Meet the co-captains of Lady Captains’ unique coastal clothing designs
A captain is someone who commands a ship, and a lady captain not only commands her ship, but catches her own fish, sets the dinner table, and serves her catch for dinner… all while looking feminine, casual, elegant, and comfortable! Luckily Rockport’s Lady Captain is there to dress them, embracing their femininity while recognizing their need for utility clothing. For clothes that go from the fishing boat to the yacht club, look no further than this salty boutique run by Claire Craig and Lauren Neal.
Claire grew up in Corpus Christi, and opened Beehive, a successful Austin shop for women 15 years ago, after obtaining a merchandising degree from the University of Texas. Lauren hails from Brenham, Texas, and graduated with a design degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2011.
Introduced by a mutual friend, the two hit it off and worked together at Beehive for a period while deciding what they wanted to create together. Mid pandemic, it became clear to them that not only was there a vacancy in coastal clothing for women on the gulf, but that with their combined backgrounds in merchandizing and design, they had all they needed to fill that void, simplify their own lives, and make their design dreams come true.
Now full-time Rockport residents, they opened Lady Captain in 2021 and have never looked back. Their store front is suitably white-washed and crowned with a jaunty striped awning, located at 1819 Broadway Street in Rockport. They design their own clothing lines, both utility wear and a resort collection with the women of Rockport in mind. Whether local year-round residents or second home-owners, there was a definite void in clothing that went from the boat to the Bayside barbecue. Their number one best-selling item is their fishing tunic, a light and airy shirtdress that goes over your bathing suit with a curved hem and long sleeves. Before their fishing tunic, women had to outfit themselves with either men’s shirts or form-fitting fashion that wasn’t practical or comfortable. Lady Captain’s fishing tunics and shirts are tailored to a woman’s body without being restrictive or tight, are lightweight, with UV protectant and water-repellant fabric and just elevated enough that you can dress them up or down for fashionable versatility.
They also design and sell a Resort Collection of clothing, with summery seersucker and plucky plaids in bold nautical stripes. At the end of August, their new resort collection launches and they are excited to present their jaunty nautical striped version of the fishing shirt. Their style inspiration emanates from old school classics like 1980s J. Crew and L.L. Bean; unfussy Americana coastal classics for day and night. They feature camp and cargo shorts, sundresses, flowy linen, denim jeans, light-weight cotton sweaters, embroidered tees, poplin baby doll dresses, polo shirts, and hemp blouses. Lady Captain has mastered seaside ensembles that represent the Texas Gulf Coast, perfect for Rockport’s climate and casual coastal lifestyle. They carry some other fashion brands as well, such as Kinga Csilla, J. Marie, Honest Cotton, SZ Blockprints, and Devotion, all curated specifically to enhance a sunny life along the gulf coast.
You can also find gear at Lady Captain like hats, caps, visors, water-bottles, and koozies, along with accessories like purses, belts, and jewelry, including fun earrings, necklaces, and lariats by Lizzie Fortunato and Bracha. For giftware they carry ceramic bowls, home goods, candles, glassware, and Coqui Coqui fragrances from the Yucatan peninsula, and Lady Captain has a full apothecary section to shop from. And they always offer giftwrapping, so you can spend more time enjoying the outdoors and celebrating your own coastal style.
Claire and Lauren are thankful for the warm embrace they have received from Rockport, and their favorite aspect of owning a store is the ability to make women feel better about themselves, bringing joy and happiness with their curated clothing. Lauren is also a personal stylist, represented by Edit Mode in San Antonio, and her love of design and styling enable her to offer an experienced eye to all Lady Captain’s customers. Claire and Lauren share a faith connection as well as a creative esthetic and in 10 years hope to be offering their brand nationally and also keeping their Rockport store as their brand headquarters.
So, for locally designed ready-to-wear coastal classics, look no further than Lady Captain for fashionable fishing wear and ocean-side entertaining outfits, for hostess gifts and spirited earrings, for inspiration and confidence in all things salty and sunny. From dockside to regatta, from yacht club to beach bonfire, Lady Captain is your go-to resource for everything you need to be living your best bay-side life.