Product Review: Bolero Margarita Dress

You know how there occasionally exists a partnership between a celebrity and a designer which works so impossibly well, you can’t think of one without the other? Cher and Bob Mackie. Lady Gaga and the late Alexander McQueen. Evan Rachel Wood and Ralph Lauren. Erica and Bolero. Okay, clearly I’m not a celebrity, but that’s the great thing about Bolero dresses. Every time I wear one, I feel ready to strut the red carpet like I am. For those just tuning into my ongoing sappy love affair, I have reviewed multiple Bolero dresses, tops, and even pants on the blog and loved them all. But for the shop’s sixth anniversary, Patricia of Bolero managed to outdo even herself when she sent her latest creation: the Margarita Dress.

Since childhood, I have been an unrepentant lover of all things black and gray, and I sometimes wonder if a goth princess lurks inside my heart, shyly venturing to the surface occasionally. I also love color, and my friend Patricia has pushed me outside my comfort zone more than once both with color and print while still feeding my monochromatic addiction. Among my existing Bolero items, I have a few solids, including a striking orange skater dress, but most feature geometric, abstract, or floral prints which channel industry trends without being a slave to them. Patricia’s incredible eye for fabrics and color elevate each design to new levels, making them perfect for work, the weekend, or the evening.

However, a few months ago, I visited one of my favorite stores, Quirk’s, and tried a beautiful space print dress. They were having a big sale, and sadly, my size was sold out. I lamented this to Patricia and mentioned how I really wanted a dress that was . . . well . . . quirky. My professional clothes serve me well, but sometimes I just want to wear a dress with the milky way galaxy plastered across it, or with a kitschy print, or with skulls! A few weeks later, the Margarita dress arrived, and ohmagerd, it has SKULLS WITH FREAKIN’ CROSSBRONES! I opened the package expecting dresses for the shop and instantly transformed into a kid at Christmas. I clutched the Margarita in my hands and squealed with a whale-beachingly high tone while performing an embarrassing happy dance. My dad was in the back office and asked what I was going on about so I whirled on my heels, thrust out the gorgeous dress, and exclaimed “I’ve got an ‘effin pirate dress! A pirate dress! I’m a bra pirate!”

You can call me Captain Bluemane or the Ghost of Captain Blueman if you are snarky like my dad

For a few weeks prior, Patricia had been posting pictures of the Margarita on Bolero’s Facebook page, but in that version, the dress channeled a saucy salsa vibe exchanging skulls for giant rose blooms. When Patricia told me she would be sending the Margarita for a review eventually, I assumed it would be the version in her marketing. When I discovered mine had skulls and cross bones, a fabric she had mentioned only in passing, I knew I had found my Bob Mackie. (Side note: I just realized all my examples are female/male designers . . . Maybe someone can give better examples in the comments to help my well-intentioned metaphor?)

“Would you settle to the point of my cutlass?” – Morgan Adams

The Margarita dress utilizes a circle skirt with pockets like Carmen and Erica, making it perfect for anyone wanting to conceal a lower tummy or hips. *raises hand* However, the softness of the fabric and the perfection of the drape also works beautifully on straighter figures too. In general, the eponymous Erica dress is the crowd favorite at the store and tends to work across all body types and sizes, and Margarita borrows the concept with a special twist at the top. Instead of a faux-wrap neckline, Margarita features a fitted bodice leading to an on or off the shoulder short-sleeved peasant top. At the center, the neckline connects with a tie piece worthy of any salsa dancer or pirate or pirate who also salsa dances.

But why is the whiskey gone?

The gold dot skull print adorns the front top while the bottom is a solid black knee-length skirt perfect for twirling. On the back, the torso section is solid black with a solitary skull on a patch. I love the unique twist but also think the design could carry the skulls all the way around too. In this version, the dress sports a small gold belt, but a red sash adds some sass. A puffed short sleeve uses soft elastic at the opening to contour across arm sizes. Since I hate strapless bras, I have only worn Margarita with the shoulders up, but I can envision the dress on a Saturday night with the shoulders bare, a pair of heels, and some dancing.

Off me captain’s chest, ye scurvy dog!

