Thoughts about The Beauty Suit, a book by Lauren Shields
by Cynthia IveyAbitz
When Lauren shared the exciting news with me about the impending release of her new book The Beauty Suit, I was thrilled to learn that someone had given such serious thought to clothing and how it impacts our everyday lives.
The day Lauren’s book arrived to me in the mail, my world stopped, and I read it cover to cover. As an artist that has devoted my life’s work to designing clothing that honours the internal and external self, it was so hopeful to read about Lauren’s journey from wearing the Beauty Suit (the mass-produced, tight clothing, the latest contouring palette, the revealing tops) to studying how different religions determine what is considered appropriate for clothing and why. Their norms have an undeniable impact on the norms of modern mainstream culture, as oftentimes trends are a reaction to them. It was fascinating to read what Lauren learned through her project of shedding the Beauty Suit, covering herself for the first time in her adulthood, and then trying to figure out what to do after her project was finished.
It’s an honour to know that, post-project and pre-release of Lauren’s book, she found a sartorial home in Ivey Abitz. We enjoy creating for her and getting to know her. We’re also pleased to announce the release of her new book, and we encourage everyone to order a copy and read it. It’s an important read for those that have worn the Beauty Suit or that choose to still wear it. It is, perhaps, an even more important read for those of us that have never felt the pressure to wear the Beauty Suit. Lauren’s book is a window into a world of immense pressure that focuses on sex appeal to stand out and be noticed. I discovered a newfound empathy and understanding of the women that wear the Beauty Suit trends.
To be sure, this book is not an attempt to shame women that choose to wear the Beauty Suit. Rather, I see it as a meditation on how we can transcend the current norms to find something better. We’re pleased that Lauren found that something better for herself in our garments. We know Ivey Abitz garments are not for everyone, and that’s okay. But we are thrilled to be here for Lauren and others that are delving deep into challenging questions, finding answers for themselves, and realizing that it’s a meaningful thing to be set apart from what she sees as demeaning trends. Lauren’s book beckons all of us, men and women, to wear clothing that doesn’t merely focus on our sexual assets and touts our sexual appeal but that celebrates and honours the entire person–body, mind, and spirit.
— Cynthia Ivey Abitz
Did you read The Beauty Suit or do you have a personal experience with it? Leave a thoughtful comment below. All comments are moderated.
Further reading: Lauren Shields interviewed Cynthia Ivey Abitz about her relationship to the Beauty Suit. Read the interview.