The Phrase Vintage Inspired Clothes

by Kimberly from Pennsylvania

I’m addicted.

In 2008, I made a pledge to wear as little mass-produced clothing as possible and started to seek out individual designers and websites that featured handmade items. 

Little did I know that by innocently Googling the phrase “vintage inspired clothes” one day last summer would cause me to become an addict.

Yes, an addict. Now I know what that term really means.  I have been known to think about rich creamy chocolate in addictive terms but this was different.

I had discovered Ivey Abitz. And my world will never be the same again. 

Florentine Jacket by Ivey Abitz
Florentine Jacket as featured in the Ivey Abitz Fall 2008 Look Book.

I just could not stop looking at the Fall Look Book. I kept going back again and again and finally I decided on a few pieces. Since I wear a lot of black I stuck with that palette. A black & white Florentine Jacket in textured silk and a pair of Mercer Trousers in black Premium Irish Linen were my first choices. How could I go wrong?

Now my agony would truly begin.  I had to wait for my order to be made just for me.
 
After the first few weeks I would keep going back to my order confirmation page and check my order status.  “Order in progress” – how I learned to hate that phrase.  Then I received my notification that my items shipped. I was ecstatic and practically walking on air.
My waiting was not in vain. 

The linen trousers were opened first.  The quality of the linen was superb.  Just lovely. My new pants were a dream.  I held them up and instantly thought of 4-5 ways to wear them. They go with everything.

My Florentine Jacket was a surprise.  It was a combination of cool funky with the raw edged seams and a very lady like vibe. I wear it with everything from a black pencil skirt, funky tights and shoes, to other Ivey Abitz items. 

Needless to say, I was not disappointed by my first purchase from Ivey Abitz. And I can assure you there will be more to come. 

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.

Practical and Beautiful

When I was a youngster, I wore a uniform to school. A very simple uniform consisting of a skirt/pant and a vest. It sounds odd, but I really enjoyed the uniform. I never had to worry about what to wear to school, I never had to do much laundry, and I liked my “minimalistic” closet. Unfortunately, the uniform was made of polyester. Nasty, chemical-reaction derived, polyester.

To be fair, polyester was indeed “practical”: It never wrinkled, it never shrunk, it was durable, no mildew… But wearing it made me feel as though I were encased in plastic. And it was ugly. 

(Why is it that “practical” is often synonymous with “ugly”?)

After years of sweating in my practical, ugly, polyester uniform, I came to the conclusion that there had to be a something better.  

As an adult, I long for a sophisticated wardrobe where all of the articles “play well” together. And while I get giddy at the thought of large walk-in closets filled to the brim with beautiful clothing, that “minimalistic” closet from my childhood still appeals to me. (As does the notion of doing less laundry…)

Fortunately, Ivey Abitz has come to my wardrobe rescue. I can choose designs in the fabrics and colors that work well for me so I can mix-and-match to my heart’s content. And to make it even more perfect, all of the fabrics are natural.

Natural fibers not only let your skin breathe, but they also have some interesting properties. For example, linen is not only antibacterial but anti-static as well. Wool absorbs moisture, does not retain odors, and is extremely difficult to catch on fire (a good choice for someone who is klutzy in the kitchen…) Silk is not only strong but it also keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer — a fabric for all seasons!

Did I mention I have twins? Boys? Just turned two?  

They can be a handful at times — and sometimes that handful includes sticky fingers. I am sure it is just one of those great “Mysteries of Life”, but I can never figure out exactly WHAT makes their hands so sticky. (Truth be told, it is probably a good thing that I don’t know.) They seem to have this uncanny knack of being their messiest whenever I am dressed in something nice — grubby little hands pawing at my skirts, runny little noses nestled in my sweaters during Toddler Hugs…you get the idea.

This is why I was so happy to find that most of the beautiful Ivey Abitz designs could be washed in the washing machine AND tumble dried.  

Beautiful silks and linens. Getting softer with time. “Year round” fabrics. Now THAT’S practical. (It makes me want to hug my toddlers even more.)

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.

simple everyday laundering methods for ivey abitz garments

i really do believe that these ivey abitz clothes are made to wear every day, and i do wear them every day. i wear them to work at our soap company where i am making things by hand. i am getting into all sorts of creams, essential oils, carrier oils, soaps, body products and experiments in general — things that we make, and overall to do the things i do every day. i pick up my cats wearing them, i pet my dogs and take them here and there. i don’t really worry about it because the garments wash beautifully. some pieces i wash by hand and they come out perfectly. i have never had a piece lose its color or otherwise look any different when i put them on the delicates or handwash cycle. some pieces i dry clean even though i know i don’t have to — i just do. usually because the dry cleaner presses them better than i do, or i don’t want to iron them at all. a lot of pieces don’t need it. depends on the look you want from the fabric. sometimes i prefer the crinkled look of silk taffeta, and sometimes i like it to show off the smooth, almost reflective sheen of this fabric. a lot of other fabrics fall into place without having to do a thing, right out of the wash.