After years of perusing the Ivey Abitz website I am, at long last, an extremely happy new customer. I don’t know why it took me so long to place an order. Clothes are very important to me.
One of my cherished, early memories is of my grandmother making my kindergarten clothes. We went together to look at patterns and choose fabric. Then she created a one of a kind wardrobe that instantly made me the best dressed five year old in town.
Now, at age 59, I’m able to replicate that experience with Ivey Abitz. These are clothes for those of us not interested in participating in fast fashion, who pay no attention to trends, but instead build a consistent wardrobe and look over several seasons. These creations are precious and will last many years. The designs are timeless, the fabrics gorgeous, and the sewing exquisite.
Every time I wear one of my new garments, I notice yet another exceptional detail. And they are so comfortable I can forget I have them on, until one of my friends exclaims over a new jacket or dress and wants to know where on earth I found such a treasure. And then I direct them to the Ivey Abitz site.
Ivey Abitz first came across my radar in 2013, though I cannot remember how. I was instantly enchanted. I ordered one frock, and the ensuing winter storms on the east coast delayed the arrival of this frock well past the holiday season. Cynthia corresponded with me and was most concerned and reassuring. She treated me as if I had ordered an entire wardrobe when it was only one frock, on sale. Her courtesy impressed me. I loved my new frock. It was elegant, simplicity itself, and I found many ways to wear it.
In spring, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, and though it was stage one, it was a particularly aggressive kind of tumor. It was profoundly shocking as I was propelled into the efficient machine of cancer treatment, beginning chemotherapy within two weeks, knowing surgery was the final outcome. I elected to have a double mastectomy because if the lymph came out clean, I would not have to undergo radiation. I didn’t want to mess around with this kind of aggressive cancer. I wanted it GONE. I elected to not have a reconstruction done. I would be flat chested. Yet I still wanted to feel feminine.
When summer arrived – hairless (me, not summer) – I found the IA summer sale email and began to dream. This body was undergoing many changes and sensations. I dreamt of a new body. I dreamt of a look that would be sensual, feminine, dignified, playful, gamine. I thought about what excited me and knew that the feel of clothes, the touch of fabrics, was as important as the flow and line. I placed an order, then another, and another, and Cynthia and I began a dialogue. It felt so good to know someone was on the other side dreaming and creating and making these clothes – someone with an aesthetic similar to mine, with a passion for beauty, elegance, and quality.
When Cynthia invited me write a piece for the Ivey Abitz blog, I was thrilled. I’ve been a lover of clothing and costumes all my life, and I know I am not alone. Sometimes I feel conflicted about this passion. Yet, as we make major life changes, we humans, in all cultures I can think of, invariably wear some special and particular clothing to mark the occasion. Christenings. Baptisms. First communions. First day of school. Graduation. Marriage. Taking vows. We mark these occasions with special garments. In the Jewish tradition, there’s even a blessing you say when you don a new garment. Clothes are ornaments of the human body. They can be playful, expressive, freeing, restrictive, sensual, powerful, symbolic. They can evoke an entire life, allowing one to capture feelings difficult to express. Clothing solicits our imagination and invites us to invent ourselves again and again.
I wanted to reinvent a more spacious self, braver in being willing to wear what pleased me, rather than what was considered “hip.” I wanted my clothing to move and be moving. Slipping my Ivey Abitz Lake Plaid frock over my head and shoulders felt like I was sliding into a pool of cool water. The cloth moved as I moved, making a swishy sound. When I wear it, I am transported to a green glade. In it, I walk with sunlight on my shoulders, even in our Portland rain. I found the Cobblestone Pond gauzy cotton incredibly soothing on my recently surgically altered chest. I feel swathed and comforted. I love how the Tilbrook and Hambledon dusters flutter around my legs. It makes wearing jeans feel impoverishing by comparison. I combine these garments with elements from my current wardrobe, like boots and sweaters.
It is so delightful to slip on such lovely clothing knowing the designs and fabrics are quite unique. I feel spacious when I wear these garments. And I frequently experience a kind of synesthesia, where sounds, sensations, scents, and colors frolic in my consciousness. Here’s a little of what I experience when I wear Ivey Abitz designs: Celtic music, sun streaming through leaves just so, susurration of wind and leaves, fragrant breezes. People respond to these looks. There is a heightened sensation that accompanies the wearing of Ivey Abitz. I highly recommend it.
Almost two years ago, I was having a lazy afternoon messing around on Pinterest when I came across a picture of an Ivey Abitz creation. Needless to say, the love affair began. So, when I had the opportunity to spend the month of July in Paris I knew Ivey Abitz was coming along with me!
As soon as the Spring/Summer 2014 Collection debuted I was glued to my iPad assembling my wardrobe for my trip. French weather in July can be a little tricky, so I needed garments that would work for both cool, rainy weather and hot, humid weather.
