This post is sponsored by Elizabeth Suzann, a women’s clothing label based in Nashville, Tennessee.
I don’t often think about the shape of my clothes. I guess I do in an abstract sense: I think about how they fit me and fit, clearly, corresponds with shape. But I never really think about a garment’s geometric pattern or how that shape might ultimately affect the drape or the way a piece of clothing touches my skin in the middle of a record heatwave.
Thank goodness, these are the kinds of things that designer Elizabeth Pape kept in mind when approaching the Elizabeth Suzann Spring/Summer 2016 collection. Elizabeth focused on geometric shapes like spheres and rectangles and triangles when envisioning a collection meant to be worn smack dab in the middle of summer’s hottest heat. The fabrics she’s used are lightweight and breathable: hemp and silk and the lightest, airiest cotton. But like all Elizabeth Suzann pieces, they’ve also been designed with an eye toward longevity and flexibility and in hopes that as temperatures dip they’ll transition to a new season with the addition of a layer or two.
The Spring/Summer 2016 collection was designed in part with New York City in mind. Elizabeth writes, “architecture and geometry of the city-scape and my time spent in the museums [in New York] played a large role in developing the shape-based theme of the collection.” And so when the team there reached out to ask if I would showcase some of their pieces in this space, I was especially excited about taking them for a whirl around my own quiet New York City neighborhood.
Here, a few of my favorites from the latest collection:
When you hold the Birdie Caftan in Handwoven Cotton up by its corners, you can see the dress is a simple rectangle (with a beautiful thick hem and reinforced seams). Draped from shoulders, sleeves appear and the dress hangs loosely around the body, leaving plenty of breathing room. Closer inspection reveals a diamond-shaped pattern in the cream-colored handwoven cotton.
The Annie Shirt Dress in Hemp Gauze and Keaton Duster in Cotton Twill show off a little bit of the collection’s potential to layer. The hemp gauze of the Annie Shirt Dress is a blend of hemp and silk and organic cotton gauze. True to the rest of the collection, it’s light and airy as can be. Elizabeth describes the dress as her conceptual interpretation of the classic men’s button-up shirt being worn by a woman. I loved pairing the shirt dress with the Keaton Duster, which ups the pocket factor and lends a bit of texture and length. I can picture wearing the duster on a cooler fall day with skinny jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt. On a warmer day, it was just right with the Birdie caftan.
One of my favorite pieces from the collection is the Olina Jumpsuit in Silk Crepe. It looks luxe, but in a relaxed way. Comfy-fancy, you might call it. The deep-v can be worn in the back or the front depending on your mood and there aren’t any zippers or buttons or snaps to contend with; it’s just easy. Perfect for beachcombing or dancing or anything in between.
For the perfect dress to transition from day to night, I’d choose the Harlow Dress in Hemp Gauze. The dress is cut from the same hemp/silk/organic cotton blend as the Annie Shirt Dress, but the wide circle of this dress lets the wind take it. It’s as wearable as it is beautiful and really the only thing you’d need to get through a New York City summer. (With the clear exception of ice cream cones.)
Elizabeth Suzann is the brainchild of Elizabeth Pape, and a dedicated team of seamstresses work alongside her in Nashville to produce these garments. The team is working hard to keep up with growing demand (and in the process of expanding!), so there’s currently a 4-5 week lead time on all orders.
This post is sponsored by Elizabeth Suzann. All opinions are my own. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that support Reading My Tea Leaves.
Photographs by Whitney Kidder for Reading My Tea Leaves.