end of line clothing, then consignment shopping is for you. And the absolute best consignment shop in Kansas City is Act II. Owned by the inimitable Gloria Everhart for over 50 years, Act II is tucked away in the West Plaza and is a treasure trove for the clothing collector. Unlike most ‘second hand’ shops or places like Arizona Trading Company which concentrates more on street fashion, you can find top designers at Act II. I myself have bought items by Zegna, Boss, Armani, Dior, Oscar de la Renta and Gucci. The best thing for me is that I’m an awkward size, and yet they still regularly manage to have things in my size that are also my aesthetic. Which is rare enough in department stores, let alone consignment shops.

It isn’t all designer labels though, you’ll find streetwear there as well, and it’s particularly pleasing to see labels like Hudson and 7 For All Mankind on the racks, as they really do make good jeans. Gloria has made a conscious effort to keep her clothing standards high and it has paid off for her.

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As with all consignment shops, it pays to have a rummage and you will have to wade through much which doesn’t appeal to you to find that which does but, personally, that’s one of the joys of consignment shopping for me. Especially when you find, say, a pair of Oscar de la Renta pants for $7. Yep, $7. And there’s the rub, after doing some quantum math, I’ve worked out that I’ve spent maybe $300 for around $8,000 of clothes at new prices. And never more than $60 on any one item.

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However, there’s a reason for the keen pricing and that is that, after more than 50 years, Gloria is finally retiring and Act II will be closing down. On August 31st 2016. Nor is the lease going to be renewed so once it closes, it closes. Personally I think it’s a terrible shame, but all things do pass and I wish Gloria nothing but the best in her future endeavors. The big plus for us shoppers, obviously, is the clearance sale price which means currently 50% to 65% of everything in store which is already keenly priced. I mean a Gucci suit for under $28 including tax? I couldn’t possibly say no.

In the imagery I’ve concentrated on the men’s section, but it’s probably 70% womenswear and there’s quite a selection of shoes – Manolo’s anyone – bags and jewelry there. So if you feel in need of picking up something special at rock bottom prices please, please, please get there before the end of August because then everything will be gone. Forever. And you will be kicking yourself for missing it.

CALL:[816] 531 7572

LOCATION: 1417 West 47th Street 64112

HOURS: 10 to 5:30 Tuesday to Saturday

 

 

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Halls: goodbye and hello

So, farewell then, Plaza and hello to Crown Center. Halls spent nearly 50 years on the Plaza before finally closing up and re-opening at the Crown Center (owned by Halls) on Sunday Sept 14th. Truth be told, it was probably an inevitable and almost certainly wise move – the Halls plaza building seemed to be somewhat of a metaphor for Kansas City itself in recent years – grand in scope but when you looked closer it was tired, depressing and smelled of damp. What will happen to the building, of course, only time will tell. It’s an architectural curiosity that may well sit idle for a while. It also means that Burberry is now the only high end clothing store on the Plaza, which will make their position yet more precarious as the Plaza seems to shift further away from high end stores into becoming one huge eatery.

But what of Halls at Crown Center, well it is a Halls II of sorts. Going with the resurgence in life currently running through KC as a city courtesy of events such as Google Fiber, it has taken on a more modern outlook and the 60,000 square foot store at 2450 Grand Boulevard has looked to sweep away the fusty, fuddy duddy image and become more forward looking. A good example of this is the creation of the H Bar where customers can take a break for food and drink whilst shopping and the addition of flat screen TVs.

All in all, Halls seems to be taking a book out of Selfridges of London in terms of ‘the full shopping experience’, and let’s hope that it manages to keep all the high end lines as there are some names missing in their designer lines. For KC to really revitalize itself, it has to – absolutely has to – have a high end department store to show that the aspiration and the money is still in the local community and not fall foul of an ebay or Amazon shopping mentality.

Halls Plaza is dead, long live Halls Crown Center, may it reign long and prosperous.

UPDATE:

Having some time off, we decided to pay the new Halls a sneaky visit and it feels much more modern and open plan than the plaza location and, although in some areas the lines do feel a little thin – female shoewear in particular – it does feel that the apparel sections have been expanded and, if anything, feels more like an upmarket store than it ever did at the Plaza, their traditional lines such as Hugo Boss, now being complemented with more avant garde lines such as Clover Canyon.

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Entrance from the main atrium

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The funky looking H Bar

Not only that, while shopping we bumped into a trunk sale, complete with fashion show – which it seems may be a regular feature at the new location.

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Super summer swimwear

So it seems that summer is, finally, here to stay for a bit we decided to search out some bikinis so that we can all take advantage of the weather. Curiously, in terms of selection, the best swimwear store we found is actually mainly a tanning shop – Sun City – which has been nestled on N Oak Trafficway since 2000.

One thing to bear in mind is that their website is probably the worst ever in terms of usefulness or usability, so a visit to their bricks and mortar store is very much recommended where they stock 5,000 – yes you read that right – swimsuits! Quantity doesn’t necessarily equate to quality, however, but the best thing about Sun City is the staff. They will help you choose the correct size for both top and bottom, work out the amount of coverage you want (which runs from the god awful thongkinis which should never have been allowed out of the 80s, up to full coverage swimsuits and coveralls), and then show you styles based on those criteria

Our models decided to go middle of the road, both in terms of coverage and price choosing a leopard print by Body Glove and teal and black abstract number made by Sunsets Separates.