Of course, Ivey Abitz delivered on all counts. The pond washed gauzes, beautifully soft voiles and scrims, beach grass florals, the linens…oh my gosh, somebody stop me.
Let the shopping begin.
One of the best things about Ivey Abitz is the owner/designer Cynthia. The customer service she provides is beyond compare. Whenever I had any questions regarding any of my orders I could always expect a prompt response that was thoughtful and reassuring. I’m one of those late night online shoppers and up until about 6 weeks before I left I was still making purchases. Every dress, camisole, skirt, pant and sash that I ordered arrived in time for my trip. Cynthia’s expertise in choosing fabrics that mix and match so well that I was able to put together a different look almost everyday of my trip.
And don’t get me started on the quality of their work–the wonderfully finished seams, antique buttons. I was even able to add/subtract an inch with custom tailoring when needed.
One of the things I dislike about traveling is packing. Not this trip. I think I was as excited to wear my new clothes as I was to be in Paris. The whole experience was fantastic!
Thank you again, Ivey Abitz, for making me feel beautiful and unique on my adventure to France. I look forward to many more!!
Cottages come in different forms: a room set apart from the rest of your home, a cabin in the mountains or by the seaside, or a moment in time where you can shut out the world and surround yourself with comforts.
This is the new Cottage Design Collection — Cottage Camisole, Cottage Trousers, and Cottage Frock. They have a put-together quality about them, yet their abundant ease fills you with the comfort that makes the idea of a cottage so very profound.
We invite you to come to our Cottage and make it your very own. Find your getaway Cottage in Ivey Abitz, and order your favourites straight away!
I first discovered Ivey Abitz clothing on my last night of vacation in Paris. I’d spent nearly two weeks there absorbing art, quality design, and craftsmanship. The next day I would board a flight back to Afghanistan, where I had spent the previous 14 months. I worked and lived in southern Afghanistan, in Helmand province, the most violent in the country.
I don’t remember how I found the website, but sitting there in Paris on my last night of leave, I discovered this beautiful clothing that met all my criteria: quality craftsmanship, thoughtful design, and custom made. I am myself a weaver and sewer, and while not nearly as talented as Ivey Abitz, I know enough to identify quality when I find it. It was a fit.
Knowing that I would not have reliable internet for long, I placed an order.
Upon returning to Helmand, Cynthia Ivey Abitz and I struck up an occasional conversation about our mutual admiration for craft and quality. I was back for six more months of living and working in a war zone.
I cannot overstate how much it meant to have a distraction from the violence around me. I served with the British Army, and while our area of Afghanistan was small, we had a disproportionately high amount of casualties compared with the rest of the country. Our task was daunting.
Our conditions were austere to say the least! I lived in a tent with seven other people; we endured a summer and winter with no climate control. However, the most pressing concern there was the fact that we lived in a war zone. Internet access was rare, but when available I went right to the Ivey Abitz site and just looked at beautiful things, and imagined what my world would be like when I was home. There was no better therapy than distraction for me.
Toward the end of my deployment the Afghan phone carrier I had offered very slow 3G. One day our base took indirect fire, where people lob ordnance into where we live. We put on our heavy body armor and headed for the shelters. I sat in a concrete bunker wearing a flack jacket and helmet and waited for pages to slowly load on my phone. Coincidently, that day was the very day IA’s spring 2013 line premiered, and I wasn’t going to miss out on making a mental list of new items to contemplate.
Needless to say, I made my list, placed an order, and by the time I returned home I had boxes of beautiful clothing waiting for me. I love every item I have, and am grateful to Cynthia for providing me with plenty of good things to think about while I was in Afghanistan.
These garments were ordered to be worn just as you see them here. The Cozette Skirt was also chosen to be worn with other garments like the Hambledon Duster Coat, Truitt Jacket, Holkham Hall Vest, and Amorette Shirt Jacket to name a few. This is a great example of a “starter set” in Ivey Abitz where you can easily expand your wardrobe with just one ensemble. Mixing and matching possibilities are plentiful.
The Addy in plaid, as well as our other frocks, have been the go-to frock of the season. Here’s another ensemble that was just made for a client, combining our Foggy Cotton Velvet Corduroy with our Foggy/Black Soft Plaid Cotton. A Baedeker Scarf in our Signature Black Ribbed Weave is as comfortable and versatile as it is lovely draped around the neck. The bias cut pleating in our Mathilda designs feature the variegated cording in the cotton velvet, making a striking addition to the ensemble.
This is the kind of ensemble that you have to force yourself not to wear everyday. Our indispensable Elliot Jacket makes a perfect pairing over the Addy Frock. The Addy is particularly stunning in plaid with its bias cut insets, pockets, and waistband. It’s relevant for casual everyday wear, for going out, and for special occasions. Best of all, it’s comfortable AND elegant — a signature Ivey Abitz combination.