Amanda Boalt Coleman sits in the living room of her newly painted West Palm Beach home, scrolling through her phone. She seems relaxed in a Bohemian-style white blouse; her light brown hair drapes buoyantly on her shoulders; her sun-kissed skin is glowing – a fact that can be most likely attributed to the adorable baby bump peering through her unfettered top. Despite her laidback yet poised demeanor, Boalt is difficult to read.
She searches on her phone for a word her husband, Alex Coleman, uses to describe her.
“Oh, here is it,” Boalt says with a smile. “My husband calls me an ambivert.”
The owner and designer of Strong Boalt, a classic, timeless and luxury swimwear line for men, Boalt is neither taciturn nor forthcoming; she’s not shy nor overly gregarious. She is, however, the perfect balance between an extrovert and introvert. And it is because of this unique dichotomy that Boalt’s company has been so well received: Her clothing line embodies who she is.
Growing up on Palm Beach island during the ’80s, Boalt was heavily influenced by her surroundings. The vivid hues of the Atlantic, the Bohemian sensibilities of Palm Beach, and the lively characters that inhabited the town inspired her.
One of those characters was Lilly Pulitzer. To the world, Pulitzer was known as a fashion icon, but to Boalt she was simply known as “Granny.”
As the granddaughter of the legendary socialite and designer, Boalt remembers her grandmother as exciting, fun – and messy in the kitchen. “I always looked up to her more as a role model of how she lived her life, but of course I thought it was so cool what she did too,” Boalt, 35, says of Pulitzer’s eponymous designer label.
It would be easy to identify Boalt’s work with that of Pulitzer’s, but in reality the two lines are very different. Sure, there’s a playful theme throughout the patterns of the swimwear, but the combination of the American prep and an Italian influence in Boalt’s designs give her line a soft, classy and sporty look, a look that was not typically seen when she first started out.
Boalt was living in New York City working as a buyer in men’s wear for Ralph Lauren. For two years, the business grad learned the corporate side of fashion. But despite her success with Ralph Lauren, she knew she wanted to create a legacy of her own.
“At every point of my life I had an idea of the company I wanted to create,” Boalt says. “Men’s swimwear was the category that I felt that was completely wide open.”
So in 2009, she left Ralph Lauren and spent around five months cultivating her line. Once she developed something she could sell as higher-end resort wear, she moved back to Palm Beach, picked up the phone and started cold calling stores and hotels.
She adhered to some colorful advice she had once been given by her grandmother.
“Either you get it or you don’t, and trying to shove my product down someone’s throat isn’t really my style anyway,” she says.
People were getting it. And toward the end of 2012, stores and hotels were calling her.
Today her line is available in such places like The W Retreat & Spa in Bali, The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel and Four Seasons Resort in Maui.
And with a store due to open this winter, her cool, fun, elegant and, not to mention, ambivert clothing line will be coming to Worth Avenue.