In the photos, my only concern for fit centered on the vertical line directly underneath the bust. I never found a top or dress where that line actually sits beneath the bust. Most of the them awkwardly bisect my boobs in a not so flattering way. Naturally, since Patricia is an expert at designing for a fuller-bust, she managed to ensure my UK 34H boobs fit completely into the top of the dress without any problems. The flexible shoulder design can be worn either way, and I love how the bodice nips in close at the waist. Since I’ve gained weight, I’ve become a bit more conscious of how things fit, and Margarita gives me the best of both worlds. It simultaneously fits my upper section to show off curves while gently floating down the body to conceal my tummy. The length is also perfect all the way around, ending just above the knee in the front and having plenty of fabric in the back to keep the booty covered when I move. For sizing, I currently wear a 14 in other brands, and the large here fits like it was custom made for me. If you order from Bolero, Patricia often asks for a bra size because she can adjust the top template for D-G cups or G+ to improve fit.

Per usual, Bolero’s rigid quality control ensures the dress is made exceptionally well. The poly-blend fabric feels incredibly soft and never wrinkles or drapes on the body in an unflattering way. The dress dries fast and is travel friendly too. My Bolero dresses are practically indestructible, and the fit is unparalleled. Patricia is a small, woman-owned business who has stayed committed to made in America manufacturing since Bolero began, despite the added costs. Buying from her means supporting a wonderful company who treats employees fairly, always gives you the kind of quality you deserve, and makes gorgeous and now quirky clothes accessible to busty folk.

Oh did I mention we’re in talks for a pop up shop in December? Oh yeah. You may want to hold off on your holiday dress shopping.

Erica

“Congratulations, madam. There’s another town you’ve destroyed.” – William Shaw to Captain Morgan Adams in Cutthroat Island
My iffy attempt at showing the twirl factor

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Product Review: Bolero Margarita Dress
Erica
Erica is a lover all things lingerie and is passionate about helping people find the bra which fits and flatters. Side passions include reading, writing, hiking, dairy-free food, walking her Jack Russell terrorists, and dying her hair everything from black to red.

11 thoughts on “Product Review: Bolero Margarita Dress

  • October 5, 2017 at 11:51 pm
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    I think each of us have a special talent or a gift, but not everybody knows what is it. Unfortunately, even after finding these gifts, not everybody use them to their fullest potential. I know for sure you have the gift of helping, lifting, encouraging and to inspired other women, in the form of an awesome bra-fitter -mostly of the time! I can testify it. The best bras ever, are the ones I got from you…and I haven’t being in your store -yet- all I did was to answer question over the phone and emails! And let me tell you that I work with lingerie stores and I had the bra fitting experience several times…your bras are far the best!
    I’m sure when you provide the right fit to your costumers, you change something in their lives too. In my case, you really inspired me with your great ideas to design flattering styles. I think the fact that you are in the intimate clothing business, gives you a sense of body proportions, fears, insecurity and those things we all -curvy and normal body women- crave when we shop for clothes and I’m so glad you understand them.
    And speaking of celebrities and fashion designers, I had the privilege of working a fashion show with Bob Mackie while attending the Art Institute to get my Fashion degree and it was amazing! specially for someone like me who loves costumes. I asked him so many questions! And you are a celebrity -the good celebrities- probably you have no idea the respect and admiration many people feel for you Erica.
    I love to make people happy and when I design something, I picture in my mind a lady feeling happy about herself, confident and grateful for finding clothes to hide the areas she’s not happy about, flattering the areas she likes and having a big smile while she looks herself at the mirror.
    And my small team shares the same ideas. My sewer contractors are mature women with lots of experience, work ethics and they love what they do too. I know our clothes are not cheap. We can’t make cheap, we pay decent money to each one in our team and in return, our pieces are made with care, we use very good quality materials and they are designed to last for years.
    The best compliment is when a customer finds the best style for her body and reorder the same style in different colors.
    Thanks so much for such amazing review Erica and another of your talents is writing! Love your descriptions and the way you tell a story. If you ever write a book, it will be a best-seller.
    Can’t wait to see you and your lovely family at your store in December, the Bolero pop-up shop is going to be awesome!
    Because English is not my first language, I apologize for any mistake 🙂

    Reply
    • Erica
      October 7, 2017 at 12:04 pm
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      I’m sorry all I got from this is that you are my Bob Mackie. 😉 Okay, I kid. First, thank you for such a sweet message about my bra fitting techniques and writing. I work with a long distance clients, so I think that helps a lot. Plus, I know A LOT about Comexim now too. 😀 Second, how cool is it you got to work on a show with him! I bet that had to be fun, and yes, I’m sure being in costumes, that had to be awesome. This makes a lot of sense of course because I feel like my Bolero dresses are sometimes my costumes. Who do I want to be today? A princess? Okay, I have a dress for that. A pirate? I have a dress for that now. A responsible business owner? Sure, have that too. You do amazing work, and I am proud to keep supporting you and your business.

