The Ivalieu Story
Happy to be designed and made in Portland, Oregon.
After my second child I realized that I had been avoiding wearing skirts and dresses, especially so during the summer.
It was too bad, I mused, as a skirt or dress instantly makes me feel more pulled together and attractive and those can be elusive feelings when you've got wee ones. But, alas, I thought, they simply were not practical with all the bending down to pick things up, the repeatedly getting up and off the floor with your babies, toddlers toddling along lifting up your skirt, not to mention bike commuting for work.
Then one day I was reading a blog post about what to pack when traveling and the female author said she takes several skirts and a pair of bike shorts to wear underneath to deal with the ol' sticky thighs issue. What? I had had enough. We can put a rover on the planet Mars but the only options for women who are active but also want to wear a skirt or dress is to wear tight, compression undergarments or sweaty bike shorts? And don't get me started on those nylon slip-shorts made with a thin elastic waistband and pleats. Ack! I decided there must be a better way.
I figured my great, great grandmothers knew a few things about living active lives and remaining modest. After all, you can't exactly climb into a wagon or milk a cow while wearing a dress and not risk flashing a few folks. In the old days they called these undergarments pantalettes, bloomers, knickers, or pettipants. I took this old idea and made it anew with performance fabrics and thoughtful design details. And, lady, it is awesome. Here's why:
- I designed Ivalieu with a wide yoke of a waistband that smooths but doesn't try to squeeze you like you're a sausage. It's a waistband that respects you.
- Ivalieu is available in three unique silhouettes to fit your different clothing- and life-styles: the fitted Sport, the versatile Savvy, and the deliriously fun Rococo.
- I hunted down performance fabrics that stretch and wick and will still behave like a slip (no clothes clinging, thank you very much). Not only are the materials we offer durable and comfortable, you can go from work to workout without a wardrobe change.
- Each Ivalieu is sewn by hand at a locally owned company in Portland, Oregon. Your purchase is supporting living wage, manufacturing jobs in the USA (aw yeah!).
Now, I would like to mention the fact that in the time it took me to go from concept to market, my youngest went from toddler to kindergartner. I'm a geographer by training and have spent my career in the nonprofit sector. Without any prior experience in the apparel world, I've plowed through by sheer determination and asking for help at every turn. Fortunately, I've met many talented, professional, smart, and helpful people. Some dispensed advice in exchange for food and wine, and others, like JLD-Studios, have grown their business during our working relationship, making it possible for me to manufacture Ivalieu in Oregon. All the challenges I've faced as an outsider to the fashion industry combined with all the support of friends and family make me that much prouder of Ivalieu.
Three cheers for old-fashioned sensibilities made modern!