I recently had the opportunity to be in contact with Patricia McCaw, the owner of Bolero Beachwear, a bust-friendly U.S. based clothing company located in Florida. Although the company’s name would suggest that they only offer beachwear, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they specialize in not just beach cover ups, but also a wide variety of clothing especially designed for women with large busts (DD and up).
When I asked Patricia if she would be interested in speaking with me and allowing our blog to spotlight her company, she graciously agreed to not only allow us to spotlight Bolero, but to also send a few of her most popular dresses to our bloggers so that we could give our own thoughts on her clothing (reviews coming soon)! After speaking with her over the phone, a few of the things that jumped out and really impressed me was her absolute passion for what she does, the fact that all of her clothing is made here in the U.S.A., and how open she is to feedback by her customers 🙂 It was a delight speaking with Patricia and getting to know her and her company, and I am so excited to share this with our readers!
How did Bolero Beachwear come to be?
I was a designer for a company manufacturing beach cover-ups when the economy took a turn for the worse and it closed. As one door closed, another opened when I decided to start manufacturing my own line of beach beachwear dresses and cover-ups. I started selling in the retail market because after all, my designs were selling successfully in department stores, mail orders and small boutiques all over the country while working in the previous company which I worked for several years.
Can you tell us about how you came to focus on designing clothing to fit a fuller bust?
When asking one of my customers, a boutique owner who really knows and understands about proper bra fit, what was her favorite Bolero style, I was puzzled by her response! She said, there are some dresses that she loved, but unfortunately, she could not wear them because of her large breast size! She said she would wear a larger size just to accommodate her bust, but the excess material everywhere, especially in the armholes, resulted in a non-flattering look, sometimes even looking like a tent or a boxy silhouette. She is a fit woman with nice body and would love to show off her waistband and her curves. That is when I got the idea that I could manufacture dresses for women with fuller busts.
What type of research went into creating clothing that would fit a variety of full bust sizes while still providing a flattering fit through the rest of the body?
First, let me tell you that I love being a Fashion Designer. I went to fashion school in Fort Lauderdale and one of my favorite’s subjects (areas) was Pattern-making. Most of the other students were intimidated in Pattern-making class, but not me, I loved it! Just to think in rulers, inches, math when a quarter of an inch is important to make a good pattern. Some of my classmates where terrified while is I was fascinated in understanding how the standard for the industry works; sizing, and what is takes to make a final garment with great fit! So when I started brainstorming my busty-friendly styles, I visited lingerie stores, asked questions, bought many size bras, but also, researching on the internet, getting books about bras, constructions, everything! And one very important source of inspiration and learning was reading blogs like yours, who caters to full-busted women. And, because I was working with stretch materials, vibrant colors, making clothes for vacation, I decided to combine the best from both worlds, technically developing comfortable clothes with great fit on your chest area so you feel like you are on vacation on any day you wear Bolero!
What makes your products stand out from other full bust brands?
We use wrinkle resistant and stretchable fabrics that fit and flatter beautifully. Our pieces really are easy care and travel-friendly. We do not mass produce which means paying more attention to the construction, most of your dresses and tops are lined in the bust area to smooth out any lines. We are small enough to customize orders such as adding length to dresses for taller women or visa-versa for more petite women without charging extra.
How long has Bolero Beachwear been in business?
Bolero Beachwear has been in business now for 6 years.
Where are your products manufactured?
In Florida USA by a wonderful team.
What are the pros and cons of manufacturing in the USA?
Providing jobs for everyone involved in the process of making our clothes: fabric and trim suppliers, sewers, office assistant, the hang- and labels maker, the photographer, the models, the web designer, etc.
Being able to have close control over the production, quality and quantities. You have more control over the quality, if anything happen, and there is always something, I am able to correct it right away.
Providing work for American women working under ethical conditions.
It is more expensive to manufacture, for example having to order minimum quantities for supplies increases the price.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration all the time and everywhere! I love clothes design and am always looking for ideas. Walking in town on the street, driving, talking to someone, watching a movie, listening a song, reading and many times while I’m dancing! I can picture elements to make a beautiful dress to wear every day and to dance too.
How often does your company come out with new designs?
Very often but not as often as I would like. As a creative person, I love to make new things all the time but the logical and practical part of me, or the business side, force me to narrow down what can go to production. There is a lot of work involved before a garment is available on the website. The silhouette is part of it, but it’s just one of the components. The fabric selection, the photos, the editing, making sure the suppliers will deliver the materials so we don’t offer something that is not going to be ready is so important.
Are there plans to add any new products and if so, what and when?
I try to have new styles of dresses available every three months or so. And now, we are starting to produce busty friendly tops and matching/contrasting bottoms. I am always looking for ways to transition our existing styles with the time and season by providing accessories such as belts and scarves.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I enjoy the process of creating new things, the selection of materials, the construction and interacting with people who share that feeling. When I see the final product and a flattering fit it is an amazing feeling! But I think one of the most incredible and rewarding feelings comes from receiving a Thank you email, a note and sometimes receiving a card in the mail is WOW feeling! But I will say, knowing that guys, husbands or boyfriends, love to see their women in Bolero clothes is one the best compliments.
Where can our readers purchase your products?
Online at http://www.bolerobeachwear.com. Our website and our email are always open to receive not only orders but to any questions. Because our Bust-friendly styles are for a specific body type they do not always look as nice on the hanger as they look on a real person.
As you can see from our interview with Patricia, she truly loves what she does and it clearly shows in the beauty and quality of her clothing. Over the next few months several of our bloggers will be posting their reviews of the dresses they received from Bolero so we hope you stay tuned!