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(Models Erin & Anna)

Prices came in at around $95 each which isn’t particularly cheap (and also far from being the most expensive) but Sun City has a range that should suit anybody’s wallet – or, more likely – purse, and you’ll definitely find something that reflects your bikini body and sensibilities more accurately than whatever may happen to currently be on the sale rack at Target.

SUN CITY

[816] 468 1515

8233 N Oak Trafficway, 64118

Open daily from 9:30 to 5:30pm

Jack Henry

So farewell then Jack Henry which first opened its doors in 1931 and is going to be closing, after 83 years, this September. Jack Henry hit its peak in the 1980s with stores in several malls, but has been in in a lingering decline and now the final hurrah has hit the one remaining store on 612 West 47th Street on the Plaza, which has been their base of operations since 2001.

 

Jack Henry would be considered as a very ‘English’ shop, based around tailoring in the Savile Row mould. While that would be seen as a boon in London, that is not the case here in Kansas City. As Spiro Arvanitakis, a partner in the company told the KC Star, “The traditional needs of business clothing have more than evolved; they’ve dramatically changed. Jack Henry doesn’t meet the current needs, which are more contemporary.”

Jack Henry, a native of Liberty, started his store on the Plaza in 1931, originally selling just hats and accessories. The store moved around the Plaza several times before being bought by the Avranitakis brothers in 1995 – whose father had worked at Jack Henry after emigrating from Greece to KC – and settled at its current and final location in 2001.
It will be a sad day in September when Jack Henry closes, not just for the 25 jobs that will go with it, but also because the Plaza will lose just a little bit of its sophisticated polish and old school charm which, while perhaps being unfashionable, is necessary in the world of high end clothing. KC will be lesser for its closing and we wish the Avranitakis family all the best in their future endeavours.

Focus On: Make up tips 2

We’re lucky to have Ash back for a third time. This tutorial is all about how to perfectly create that staple, the red lip using just three products: first up, the 24/7 Glide on Lip Pencil from our personal favorite make up brand, Urban Decay. Secondly we have a Brick Lip Pencil from MAC and finally MAC’s Ruby Woo Lipstick. Sit back and enjoy, Ash knows her stuff.

 

Focus on: Nail care

Today we get to talk with Serena Huynh, one of the nail technicians at family owned Paradise Nails on State Line Road in Leawood, who has kindly agreed to share some important nail care tips with Anenglishmaninwestport.

“I am passionate about the science of skincare so I personally only work with natural nails. Here are my tips that you may have not read elsewhere: our nails are made of the same stuff as our hair; keratin. It’s dead so it doesn’t “breathe”, and like hair, it needs a good conditioner. I love Nailtek’s brand. They’re known for their hydration system which replenishes the natural moisture content of brittle nails which makes them more elastic and resistant to damage. Plus it gives better bang for your buck compared to your regular drugstore stuff. 

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When asked to wash your hands prior to polishing, I always advise my clients to only brush their nails and cuticles with soap and a nail brush and rinse. The cleaner, the drier, the better. They can keep their lotion on. Store your lacquers in the fridge, especially in the summer time. The worst place is your probably your bathroom because the temperature and humidity is constantly changing which can cause the formulation to change, potentially making it go gooey or lumpy. 

“Invest in a good base coat and top coat as this helps the polish adhere and is fortified with protein and Vitamin E for healthier nails. At Paradise Nails, we only use CND’s Sticky Base Coat and Seche regular Top Coat. Vinylux by CND is the biggest hit right now. It’s by Creative Nail Design, the same company as Shellac. It’s the inbetween of regular nail polish and gel nails. It lasts a good 7 days. My nurse clients love them.

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“And finally I cannot stress this enough: sunscreen,  sunscreen,  sunscreen! It’s the best thing to keep your hands looking youthful and prevents age spots”.

PARADISE NAILS

[816] 942 8949
OPENING HOURS
Monday – Saturday 10 am – 7 pm
Sunday 11 am – 5 pm.

Focus on: Make up tips

Hello there everyone, we’ve teamed up once more with Ash Caywood from Luxed – this time in video(!) format – to bring you some make up tips and tutorials. Firstly, now that the good weather seems to, finally, be here to stay, Ash explains how to create a popping coral glossy lip using ColorBurst balm from Revlon that is perfect for any summer’s day.

 

 

And secondly, Ash gives us a full make over inspired by Emma Stone’s look at the recent Met Gala, showing how to make your skin glow together with a subtle smokey eye combined with a rosy, nude lip.

 

 

Video entries is something new that anamericaninwesport is trying and we intend to add a few more over the course of the year. We hope you enjoy them.

 

As an adjunct to this, it seems that people often underestimate the impact of hair and make up, which seems a shame to us and so we also decided to do a quick before and after showing just how much of a transformation hair and make up can be. There has been no retouching or changing of lights in this shot, it’s all down to the skill artistry of the make up artist and hair stylist. A good make up artist will sculpt with the contours of the face to give greater depth and even something as simple as a wave or loose curl to the hair gives it much more vibrancy and life.

 

Before&after