A Dream Fulfilled in Paris

By Barbara Jean in California

Barbara Jean in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, Paris, wearing Ivey Abitz.
Barbara Jean in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, Paris, wearing Ivey Abitz.

It has always been a dream of mine to visit Paris.

When I think of Paris, I find myself imagining all the creative and passionate souls that have walked these streets, sat in these cafes, and lived their dreams out in this city.

When you dream of something so intensely, it is no wonder that the Universe begins to arrange things to bring your dream into reality.

I knew that I would be traveling to Paris to walk those streets myself. What I didn’t know was that my perfect wardrobe for walking those streets would be created by another creative and passionate soul, our dear Cynthia, along with all of the talented hands and hearts at Ivey Abitz!

When I found these clothes, it was immediately apparent to me that they were clothes that were made to be worn, made to be walked in, and I could hardly wait to wear them for my grand adventure in Paris.

When my first package arrived, I had to quickly put my new ensemble on and go for a walk! How good they felt, so comfortable and yet elegant. Timeless, yes, that is the right word for these creations – timeless.

What stood out for me in my experience of wearing Ivey Abitz Bespoke clothing in Paris was a feeling of “traveling through time,” especially as I walked the avenues in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, seeking out the names of those creative and passionate souls that I had admired for their writing, their dancing, their bravery, their love of life. I felt as if I were stepping back in time, walking along with them. It was a truly wonderful moment in time, unrepeatable as moments like these are.

“We’ll always have Paris,” it is said. And so, as I wear my Ivey Abitz wardrobe here in my home in the United States of America, I know that the dream lives here in my own heart.

As I walk my dreams into reality, I will be wearing my Ivey Abitz clothing, traveling into the future while honoring the grace and courage of the past.

– Barbara Jean from California

Mother always recommended quality material, pretty colors, and simple designs

by Gerri from Texas

As a relatively new Ivey Abitz customer, I am amazed at how quickly I have become addicted to Cynthia’s gorgeous creations! They put to shame much of the other brands in my closet. I love how they coordinate with other Ivey Abitz pieces, as well as clothes I have had for years and still wear.

A dear friend and I had a very lengthy conversation several months ago.  We are convinced that we were born into the wrong century. Both of us love Victorian and Edwardian clothes and jewelry much more than we like the current trends.  We were both raised in the South and still adhere to the rules of fashion taught by our mothers: no white shoes or clothes before Easter or after Labor Day, etc. My mother always recommended quality material, pretty colors, and simple designs, and I have never forgotten what she said, although I do like the occasional odd and quirky piece.

Cynthia Ivey Abitz designs the most amazing and beautiful wearable art that I have found, and this art supports my vintage-wear wants and needs. In addition, these garments are so very comfortable, versatile, and they actually fit. No more of those one-size-fits-most clothes, where the shirts could double for dresses on my 5 foot 3 frame and the skirts drag on the ground. The ability to choose from  a range of measurements in Ivey Abitz garments ensures a flattering fit. I also love all of the little extras that differentiate the mundane garment from the spectacular garment. Thank you, Rebecca – one of the Ivey Abitz beloved seamstresses – for the tiny pin tucks in my Cordelia Shirt! The quality my mother recommended is found in every piece of Ivey Abitz clothing. There are no stiff tags poking into the back of my neck, no scratchy seams – no flaws whatsoever, and these gorgeous clothes are made in the USA, which is another definite plus.

I hate the current trend of midriff-baring, deep cleavage-showing, skin tight clothes. I love the grace, quality, sheer beauty and elegance of my Ivey Abitz wardrobe. The ease of layering these gorgeous pieces can hide so many figure flaws.  I also love the second looks I sometimes get while out and about.  My fellow Ivey Abitz aficionados know what I mean – that admiring and envious look from other women who are wondering where we found that gorgeous outfit!

Last, but most definitely not least, there is Cynthia Ivey Abitz herself, a lovely lady who is always willing to help in my clothing and accessory selections. Thank you, Cynthia.

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!)

The Versatility of the Sophia Camisole

ahhh…the sophia camisole.  a BIG success for such a little piece. 

if you have read any of my previous entries, you will know i like to experiment with cynthia’s designs. i am always doing something with something and this has nothing to do with me really — it’s because the clothes are so very versatile and they are naturally made to wear in many different ways. their versatility is one of the many things that i like about the designs in addition to the “perfection of imperfection, the “art to wear, and the fact that you cannot find clothes like this anywhere but here. well, at the moment. i wouldn’t be surprised one day if this was a worldwide label — though i really don’t know what the “house of ivey abitz” has in mind for the future. but i do think that whatever the Ivey Abitz’s do with their line, it will be as big and renowned as they want it to be. 