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      • October 8, 2017 at 3:17 pm
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        I know I have a photo with Bob Mackie, years ago when I went back to school for my Fashion’s degree at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, now I really want to find it!
        Reading what you wrote about feeling like wearing a costume sometimes in your Bolero dresses, gave me something to think, and I think you are right!
        After all, there is fantasy, dreams and many times, freedom behind Bolero designs, just like the things behind designing costumes. And I think is true that what you wear, can change your attitude, the way you walk, your body language, even the way you feel!
        If you wear a princess costume, you act different as if you wear a witch costume, right? People feel different wearing a solid dark color, an animal print dress, a pinup polka dots dress, a fitted pair of jeans, a maxi-dress or bright colors. One of the most rewarding feelings as a clothing designer is taking customers out of the comfort zone and when they love it!
        Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who only used to wear black, grey and monochromatic dresses, until Bolero dresses showed up into her life…

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        • Erica
          October 10, 2017 at 4:43 pm
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          . . . and got her to own an orange dress when she never even looked at orange before. 😀 😀

          Reply
      • October 9, 2017 at 8:22 pm
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        Erica, which style do you consider the “princess” dress?

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        • Erica
          October 10, 2017 at 4:44 pm
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          Hi Laurie! Definitely the Princess Ella. It has a sweetheart neckline with corset lacing on the back and a flared skirt. 🙂

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  • October 6, 2017 at 3:04 pm
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    I agree with Patricia’s comment. Erica is a lovely person who knows her stuff and whose passion helps her customers look and feel wonderful. I’ve enjoyed chatting about brafitting with Erica many times. [She may have been thinking “Too many times!” on occasion, but I never got the feeling I was overtaxing her, lol.] The stuff I bought for myself advanced me on my years long lingerie journey. Just this summer I discovered she sells the perfect no-pantyline briefs for me! Sophisticated Pair has also turned out to be a good place to do Christmas shopping for my girlfriends. This surprised me, because the shop is 3,000 miles away from me [sob].

    I second everything Erica said about Patricia and Bolero! I have two gorgeous wrap style Bolero tops. They are flattering, dry quickly enough to sink wash during trips, and don’t wrinkle. [Lay the top between two dry towels, roll up, and squeeze. Hang or lay top over a dry towel overnight.] The styles I have are classic. I can wear them in a work setting, but I can also use them with jeans or denim skirts. My style is conservative, even staid, but the pure jewel tones of my tops make my outfits pop. They skim the body and, of course, accommodate boobs. The room for boobs is built into the cut, so my waist still looks slim, while the boobs look normal and not disproportionate.

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    • Erica
      October 7, 2017 at 12:06 pm
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      <3 Thank you Sonia! You have been such a wonderful supporter of the shop, and I am happy we've been able to help you and find stuff for the holidays too. I got into this business because I like working with people, and I love being able to make others feel better and more confident about themselves. Maybe one day you'll be in the NC area, and you can stop in finally! Oh, and that's a good trick with the towels. I usually hang them, and sometimes if I need it quickly, I'll hang it over a vent or in front of a fan to get it dry a bit faster. Usually, it's done overnight though!

      Reply
    • October 8, 2017 at 2:16 pm
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      Thanks so much for your kind words for Bolero Sonia, your feedback is always appreciated!
      I remember receiving a phone call from a customer who said, she needs to talk to our designer because she has something to say about the Bolero Wrap tops she purchased. Usually when a customer needs to talk to the manager -or the designer in this case- there is a complain involved…but not in that case! You were so sweet describing the great feeling of finally being able to wear a beautiful blouse at work, so flattering on your chest, that accentuates your waist, and the most remarkable compliment for me was the one about your male co-workers talking over your shoulder and for the first time, you were not worry about safety pins! There was no too much skin showing wearing Bolero tops!
      We do have some beautiful solid colors -dark greys, hunter, burgundy and I will be more than happy to send you swatches and we also have sweater material in black, all these will be available at our next Pop-up event the first week of December at Erica’s boutique!
      If you wonder why they are not at our website, the reason is that solid colors usually don’t photography well and as you know, it depends on each monitor to get different shades of the same color sometimes. At the other hand, Prints images are very close to how beautiful they look in person.
      I’m so happy that we both agree on how fantastic is the experience or bra-shopping with Erica <3

      Reply
  • October 15, 2017 at 11:44 am
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    Erica, I had to throw my favorite female designer / celebrity pairing – Carolina Herrera and Renee Zellweger!

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