I was asked to write a piece for the fabulous weekly on line magazine, Classic Chicago, regarding what piece of clothing defines me…I didn’t hesitate to say a black turtleneck sweater.  I have no idea when it started but it has become my signature piece.  Below is the full article, in quotes, that I presented to them, they used a condensed version…this is just a random Wednesday post. I don’t do selfies but am doing two photos of me today to illustrate how I wear my “identity”!

imageThe jacket in this photo is from Oscar de la Renta and is a bright royal purple, one of my favorites.  The jewelry is from my Victorian collection.

“I definitely identify with and am identified by a black turtleneck sweater!! 

How did this begin, I would say when I first began in retail. I was still in high school (working Saturdays at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago in Debutante Sportswear, it would now be called Contemporary Sportswear, until graduation) and there was a dress code, black, brown, navy, and gray. You could wear a white blouse. I choose black, a color (or noncolor) and have worn it ever since. It made me feel sophisticated and “grown up”, I was the youngest employee in the company at the time. To me, nothing looks more retail savvy that black and pearls. It forms the background to the merchandise you present to your clients. Eventually, my choice evolved into the black turtleneck sweater. Nothing wrong with my neck, it just works for me. I can add colorful jackets, all manner of jewelry to change it up. Having a season less wardrobe, it might be cashmere, usually is, silk, cotton (I’m partial to the Gap for this choice) basically any fabrication, I find works for me. I have so many that the staff at the store wouldn’t sell me any more basics, I was allowed novelty ones! I often wear my turtleneck to black tie events and glam it up with some sort of glitzy jewelry, bag and/or shoe.
 Without question, the black turtleneck sweater is the Ivon signature!”

imageAt the opening night party of the Mainbocher exhibit at the Chicago History Museum. I’m wearing one of my necklace treasures done especially for me by my friend the talented June Blaker.  The easy black silk vintage jacket by Mark Heister.

I find it very easy to reach into my closet and pull my outfit together for the day with my basic underpinnings, a black turtleneck, black pant, or black skirt with a black Chanel flat, black Puma sneaker or black boot.  Sometimes I do an animal print Oxford or a colored shoe if I’m not doing a bright jacket.  For evening it can become a long black skirt, black full silk pant by Mark Heister or short skirt, glamour jewelry and probably a rhinestone trimmed Blahnik black silk pump and black silk quilted Chanel bag. For New Year’s Eve this year I did a vintage Adolfo black jacket, with pearl and rhinestone Lasage beading, one of my treasured evening pieces, with black jeans, the Blahnik silk shoes and of course, as always, that black cashmere turtleneck sweater.

I would suggest everyone find their own style and become one with it.  The most important part of dressing is to be comfortable in your clothes and wear them not have them wear you!!

This week’s recipe is a coffee cake that I have made since I was a little girl, it is my Mother’s recipe…it is really yummy and I think I will make it for myself this week…hope you will try it as well, enjoy!

Ruth’s Rub Cake

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup milk

Rub together, as for pie crust, flour, baking powder, sugar, and butter (use a pastry cutter, two knives or your clean hands).  Measure one cup and set aside for topping of the cake. Beat eggs well, and combine with milk and mix well, add the dry ingredients mix until combined don’t over mix (I use a hand mixer for this part).  Pour into a shallow, greased pan and spread the top with the crumb mixture.  Bake in a moderate oven 350º for about 35 minutes.  Done when toothpick comes out clean.  Can be served for breakfast, tea, dessert or just out of the pan when you need a snack. Do let it cool a bit…it is best when it sets awhile and keeps very well.


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