It's no coincidence the guayabera—a classic shirt with Latin American roots—is beloved in Houston. The traditional men's summer shirt distinguished by its close vertical pleats (known as alforzas) fares well in humid, tropical climates like ours. Thanks to a new collection from Tanglewood retailer Paris Texas Apparel Co., the longtime hot weather standby has expanded its audience.
In collaboration with designer David Peck of Miles David and local bloggers Caroline Harper Knapp (House of Harper) and Lyndsey Zorich (L. Avenue), Paris Texas' ready-to-wear sibling brand, San Cristobal Guayaberas, has launched a new line of women's guayaberas dresses and kids' shirts. The first collection, which debuted in-store at a September 5 launch party, features 13 iterations of the lightweight cotton shirtdress.
The designs preserve elements of the classic guayabera like decorative embroidery and vertical pleating but add length and components like side vents and nipped waists for a flattering fit. Seersucker, gingham, and stripes in candy-colored pastels inform the collection, which includes sleeveless and three-quarter sleeve options.
Knapp and Zorich each customized their own styles' fabric, embroidery pattern, and thread colors, modeling them in real time at Wednesday's event. Knapp's House of Harper dress is a popover three-quarter sleeve fit in classic blue seersucker with front pockets and slate blue and ash embroidery, which retails for $195. Knapp, mom of two young sons, also created matching boys' guayaberas in toddler ($65) and youth sizes ($90) from 2T–Youth XL 11/12.
Zorich's L. Avenue sleeveless style employs a candy-cane red windowpane fabric with scarlet and hot pink geometric embroidery for $175. Other styles in the collection, which range from $140–$195, include lavender striped seersucker with Greek key embroidery, navy gingham with red and white embroidery, light pink seersucker with mint and aqua embroidery, and classic blue poplin and blue striped seersucker with pleating only.
"We always wanted to reimagine the guayabera as a women's dress. I wanted to collaborate with people who understood our cut and fit to make sure our dress was flattering and stylish," said Paris Texas Apparel Co. CEO Paul Hotze, who launched San Cristobal Guayaberas in 2014. "It was great to work with David, Caroline, and Lyndsey on this project. Our guayabera dress offers a stylish, easy shirtdress that can take you from carpool and errands to game day celebrations and outdoor events."
The collection is sold exclusively at Paris Texas Apparel's store (1341 S Voss Road) and online.