An Ivey Abitz Wardrobe in the Beautiful South

By Liz in the Beautiful South

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.

Liz shares part one of her Ivey Abitz wardrobe.
A glimpse at some of Liz’s new wardrobe from Ivey Abitz.

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.

Liz shares part two of her Ivey Abitz wardrobe.
A glimpse at some of Liz’s new wardrobe from Ivey Abitz.

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.

I’m a convert!

-Liz in the Beautiful South

Deciding on an Ivey Abitz Wardrobe with A Little Help from the Designer Herself

by Kimberly from Pennsylvania

I would like to think I’m pretty good at putting outfits together, but in reality I’m probably hit or miss.  When my outfit is a good one it’s pretty great but some of my misses would make me eligible for that TV show with the secret footage. 


One huge mistake is not following the advice from fashion gurus.  Buy an outfit – not pieces. And what do I do? I buy pieces. I know I’m not alone. Many women do this. You end up with a great skirt but nothing really fabulous to wear with it. So not only does the skirt languish in your closet, but by not wearing it you have spent your money in vain.  

And you say you don’t have anything to wear. Now you know why.


No more bits and pieces of clothing for me. This spring and summer would be different. Yes, I vowed.  But now what should I do? After looking at the Ivey Abitz website for like the millionth time I turned to my new best friend. Yes. I decided my new style guru would help me look great and pulled together. After looking at the website and picking some of my favorites I complied a list and sent it to Cynthia Ivey Abitz. 


Through email we talked about my choices, fabrics, my likes and dislikes and of course my budget.  Then she sent me a list of what looked like a wonderful start to building a useful and pulled together look that I can wear for years.

By doing this I would have the basics to look great this spring and summer. But there is flexibility in this list. I originally wanted the Camilla Dress in a winter fabric but decided that a Baedeker Shirt would help me fill in gaps in my wardrobe better. Not only will it always go with my Ivey Abitz pieces but it also works well with my existing clothing. 

The point is I have a guide now. I know if I purchase something off my list (even though I really want everything) it will work.  And that’s what I need in my life. Stuff that works.

From Youth to Pregnancy

When I was young…. no that’s wrong. When I was younger… that’s much better… I wore clothes to differentiate myself from the herd. Hard to do in catholic school with the unspoken rule of conformity. Only grandmothers in mourning wore black. I and a few fellow cohorts also wore black. Lots of black. We dyed things black. The more outlandish the better – buckle boots, black hats, vests over black poet shirts, leggings under skirts with petticoats. So very dramatic. It was a costume every day. I love a good costume. Naturally, we differentiated ourselves so much you couldn’t tell us apart. Irony comes to mind.

Spending my 20’s in San Francisco was liberating in so many ways. I found clothes. Lots of them. I also found that I knew nothing of the difference between wearing clothes and being dressed. I would much rather be dressed. The connotation of attending an impending event, one where thought and care would go into every stitch chosen, still appeals to me. Granted that event was often grabbing a guinness at a pub. It didn’t matter. (I don’t wear sweats to the market. Well, I do now, but that’s just until the latest baby arrives. I hate sweats.) People around me dressed too. Not always in what is defined as well-dressed, but with spirit, with gusto, with confidence, such confidence. No need to shock and awe through clothing, but more like elegant birds of different eras all crashing together in a thoroughly modern and individualistic way. I like that.

I started collecting. Many items of clothing I have now, 16 years later. I still wear them. I found local designers and had things made – skirts with trains, coats with bell sleeves, corsets trimmed with lace. I have to admit it’s been a couple of years since the corsets came out – I’ll save those for the twins.

Currently I sit and stare at my clothing. I have four weeks until the little one arrives to join his sisters. Most people would be lining the nest for the baby, picking out bumpers and footies with matching hats. Not I, oh no. I took care of nest lining months ago. Now I get to add some key items to the post pregnancy section of my closet. I have spent months wearing the equivalent of jersey jammies that are destined for some sort of bonfire. It is very difficult to consider oneself dressed when the primary concern is not letting ones belly hang out. It is also hard to feel well put together when it takes five minutes to put on socks. At four minutes 30 seconds I am winded and ready for a nap. Like a raven drawn to shiny objects, I am searching out that interesting pleat, the perfect silhouette, something transitional that I can still wear in six months… like the Luella Overlay in black cotton floral lace.

I’ll sneak it in the house somehow.


Versatility Reigns with Ivey Abitz Ties and Sashes

Did you ever have one of those days where you truly think you’ve gained 10 pounds overnight? 

I seem to be having more of “those days.”   Frequently.

I am not sure what the problem is because my driver’s license says I weigh 115#….ahem….

So, having nothing to wear because I happened to stuff my face full of chocolate on Easter Sunday and blossomed into a Rubenesque woman overnight, I quickly came to the conclusion that I didn’t need to diet….I just needed more Wearable Art!

This is one of the (many!) things I love about my new clothing from Ivey Abitz.  I cannot tell you how many things I had to throw away (from my pre-Ivey Abitz wardrobe) because they just don’t fit me any more.  And having a myriad of different sizes to accommodate a fluctuating waistline seems silly to me — why have clothing you can’t wear in your closet taking up valuable space?

