Whenever she's eating dinner at El Patio with her family, Julie Shuford just can't resist telling the servers there how much she loves their shirts, traditional guayaberas that are popular throughout Latin America.
"No one ever takes me seriously," laments Shuford, "but it's a good-looking shirt!"
It was nearly three years ago when Shuford came up with an idea to design a women's line inspired by the guayaberas she loves. "My husband is not one to flatter—he's a straight shooter —so when he said that might be a great idea, I was off and running," says Shuford. Now she's launched Pintuck Clothing, named after the signature detail on a guayabera—a set of pintuck pleats running vertically down the front and back of the shirt.
Pintuck's version of the classic guayabera style is tunic length—long enough to feel comfortable wearing over leggings without feeling exposed—and fitted to flatter a woman's body. Shuford also chose thick cotton fabric rather than the traditional linen, in part because her grandfather was a cotton farmer, but mostly because when she was comparing samples she liked the way 100-percent cotton felt and held its shape.
Some of the Pintuck styles have the traditional four pockets on the front, but after she got feedback about women wanting slightly less bulk, Shuford added versions without them. To make the final result a little more Southern-inflected, she also offers monogramming on any piece.
"It's not meant to be 100-percent authentic, but it's in the spirit of the original. It's really the all-American guayabera for women. I like pieces that are easy and buttoned-up-looking without a lot of effort, because I don't have a lot of time. I like that I can dress this up or down, and it's designed to be worn year-round, at least in Houston," she says.
Pintuck tunics start at $175, and there's also a longer shift dress version available for $195. (You can see the dress on ABC13's Katherine Whaley, an early fan of the brand.) Pintuck tunics are available on the brand's website, at both Bering's locations and at shopthemanor.com. Shuford is also holding a trunk show on Thursday at Muse Boutique from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will participate in a group trunk show at Joyce Horn Antiques on May 6 from noon to 5.