Photo caption: Abby and Elle, wearing creations by Jill Wieder of Purlygirl Knits. Photo credit: Stephen Travarca
Abby and Elle are a couple of Eastsiders with a passion for fashion, art and home design. The two women share style tips, DIY how-tos, fashion advice and more at their blog, Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design. We asked them a few questions about blogging, shopping tips and style advice.
How would you describe your blog?
We like to say that we have a fun and funky little fashion blog. Part of our blog is devoted to sharing practical tips, such as various ways to tie a scarf and how to maximize your wardrobe. Another part is devoted to sharing our style with readers, but we don’t intend for our blog to be all about us.
We love when our readers comment, and we welcome their input, ideas and questions! That’s why we started a category called Fashion 9-1-1, so readers can submit their fashion quandaries.
We’re big fans of thrifting, which lets you acquire a fabulous wardrobe at a fabulous price. One of our goals is to encourage people to step out of their wardrobe comfort zone by mixing and matching the things they already have in news ways.
Cleveland has a lot of original boutiques and talented artisans that we try to promote. We’re really excited to be part of Cleveland’s growing fashion scene, and we think the city has what it takes to be a trendsetter.
Finally, we’ve recently expanded the blog’s focus to include home design and that’s been a lot of fun. In our most recent post, we showed how to copper a front door, and the result is stunning!
What made you decide to start blogging?
We started our blog because so many people ask us for fashion advice. People often comment on how we always look so “put together.” At first, we joked about it. And then we thought, why not? We love fashion and want to share that passion with others. Brenna, the 10-year-old in the family, inspired the blog’s name. We were admiring the sweater she had on one day and asked where she got it. She said “upstairs,” meaning her bedroom. We looked at each other and said, “upstairs fashion!” It just seemed right.
Where do you find inspiration for blogging?
We love when readers pose questions, and we have a lot of fun answering them. We’re also inspired by our fashion “finds,” fashion magazines, other bloggers, friends, window shopping, current events, Polyvore…the list seems endless!
How would you describe your personal style?
Abby: I’m aspiring to be BoHo, so I’m trying to move in that direction. I confess that on a day-to-day basis I’m probably more like 90s grunge -- my staples are jeans and hoodies. I have a small child so I need to stay comfortable. But I love to get dressed up when I have an occasion, too! When I’m not in head-to-toe grunge, I like everything to coordinate: wearing predominantly one color, matching patterns with complementary patterns, matching textures with like textures, and paying attention to detail. For example, if I’m wearing shoes with tiny bows, I’ll carry a clutch with a bow.
Elle: I love playing with textures and mirroring patterns, similar to what Abby does. I love finding a detail on a blouse that I can mirror with jewelry, for instance. I think it’s that technique that makes you look “put together.” Also, anytime I can combine something vintage with something chic, or something classic with a little funk, I feel great. I love to mix things up.
On which items should you splurge and on which should you save?
Definitely splurge on shoes and coats. Shoes, because the material and the fit are crucially important. One of our go-to brands is Fidji. The shoes are made in Portugal, are luxuriously soft and never wear out. Same thing with coats. If you spend on a quality coat, you’ll have it forever.
We also splurge on those totally one-of-a-kind finds, the thing you can’t live without – the exquisite piece of jewelry crafted by an artisan, for example.
Save on everything else, especially everyday accessories.
What are two fashion items you can’t do without?
Abby: Jeans and hoodie, hence my grunge look.
Elle: My evil eye bracelet and knee-high Etienne black boots. I wear both constantly.
What is the best piece of style advice you've ever received?
Abby: That it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed -- a lesson I learned the hard way (and that I shared on the blog). A recent fortune cookie told me this: Be yourself, and you will always be in fashion. So maybe that should be my best piece of style advice.
Elle: Make sure you have a great hair stylist. You can have the finest clothes, but if your hair’s a wreck, all bets are off.
Follow Abby and Elle's Upstairs Fashion & Design at www.abbyandelle.com.