With Ivey Abitz, tossing aside clothing because it doesn’t fit is a thing of the past.

Feeling a little full after Thanksgiving Dinner?  Just quietly excuse yourself from the room, adjust the antique glass buttons on the back of your beautiful Baedeker Shirt, and you will be back in time for a second slice of homemade pumpkin pie! 

Chasing toddlers on a daily basis and want to be comfortable?  No problem.  Just don a beautiful Baedeker Dress (sans sash) and you can roll around on the floor with the lil’ hobgoblins all day long.  (BONUS FEATURE: the decorative buttons on the dress keep the kids busy for an extra 20-30 minutes as they try and figure out how to unbutton them…hehehe).  And, when hubby arrives home unexpectedly with a fist-full of freshly picked irises (your favorite!) you can quickly snatch that sash off of the floor, tie it around your waist, and look as though you dressed up nice… just for him!   

(Something tells me that if my husband sees me looking this nice all the time, he may bring me flowers every single day!)

My Precious Baedeker Shirt

“I love the Baedeker, and The Baedeker loves me”, Maeve in Minnesota.

How I love this line from Maeve’s blog entry.  And how I also love The Baedeker!  

In fact, I loved my first Baedeker dress so much, I decided to try my luck with the Baedeker shirt — this time in a Deep Ocean blue (I sure do miss Maine…) silk spun taffeta.

When Cynthia Ivey Abitz first suggested to me I try an item in the silk spun taffeta, it brought a large smile to my face.  I think the last time I had worn taffeta was as a little girl: a poofy skirted dress that always impelled me to twirl around and around pretending I was a ballerina. 

(Of course, I am sure that taffeta was polyester…need I say more?)

Not ready to try this “grown up” version of taffeta (as I had put my dancing days behind me), I quickly abandoned the idea of using it as a fabric in my new Wearable Art collection.   But then my eyes beheld a beautiful sight one day and I realized that I just HAD to have something in that incredible fabric!  (that “beautiful sight” being, of course, page 20 of the Ivey Abitz Winter 07 Look Book).   And, after a few clicks of the keyboard and a couple weeks of waiting… that beautiful Baedeker was all mine! 

This time there was no delay…no time to admire the elegant box and simple bow…just a flurry of paper as I tore into that tissue looking for my Baedeker.  And there she was.  Looking so dainty (and tiny!) with her vintage black glass buttons from Prague expertly sewn on the shimmering fabric…breathtaking!

Trying her on, I found that she fit perfectly…as if made just for me. 

As for the taffeta…let’s just say the poofy-skirted dress couldn’t hold a candle to my Baedeker.  The way the light plays on that fabric: it’s blue…it’s black…no blue…!   And it is so smooth and silky.    

And machine washable. 

Maeve did a wonderful job describing the Baedeker in her blog entry.  I agree with her whole-heartedly.  But when I look at myself in the mirror wearing my new Baedeker, I realize that Maeve missed something.  I will admit that I may be just a little blinded by the beauty of that taffeta, but I am convinced that when I am wearing my new Baedeker I have the poise of a regal ballerina.  (Minus the twirling and the pointe shoes…)

No wonder the other items in my closet are a bit jealous of my new Baedeker.

My Introduction to the Baedeker Dress

The first piece of wearable art I purchased was the Baedeker dress in a beautiful Deep Ocean blue hemstitch jacquard linen. I just love the color — it brings back fond memories of walking on the beach when I lived on the coast of Maine — and the fabric has an incredible drape with an oh-so-subtle sheen. Beautiful. 

Being the practical woman that I am, I was a bit hesitant at purchasing something that could only be worn by itself and couldn’t really be combined with other items (as a blouse or Sophia Frock could). But something about the design really clicked with me…so, after doing some creative things with the budget (and nudging into the next month’s “allowance”)  I took the plunge and bought it. 

Then, I immediately panicked! 

I had never purchased a dress that cost that much money before. But, after doing some quick calculations, I realized that all of my “great deals” that I had purchased over the past two years totaled up to an amount that could have purchased several Baedeker dresses…ouch! I also realized that instead of purchasing 4 cheap generic outfits (that were made of inferior fabrics and poorly sewn) I could have purchased one beautiful outfit of wearable art that I would treasure for YEARS. 

The waiting was the hardest part. I hate waiting. 

But it was worth it.

The Baedeker arrived on Christmas Eve in an elegant white box with a simple black bow. A perfect gift to start the New Year with a “new” me!

Afraid to wear the dress, it hung in my closet for about a month! But every so often I would pull it out and try it on — just to make sure it was real. Playing around with it, I figured out about 7 different ways to wear the dress – and each way gave the dress an entirely new look. (Not a bad investment piece if you ask me!)

And, when I finally did manage to get the courage to wear the dress for “real”… I got my first compliment within a minute of getting out of my car in a parking lot. (By my calculations, it took about 3 seconds for that person to surmise what a confident, elegant, silly, attractive, and intelligent woman I was, about 20 seconds to get up the nerve to tell me so, and another 30 seconds for them to catch up to me in the parking lot — I walk fast) Not bad for a first showing!