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!).

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What is the best way to capture your life memories?


By Elle

Is a life captured in photos more memorable and well-lived than one fully experienced and recorded in memory?

I suppose one could convincingly argue that memories fade, but photos, especially digital ones, can last forever. That’s certainly true. One could also argue that looking through stacks of photos from yesteryear can rekindle long-forgotten memories and emotions. I relish looking through my volumes of old photos, laughing at how adorable my late dad looked wearing Mickey Mouse ears at my younger daughter’s first birthday party, and how grateful I am to have a photo of my beloved when we dated “the first time around” more than 20 years ago. (We’re both incredulous that we didn’t take more photos back then.) Continue reading

Save the date for a chance to see (and bid on) these metal-work fashions


By Abby and Elle

Local fashion designer Stephanie Nunn wowed us recently with her exquisite collection of metal-work fashions, some of which will be available for auction at an upcoming fashion fundraising event to benefit the Cleveland Sight Center and Prevent Blindness Ohio.

Born with progressive degenerative myopia, Stephanie has steadily been losing her physical vision  — she’s legally blind — but her fashion vision remains innovative and vibrant.

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Designer Clothing Sale: Sneak Preview!


By Abby and Elle

NCJW Designer Days 2015

Designer Dress Days: Oct. 23 and 25 through 27, at the Mandel Jewish Community Center in Beachwood

As promised, here’s your sneak preview of some of the fabulous designer clothing — fashions by Armani, St. John, Carlisle, Chanel, Burberry, Ilie Wacs, Escada and more — you can get for a song from the National Council of Jewish Women / Cleveland’s Designer Dress Days.

Designer Dress Days is more than clothing; you’ll find bags, jewelry, hats and scarves. If you’re a fan of furs, you’ll find those, too.

Get details about this annual event, and text your best friends right now to make your shopping plans! Continue reading

Fashion Show: See the Video Recap


Abby and ElleBy Abby and Elle

If you missed the Good Style Fashion Show this year, you can catch our collection, called Cleveland Staycation, in the short video below. This was our third year participating in the show, which features Goodwill finds made fresh for the runway.

Here’s our lineup, in order of appearance, with the cost of the outfit noted:

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Model: Jillian (aka Abby)
Total Cost: $22

Goodtime III
Model: Kalana
Total Cost: $32

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Models: Alicia, Emily and Tyler
Total Cost: $25

Greater Cleveland Aquarium
Model: Ava
Total Cost: $12.50

Great Lakes Science Center
Model: Noah
Total Cost: $12

Hessler Street Fair
Model: Bailey
Total Cost: $13

United Skates
Model: Brenna
Total Cost: $7.50

West Side Market
Model: Laura (aka Elle)
Total Cost: $4

Cleveland Orchestra
Model: Katie
Total Cost: $20