Staying Cool in the Florida Heat – in Ivey Abitz

it is getting to be that time of year in florida that i dread. 

i know this makes no sense at all except maybe to someone who has grown up and lived in this state year in and year out, because it is quite beautiful at the moment. the sun is out and the air is coolish, or at least it isn’t humid yet. the orange blossoms are blooming as are all the citrus trees. so is the jasmine. so why do i dread this time of year? 

because i know in a month it’s going to get hot.  then it will be scorching. then….right around july and august, just when you think it can’t get any hotter – and this gets me every year – it does get just that much hotter. yes, you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. you could burn one on the highway, if there wasn’t so much traffic on u.s. 19, a major highway thru this state. it’s like a highway going right down the middle of shopping centers and strip malls for hundreds of miles. 

so what does this have to do with clothes and design, you might ask? 

you will see quite an array of hot weather fashion here. from polyester with elastic waist pants to loud flower print moo moo’s. i could go on, but you get the picture. i remember the days of straw handbags with shells stuck to them, or woven wood purses with decoupage city scapes painted on them. eek. in some ways, though, i must say i do get a bit nostalgic for the kitschy 50’s and 60’s florida style. even the 40’s. i wasn’t around for most of those decades (maybe one), but it survived here for a long time. i mean, who doesn’t miss the alligator ashtrays and pink flamingo drinking glasses? now it’s just sad, in my opinion. overbuilt, cheap sadness. i even miss the neon and the dinosaurs.  i digress. 

the point about clothing? 

well, it is also the time of year that i start thinking about what i can possibly wear to stay cool enough that i don’t pass out when i walk out of my house (the heat sometimes literally takes my breath away – it’s like walking into a furnace) but stylish enough that i can still live with myself. this is where Ivey Abitz comes in. sometimes it is difficult to plan a wardrobe under these hot conditions, but not with Ivey Abitz. the process is simple. i know that i will get a fabric book and a look book (i have a special place for all of mine) and the website with all of the new ensembles and separates. 

believe it or not, i can wear (with a heat absorbing tank) the ivey abitz silk spun taffeta in floridian heat. i can wear a bartholdi overlay like a top with nothing underneath-except the tank, otherwise it may be a bit x-rated for me.  back in the day a bathing suit top would have worked….oh to be young again (ewwww i sound like my grandmother-yikes!). but even if 40’s are the new 30’s (that’s plural because i’m over 40) i still can’t bring myself to do it. i never thought it would happen to me (i don’t think anyone ever sees this coming), but it did.  i hate to admit it but there are things that i think might be too young for me. 

god forbid that my father-in-law, who is english, calls me or even thinksmutton dressed as lamb,” in regard to me. it doesn’t really matter because i can’t think of a design in the pack that would make me feel that way (minus the bartholdi overlay w/out a tank under it). Ivey Abitz designs are ageless. 

i can dress (or loan for a very short time) my 15 year old niece (in) something of mine that i would wear and we would both look good. they are neither too old or too young….ageless.  i love it. i like to think of myself that way so there you go. again, i’m off the subject.  i was writing about fabrics and the heat…..so…..let me get back to it.  i am sure everyone reading this knows that natural fabrics are best. they breathe in the heat and are warm in the cold weather.  they look…well, natural.  it doesn’t matter what synthetics are invented – and there even are some good new ones – natural fabrics have that certain quality that is classic in every way. 

in this floridian heat, i can and have worn linen hemstitch jacquard, a silk linen doubleweave, and the ribbed silk linen – all from 2007’s autum 2 collection.  at that time of year, florida is still quite warm, but i can wear them in comfort. i can wear any linen because they are light enough for summer. when it does (finally) get a little cold here, i can layer linen with any of the fabrics – i look for texture because i don’t have to really worry about “warmth fabrics,” they are perfect for our climate in winter.  i do wish i could wear the Ivey Abitz velvets and the wools here, but i can’t remember a winter in recent history where i could wear those fabrics more than once. maybe next year, if they are offered. on the other hand, there is so much in fabric to choose from that i can’t see not being able to find something to work in any climate, in any season, for myself.

I Have Worn It Backwards

How many bartholdi overlays does one need?  

A LOT! 

i have many pieces of Ivey Abitz and as i have said before, i rarely if ever wear anything else. the designs i used to wear before discovering Ivey Abitz went to the dry cleaner and then were carefully covered – to the back of the closet went the *designer name removed*, the *designer name removed*, and even the other art to wear designers that i dearly loved and looked forward to every season (and bought way too much of). some are brand new with the tags still attached. anyway, that is another story for another time, maybe but you get the idea. there is no other designer out there that even comes close to Ivey Abitz.  

so the bartholdi overlay — first let me give you an idea of what i look like because i have “special needs”. it is because i am short. not just short. short is what?  5′ 3′?  i wish! no, i am really short. i am 5 ft. — just. i weigh between 100 and 105, so i am considered normal, but of course i am never happy (95 lbs. is perfection to me). that is still another story, but my point is that i do have short legs, so i am considered petite and i find it difficult to buy clothes.  some tall gals think that it is a drag being tall and would rather be petite but it isn’t.  no way-i think most people would agree that it is better for wearing certain clothes to be taller. the bartholdi overlay is great for everything every day and because of all the fabrics available…..well i have quite a few. the design is more than a vest but not quite a shirt or top. it is something like a tunic but more creative and with more options. it is….well, an original.  

as small as i am, i can wear it for many occasions and for many reasons. a fat day – they make you look thinner and taller. a thin day – they just make you look good. i wear platforms – i have discovered some comfy ones, so i won’t look so short. they give me a good 3 inches, and i pull jeans way down as far as possible and scrunch them, too. combined with the bartholdi overlay, i become magically….normal sized! 

i have worn the bartholdi overlay the way it is designed, and i have worn it backwards. i have worn it to formal occasions – i had the misfortune to attend 3 funerals over the summer, and in our community a funeral is a week long event, so i got a lot of use out of my overlays in the more formal fabrics and the taffetas. i went to my neice’s school play and wore my cotton yarn dyed bartholdi over a bartholdi shirt. i can and do wear them with just about anything. i love them with the eleanor shirts, which is a staple piece and i have several of those as well. 

then, in my mind is the mini me version of the bartholdi overlay, and that is the camilla vest. the day before yesterday i wore a camilla vest…somehow i managed to pull the ties under the sides of the vest, then over the cross piece in front and tied it over that piece. it is hard to explain, but it illustrates how versatile these whimsical pieces – out of the endless imagination of cynthia’s – really are.