New boutique offers little black dresses…and more

By Kristin Baker

In addition to the dresses, the boutique offers a large selection of name-brand denim, including Seven for Mankind, Hudson and Joe’s.

In addition to the dresses, the boutique offers a large selection of name-brand denim, including Seven for Mankind, Hudson and Joe’s.

The clean lines created by the thick, dark, hard wood floors, the muted, gray walls and the neat, meticulously organized racks of sophisticated women’s clothing shoppers take in when they enter The LBD, Etc. instantly evoke the feeling of a New York City boutique. And that is just what owner Barbara Mann had in mind when she formulated the idea for her new women’s retail store. The LBD, Etc. opened in mid- August in Bradley Fair in the retail location most recently occupied by Epic Apparel. LBD stands for “Little Black Dress,” an item every woman knows she needs to have in her closet.

“Some girls and I were planning a trip, and we were talking about what to pack, and one girl texted, ‘Oh the LBD,’” Mann said. “I just thought it was catchy.”

Mann, a former computer programmer who has lived in Wichita since college, said she had been tossing around the idea of opening a women’s clothing store for several years, but her idea came to fruition within the past year. “I started going to apparel markets and getting totally overwhelmed,” Mann said.

Mann, who said she has always loved shopping, does all the buying for her store herself. The boutique carries everything from high-end denim to what Mann calls “night out” dresses. “I target the girl or woman who has a young attitude,” Mann said.

The select jewelry pieces  are trendy, unique and fairly 
affordable.

The select jewelry pieces are trendy, unique and fairly affordable.

Mann said she likes to select clothing items that people do not find every day, but that are still classy enough to look good on her customers. “I think (our shoppers) are looking for something that’s a little different, that has that edge or flair.” When they enter her boutique, shoppers are greeted with racks of cocktail dresses from designers like Nicole Miller, Donna Morgan and Sue Wong. For the holiday season, the store is stocked with fancy short dresses, some with sequins or other embellishments. “We’re hoping there are a lot of fun New Year’s Eve parties, because we’re ready for that,” Mann said.

In addition to the dresses, the boutique offers a large selection of name-brand denim, including Seven for Mankind, Hudson and Joe’s. A variety of tunics perfect for skinny jeans hang near the denim, including a line of fashionable, cashmere sweaters called QI.

The store only carries a slim selection of jewelry and belts. Mann said fine jewelry stores are in the vicinity of her shop, and she does not plan to compete with them. However, the jewelry pieces she does carry are trendy, unique and fairly affordable. Mann said she was thrilled to find the location at Bradley Fair, and she loves living in Wichita. “It’s a great place to raise a family.”

Mann has a daughter who attends UCLA and a son who is a junior at Collegiate. She also has a supportive husband, Ron Mann.

Mann said she thinks people still do not know what her boutique is all about. “I’m not a shop where you go to get your basics.” Her store, she says, is about finding that “fun accessory piece everyone needs to add to her closet to dress it up a little bit.”

 
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