Surprising use of men’s suits, and how shoes can signal divorce


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design fall hatBy Elle

I picked up this delightful fall hat, crafted from a man’s suit, at the Textile Arts Alliance Wearable Art Market in Cleveland recently.  Designer Julie Cognata (jacbydesign@aol.com) repurposes clothing and fabric to create these affordable hats (mine cost $38), some of which are cleverly embellished with a man’s necktie around the brim. Because I’m more of a girly-girl, I chose a hat with a trio of knit flowers and some bling.

It may be funny to imagine this bold plaid pattern as a man’s suit today, but I’m a child of the 60s and I do recall men romping about in lively patterned knit suits. In fact, one of those men was the father of my good friend Lindy (not her real name).

Lindy’s parents were divorced, which, at the time, was unheard of, at least in our circles. Lindy’s mom, whom I rarely saw — I suspect now she was out working three jobs — had sole custody of their seven children.  For as long as I knew them, their house was a wreck, the refrigerator bare and the children unruly. Still, I loved spending the weekends there because the experience was so dramatically different from what my home life was like (thank you, Mom and Dad!).

Continue reading

Advertisements

A poncho like no other, and the value of seeing things differently


By Elle

When I saw this curious combination of Burberry-style Scotch plaid tartan and diaphanous Indian-style veil, wedded to create a poncho, I was awestruck, and it got me thinking about perspective. Continue reading

My official spring dress


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design | Uncle Frank grey embroidered cotton dressBy Elle

This grey cotton embroidered dress from Uncle Frank has become my official spring dress. I bought it several years ago from Green Roots Collection, wondering at the time if it was maybe a little too funky (this is Cleveland, after all), but that’s how I roll.

I gravitate toward this dress during early spring — probably because of the bright flowers — and at least once a season I wear it to our favorite pancake breakfast spot, at West Geauga High School in Chesterland. Turns out it’s also my official naturalization ceremony dress.  Continue reading

Starfish and Coffee


By Abby

My daughter fawning over a pink purse.

My daughter entered pre-school this fall, so naturally I’m getting to know other moms from my area. One mother in particular, a kindred spirit, told me about a local coffee shop. I like to support local businesses so I dropped by one afternoon and fell in love, even before I opened the door. Continue reading