as i was saying…..sorry i do tend to go off on tangents! 

but anyway the other day i was wearing my sophia camisole…..i had it over an eleanor shirt. i can go on & on about eleanor, too. she is just one of my favorites of all times — and i probably will go on more about her later! 

but my dilemma, and what got me thinking of how to wear the sophia different ways, was the fact that i happened to want to tuck the eleanor in and tie it in back but then i had the problem of what to do with the tie to the sophia camisole. i love the fact that the strings on this are very long (i can wrap it around twice if i want), but i didn’t want to do that this time either so i started experimenting with the wrap. what i finally did was criss-cross the tie in front. then i brought the ends of the tie and wrapped them each around the sleeveless part of the camisole at the shoulder. after that i tucked in the ends and made a tie — not a bow, but a tie — and tucked that in so it looked wrapped. very cool. it stayed that way all day, and i didn’t have to fuss with it once.

The Perfection of Imperfection

yesterday i wore my celia shirt. i haven’t worn it in awhile and because i love it so much, i wondered why. certain pieces are so beautiful to me that i tend to treat them like treasure. this is one of those pieces. the first time i wore the celia shirt, i pulled off that beautiful tie with the three brooches attached and tied it up and wore it as a necklace with the shirt. in fact i have used the necklace with other shirts, too. yesterday i used the tie for the shirt the way it was meant to be worn. sometimes i wear a belt with it, but again it had been awhile. by mid-day i said to myself, “oh, i really do have to have another celia shirt.” 

one of the reasons that a piece of clothing will go into the treasure chest (figuratively speaking) is what i call the perfection of imperfection. in my opinion, the human hand is the true quality of a piece of art. what i mean by that is that when you see the frayed edges — or the parts of the piece of art to wear and what makes it look handmade — they are the parts that you know were not made by a machine but have the permanent embellishment or stamp of the human touch. it may not be obvious because those seams are perfect so it is a little hard to describe. but it is there. they are, for instance, the pleats and folds in the sleeves of the bartholdi shirt. the frayed edges of the duomo jacket and the celia shirt. the sleeves and neckline of the cozette jacket. and the fact that many of the pieces are washed and dyed by hand to give a more vintage quality. all of these very special touches are to me what makes ivey abitz designs art. it is the essence of all art. the human hand, the human touch.

What is more important than how you present yourself to the world?

i have already decided that people who wear art are smart, strong, unique women & men, proud of their individuality. in adopting a  handmade identity wouldn’t that by its very nature be the case? 

my favorite thing that maeve from minnesota wrote is: the bad news is, identity is fluid.  the good news is identity is fluid.

i love that! 

i guess i should at this point id myself. i was born & raised an artist. a lot of my family are in the arts, and i grew up surrounded by art. i decided very early on that i would be a painter mostly, but painting branches out to other art forms, too. 

my husband & i own a soap company called get a guru. people often ask what this means…to me it means so many things, it can mean believe in something spiritual or believe in what you do, whatever it may be or have a philosophy-any philosophy it is a personal kind of statement that can be interpreted in many ways, kind of like interpreting a work of art. 

i think cynthia ivey abitz gets it. i think her entire philosophy gets it – that she loves and believes in what she is doing is reflected in her nature and in her designs – which brings me to what i love about Ivey Abitz designs, what they are to me, and why they are important in the larger scheme of things. 

i had a friend who i worked with & was a clothing designer. unfortunately, he passed away at a young age – he was 36. 

i guess i thought of his designs as couture – not as art to wear & not as being the same thing. Ivey Abitz designs, to me, characterize that term. art to wear it is. it allows one to appreciate art in a very basic way. it allows one to include art and to be creative in everyday life. what can be more basic than dressing for your day? 

in a way, what is more important than how you present yourself to the world? this says who we are before we do. i guess i’m the type that won’t go out in sweats, etc. i have one friend who even goes out in her pajamas!  this to me is really hilarious….& good for her, whatever. i just couldn’t do it. 

this same friend, who is really as close to me as a sister–we grew up together like family–anyway, one time after a particularly bodacious evening out she got up to go in her nightgown, high heels & pearls! on the other hand i sometimes change 5 times while dressing for the day. i mean from top to bottom. entire outfits. 

yes, i’m late to work every day. i am late to every event & my friends just expect it at this point. i have so many of cynthia’s clothes that i don’t know what to wear first! i love them all so much that i change & change again and again, deciding what to wear. so many options! they are made to work together so the possibilities are endless. i have so much fun that dressing has almost become one of my hobbies. in terms of collecting beautiful handmade designs, with gorgeous fabrics, this certainly has become a hobby. i seriously cannot get enough of them. i love them so much that i won’t wear anything else. if Ivey Abitz made underwear i would have them, too.