Spring is officially here, according to the calendar, but the days, at least in Northeast Ohio, are still chilly — and today was downright frigid. Although we are eager to bust out our spring things and tuck our woolies deep into the closet, a move like that can be dangerously premature. OK, maybe not dangerous, but certainly premature.
Here’s how I put together one outfit to wear on a recent March day:
Here at Abby and Elle, we don’t like to purchase Halloween costumes if we don’t have to. We would much rather assemble a fitting outfit and turn it into a Halloween costume by adding a few simple accessories. (Obviously I grew up in a cash-strapped household.)
As you can see in the photo, I paired a witch hat fascinator with a purple blouse, and bam! I was ready for that Halloween party. Conversely, I could remove the fascinator and not look like I’m doing anything related to Halloween.
This whole ensemble started with the tights, which I dug out of the closet because 1) the weather is getting a little nippy, and 2) I needed to hide a blooming bruise on my shin related to moving 1,000 bricks — 1,000 of 6,000, made in Poland! — that my beloved had delivered onto our driveway. (Actually you can see some of them in the photos.) Did I mention that he bought 6,000? But that’s another story.
The right accessories can help you do a lot with a little. You’ll be shocked how easy it is to change the look of an outfit just by adding accessories.
Some items to have in your closet:
Tights We love buying tights — we’re always on the lookout for them — and usually the funkier, the better. It’s easy to find tights on sale, so if we’re in a store — particularly a department store — we’ll usually check to see what they have. We’ve gotten very lucky shopping this way. We try not to pay more than $5/pair (Cleveland, Ohio, pricing).
We don’t have criteria for buying tights except size, of course. And we always have a couple pairs of basic plain black, grey and brown tights. Otherwise, it’s anything goes!
Fishnet-style tights are fun, but beware that they easily catch on things and rip. (Another reason not to pay handsomely for a pair.) Elle loves thick wooly tights for winter, which look especially nice with suede boots, short or tall. You also can dress up a pair of basic tights with over-the-knee socks (that is a dang sexy look, is it not?). She has a pair of plain grey OTK socks to wear with patterned tights, and a few pairs of patterned OTK socks to wear with plain tights.
Don’t be afraid to mix patterns. Below is a terrific example of mixing striped thigh highs with a plaid skirt. Winner!
Belts We personally are not a big fan of belts — honestly, Elle believes they slow her down when she needs to use the restroom — but belts can be an important accessory, particularly if you’re wearing them over a shirt or dress, which we rarely do.
In any case, sometimes you need a belt, so it’s a good idea to have a couple, at least in a basic style, in black and in brown. Avoid wasting your money on trashy styles, though you can and should apply the “tights criteria” above to belt buying.
Happened to be at the mall last night and stumbled upon one of my fave things: tights — on sale. Clearance, actually, because it’s spring and all that.
Black floral tights
Regularly $10-12 a piece, these lovelies cost me $3 each. I picked up four pairs, the ones shown here plus a pair of grey knit tights. (Essentially four pairs for the price of one!) Only two pairs are knit, so they’ll be relegated to the fall/winter drawer; the others can be worn year-round.
Red, white and black striped tights
The brand is Worthington from JC Penney. Still had a decent selection, so hurry on in and save some green!