NYC in Ivey Abitz and Memories of a Fashionable Great-Grandmother

by Deborah in Rhode Island

Travels with my new Solomon Skirt: My VW Bug and I made it to Brooklyn by early evening on Saturday. A 9 p.m. dinner at Luz with friends and I’m still wearing my lovely Solomon Skirt. I feel luxurious in it – designed by Cynthia Ivey Abitz and made perfectly for me by extraordinary hands. Not a wrinkle from sitting in a car for four hours. A sip of my minty Mojiito and I feel positively glamorous.

It was exciting news when Ivey Abitz moved to New York City. NYC is one of my favorite places to visit and I imagine that it’s such a wonderful opportunity for a designer. Much of Cynthia’s “look” reminds me of my great-grandmother, Emma. She was born in the late 1800’s and went to Pratt Institute to study Fashion Design. My mother remembers her well – very tall, very slim, very elegant, and very fashionable.

Apparently she missed NYC after she left Pratt so she often took her daughter (my grandmother) with her to NY for weekend trips. Emma continued this tradition with my mother who remembers walking around NYC for hours and hours hoping that Emma would get tired of walking, shopping, etc. My grandmother and mother kept up the tradition and showed me around NYC as a young girl, and those are some of my best memories. I think that I was fascinated by remarkable clothing early on – my great-grandmother’s legacy. I still have a beautiful and very heavy crocheted lace skirt and jacket that belonged to her – it is amazing how small waists were! And how tall she was! When I heard of Ivey Abitz’s move to NYC, the memories of my fashionable great-grandmother, Emma, came immediately to mind. She would have looked spectacular in Ivey Abitz.

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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.

Even When You’re Preggers

By Reba from California

Pregnant with twins was not the most beautiful experience of my life. Not even in the top 100. Pretty much a complete nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, I love the end result, it’s the process that I despise. When I delivered at 36 weeks, I had gained 60 pounds. My husband referred to my belly as “the nose cone.” Toward the end, the only clothing I could fit into was an xxl maternity swim cover-up and that was stretching toward risqué. Currently, being pregnant with a singleton and not being nearly as large ranks one measly step above being pregnant with twins. The only consolation for me is that up until the 7th month I could work cute and pregnant. Barely. I have discovered when first pregnant and not showing but not exactly fitting into anything, more like being really bloated with a hefty dose of nausea, the best solution is tunics.

I also discovered the Solomon Frock. This little piece of joy saved me. I could wear a tight tube dress -something i wouldn’t do UNLESS pregnant, strangely the same goes for pigtails, but i digress – with the Solomon over top and totally work it. I could also still wear heels. We are talking first trimester here. The Solomon also worked well with leggings and a long tee shirt. Seeing how sucking it in wasn’t an option I could just relax and still look good. In the second trimester, the Camilla Skirt came in quite handy. Never one to admit to owning a long sleeve unitard UNLESS pregnant – you see how rules are tossed when one procreates – I have one (ok, two). I would never wear just the unitard, that would be not only absurd but obscene. However, the unitard with the Camilla Skirt looks amazing. The baby bump is obvious and cute without screaming “i need a epidural stat”, and I find that paring something having volume (the skirt) with something not having volume (tight unitard) helped me feel less frumpy. Frumpy is bad. Really bad in general, especially bad when pregnant.

It’s hard to dress with any structure when one waddles. It’s also hard when your belly becomes the repository for scone crumbs. Therefore, I find it uplifting to dress well, even on those days when all I wanted to do was eat saltines and watch my stories. After the 7th month, that all goes out the window and I would rather only leave the house for a dr. appointment or ice cream run while wearing some jokester’s idea of maternity sweats and sensible shoes.

As I lose the baby weight in the coming months and start to look normal, or as normal as one gets toting a newborn and chasing twins, I envision the Camilla over leggings with a sassy tank top. I also envision the Mercer set coming in quite handy. Comfortable without having to sacrifice individuality. I swear I won’t be going platinum, but I just might add a couple more tattoos… 2 weeks to go.

The end.

Right on schedule, Reba had a healthy baby boy. His name is Max.

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.)

Ivey Abitz from the Inside Out

I’ve discovered that I’m coming to prefer just about everything on a smaller, more intimate scale. Our own food supply is one thing. A small community and personal service is another. Handmade, timeless clothing from limited runs of speechlessly beautiful fabric and with loving, well-placed details is yet another. Prior to every ivey abitz order I placed, there was an event coming up for which I’d purchased each piece. (That’s the official story, anyway. It was a convenient excuse to buy the pieces I loved.) Each time, comically, the event was either indefinitely postponed or cancelled entirely. Sometimes it was weather-related, sometimes not. 

In the meantime, they instantly became the most stunning members of my closet, eclipsing even my formerly most prized and flattering pieces. The day I wore my black sueded silk Bartholdi skirt into town (not exactly the ceremony for which it had been purchased, but she had a good sense of humour about it), my husband kept gushing about how much he liked it and how well it suited me, and even the postmaster raced out from behind the counter to stroke the silk (she’s a woman, it was OK) and admire the wild, elegant design that I like to call controlled chaos. More than any of the compliments, though, it felt so good to wear, and instantly elevated my mood and reminded me of the transformative power of a well-conceived, beautifully handcrafted article of clothing that was literally made just for me. I was reminded of my powerful desire to both create and be surrounded by beauty, and what it does for me from the inside out.

A Queen of All She Surveys in Ivey Abitz

Just last summer I was sitting all alone at the end of a pier, waiting for a boat to arrive. It was 9:30 in the morning. I was having a moment of quiet (in a Camilla Shirt, natural hemstitch striped cotton, and Baedeker Skirt in black premium irish linen) and I was appreciating the solitude and beauty of the landscape.  

Then I heard, “A queen of all she surveys.” Then this man waxed on about me being a queen sitting there overlooking my domain or something. I laughed and his wife and friends joined him, and on he went about their travels, language, love of fine food and cooking. By the time they boarded the boat, they had taught me how to make wine vinegar. Now, I wouldn’t want to read too much into my shirt and skirt, but I think if I had been sitting there in a sweatshirt, jeans, and loafers, the conversation would not have started in the same way. I, of course, didn’t feel like a queen, but I did have that relaxed sort of sophisticated feeling that I have come to like while wearing Ivey Abitz, and that feels quite age appropriate for me.  

At the same time, I do not feel conspicuous in Ivey Abitz clothing. I lose the self consciousness that comes with wearing something that isn’t quite right or is uncomfortable. I feel very comfortable in Ivey Abitz designs.