Two looks for fall paisley dress, and what’s in your pocket?


By Elle

This past weekend, I pulled out my fall raincoat, complete with lining, because it’s so dang chilly outside. Whenever I put something on for the coming season, I immediately check the pockets in hope of finding, of course, cold, hard cash. What I almost always find, however, are wads of Kleenex, sometimes new, sometimes used. This time, I found, yes, Kleenex, along with something new.

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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.

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All for the love of plaid skirts and saddle shoes


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & DesignBy Elle

I’ve loved plaid ever since I was a kid, when I first saw the girls in my neighborhood who went to the parochial school walking in their pleated plaid skirts, white shirts and black cardigans. I also coveted their shiny black and white saddle shoes. I went to the public school, so I could wear anything I wanted. And I wanted a plaid skirt and saddle shoes.

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School days, school days, dear old Golden Rule days


By Elle

When I was an adolescent and pre-teen, my limited wardrobe consisted mainly of patched jeans and rock concert t-shirts, and because I went to public schools, that’s what I wore. Although I didn’t mind (and probably preferred it at the time), I’ve always been smitten with the look of school uniforms: perfectly pleated plaid skirts, crisp white collared shirts, neat cardigans and loafers to tie it all together. So when I bought this black and white schoolgirl skirt at a thrift store recently, I began to reflect on education and how lucky we in this country are to have access to schools. Continue reading

My new yellow vintage raincoat


Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design raincoat and purseBy Elle

During a recent trip to the Riveria Maya, Mexico, I suggested to my beloved that we should try to skip a meal or two during our stay because, if you’ve ever been to an all-inclusive resort, you know that you can tumble out looking much rounder than when you arrived. I thought it was a good idea since we’d been already eating light the day or two before (we were up well before the crack of dawn the day of travel and essentially unfed on the flight to Mexico). He agreed, and we decided we would skip either breakfast or lunch every day that week.

By the time we arrived at the resort, we were near starving and eager for the lunch buffet to open. We thoroughly enjoyed a fabulous spread, and because my beloved had never been to an all-inclusive before, he immediately started ordering one mixed drink after another — first a mojito, then a pina colada, then a seabreeze, then a mai tai — telling me he wanted to try them all. I said, “Yeah, but in one afternoon?” Continue reading

How I’m wearing these classy, casual cubes


By Abby

Elle and I have been taking my daughter and a couple of my nieces to the Cleveland Museum of Art for art classes on Saturday afternoons. It’s becoming a kind of coming of age for the children. I went when I was young, and so too my nieces have started the second wave of the tradition, followed now by my own daughter.

img_2990Last week, while the girls were drawing, painting and gluing, we perused the gift shop, where I spotted something I could not live without! The second I saw it I knew I had to have it. What was this thing that entranced me so? Well I’ll tell you, it was a beautiful, fanciful, colorful geo-cube necklace by Coeur De Lion. Continue reading