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

New! Ruby Shoos and life for old underwear


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design Ruby ShooBy Elle

I generally don’t pay much for my clothing, opting to thrift most everything I buy, for several reasons (in no particular order):

  • I like a closet full of choices
  • Recycling and reusing clothing is crucial for the environment
  • There’s no shortage of magnificent fashion finds when thrifting
  • I can buy expensive shoes without guilt

According to Elizabeth Cline, who wrote Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, “most of our donated clothing doesn’t end up in vintage shops, as car-seat stuffing, or as an industrial wiping rag. It is sold overseas….And by one estimate, used clothing is now the United States’ number one export by volume, with the overwhelming majority sent to ports in sub-Saharan Africa.”

While that seems like a charitable deed, turns out the world has changed, and many people in developing countries are able to now afford fast fashion and super-cheap clothing from China. We can (and should) no longer use Africa as our dumping ground for unwanted textiles. In fact, there is at least talk in Eastern Africa to ban all imported used clothing by 2019.

Continue reading

Celebrate Earth Day with eco-friendly clothing — at wallet – friendly prices!


Elroy Apparel Jamesia coatBy Abby and Elle

If you dig boho-chic, check out Elroy, a Canadian company specializing in women’s clothing made from fabrics that are sustainable, organic, upcycled and eco-friendly — just in time for Earth Day on April 22.

What’s great about Elroy?

For one, they started a small sewing cooperative in Indonesia, with the goals of creating affordable eco-friendly clothing and bringing economic independence for those in impoverished communities.

For two, they’re having a summer clearance sale right now, so you can pick up something special in anticipation of warmer weather at a fraction of the cost. But you have to hurry because inventory is limited.

Here’s a sale preview:

Elroy Apparel Larkspur dress

Elroy Apparel Larkspur dress The gathered “scarf” is attached at the side seam. A slit hole allows the scarf to stay in place.

Elroy Apparel Kaeya dress

Elroy Apparel Kaeya dress

Elroy Apparel Puya top

Elroy Apparel Puya top

Elroy Apparel Raulston sweater dress

Elroy Apparel Raulston sweater dress

Elroy Apparel Nia Dress

Elroy Apparel Nia Dress

Elroy Apparel Jamesia coat

Elroy Apparel Jamesia coat

Why Your $8 Shirt is a Huge Problem (and what to do about it)


By Abby and Elle

Came across this excellent video the other day and thought we’d share it. While we’re thrifty and all, we are vehemently opposed to the avalanche of cheap clothing that is smothering the market.

Bottom line:

  • Buy quality clothing that will last
  • Shop at thrift stores
  • Donate unwanted clothing (versus dumping them in the trash)

Spread the word, and help save the planet. It’s the only one we have!

 

 

No One-hit Wonder Here


By Elle

Remember the silk fair trade scarf I blogged about recently? Because of its unique combo of colors, I’ve had fun mixing and matching it with so many things. Anything from dark brown, butterscotch, light or dark grey, and white works with this scarf. Even dark blue and black. And because I favor earth tones, my closet is bursting with possibility!

Professional look for the office

Professional look for the office

Slacks from Talbots, jacket from Kenneth Cole, scarf created especially for Revive

Slacks from Talbots, jacket from Kenneth Cole, scarf created especially for Revive

Fun, casual look. Lace top from Wet Seal over a grey cami and paired with dark jeans

Fun, casual look. Lace top from Wet Seal over a grey cami and paired with dark jeans. You could easily cinch the waist with the scarf for a different look

Dark grey tee, white jeans and scarf created especially for Revive

Dark grey tee, white jeans and scarf created especially for Revive

Thread the scarf through belt loops and let the extra material fly in the late summer breeze!

Thread the scarf through belt loops and let the extra material fly in the late summer breeze!