First, let me preface my review with a heartfelt outpouring of thanks to Patrica of Bolero. She and I have the worst timing when exchanging dresses and tops for reviews because lately either I am sick and/or the beautiful NC weather decides to pour rain/ice/sleet/etc. Combined, it has taken me several weeks to arrange photo shoots, but I am so happy to finally have the opportunity.
In the shop, I unabashedly gush over how much I wear Bolero pieces, and I am not the kind of person who gives false praise to encourage sales. I tell people because it’s the truth, and I am not ashamed to admit I wear at least one Bolero dress every week. Most weeks, I wear 2-3 dresses because they are the most comfortable work-appropriate clothes I own, and they continue to flatter my ever-changing figure no matter how much or how little weight I am carrying. More importantly, I can trust the dresses to wash well and last more than a season. I toss these babies in the wash, hang ’em dry, and voila! The dress looks brand new even after constant wear.
While all budgets and shopping preferences are different, I am the type of person who missed “the shopping gene.” My philosophy is to purchase the best quality I can afford, but buy less overall pieces. It doesn’t help that I am hard-to-fit and work a job which can be physically taxing, so finding one item that works could qualify as a Herculean task. I would much rather spend $100 on one dress that not only looks amazing but will also endure several years than repeat the shopping cycle with cheaper dresses which pill or look shabby quickly. Obviously, that’s not a universal way of shopping, but for those of you who either have a higher discretionary income or who want pieces which fit amazing and last several seasons, consider Bolero. In fact, I have another post coming up soon with her spring and summer collection, including an incredible orange dress (a statement a person with my skin tone almost never utters). I’m excited to share all of this with you, but in the meantime, Patricia has also released a line of wrap tops which are the focus of today’s post.
As with the dresses, the wrap tops are designed to be friendly to a fuller bust and come in sizes S-XL. These pictures were taken yesterday in the midst of another rainy day, so we decided to have some fun with it. Per usual, I am wearing the size Small. As of yesterday, I weighed 169 pounds with a bust of 42″ and a waist of 31″. However, the tops even fit when I was at 175 a couple weeks ago, meaning there is flexibility depending on body shape. Since I am clearly not on the “small” side of things, women in that 00-2 zone may have fit issues, but my aunt, who wears a 4, also tried the tops with great success too.
The blouses are adorned with a flattering side ruche which accentuates curves and tailors the waist of the top naturally. The deeper V-neck allows space for the bust, and the fabric on the back and shoulders is not binding or constricting. Since I am blessed with bigger boobs for my frame and shoulders worthy of a professional lineman, I often struggle with tops, even knit ones, because they pull uncomfortably across my back. And the last thing I want to do at work is hulk out of my shirt! Nevertheless, these tops give and stretch with me so I can perform a full range of movement without fear.
Because the neckline is lower, you may need to consider a Perfect Cami underneath for work, but as you can see from the photos, it’s not exceptionally deep either. The sleeves hit at the elbow, which I feel is a flattering length for most women, and the shoulder coverage will keep you warm in frigid offices. However, the fabric is still lightweight enough not to make you sweat in the heat.
In fact, Patricia’s fabric selection has always been one of my favorite components of her designs. First and foremost, it just feels so darn good! I have never put on a Bolero dress and thought: “Meh, this is kind of scratchy.” Instead, they glide over my shoulders and feel like a cool, soft fabric good enough for sleeping. Second, they drape well across multiple figures. The lightweight fabric has its own quality of movement to hug curves, cascading over them without clinging in unflattering ways. Finally, the synthetic blend never wrinkles and dries quickly, making them ideal travel companions. It truly is the perfect fabric.
For the tops, she has two options. The first uses the same fabric as the dresses, and the second uses a lining fabric with a lace on top. I love both, and I enjoy having the option of something solid or printed as well as something with a textural element. Bonus points awarded to the tops for not showing any bra seams or lace either. While seams showing does not bother me, I know my customers would appreciate a fabric which does not reveal every element of their bra like a page of braille.
Finally, I think the length of the tops is a refreshing change from many bust-friendly pieces. While I do love my BiuBiu and Urkye pieces too, I find the tops are sometimes quite long in the torso, making them more appropriate for wearing with jeans than with skirts. The Bolero tops all end at an area which works for either. The only downside I potentially see is that women who are taller than me may find them to fall short, but I am sure Patricia could work with you on something a little longer.
While this has nothing to do with the tops, I do want to remind everyone that Bolero is a small business with products designed and manufactured in America under ethical working conditions. It’s because of these elements that a dress is between $98 and $108 and the tops will be between $60 and $70. However, the quality is there to support the price, and I feel better knowing that my money is supporting another business owner trying to help women feel more confident about themselves.
Overall Grade: A+