Moving Up

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2017 brought about many great moments, but it was also one of the most challenging years of my life. From starting Ensemble of Elan to putting on our first fashion show and opening our online store–it flew by in a whirlwind of hard work and dedication.

Now going into 2018, I am simply elated for the new opportunities that are in front of me.

I’m going into the last half of my junior year, and I’m taking classes that challenge me as a creator and a student. I’m taking my first watercolor class, braving Spanish ll, and diving deeper into my marketing minor.

I’m also starting an internship with local fashion designer, Linda Rowe Thomas. I can’t wait to be in an environment surrounded with beautiful fabrics, innovative design, and raw inspiration. In this internship I’ll get a first-hand look at what it means to be a designer and to assist in editorial shoots.

On top of all of this, I have finally gathered the courage to pursue modeling professionally, and I put in an application to be a model at Sculp agency. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed modeling for our own photoshoots, and I think I am ready to take it to the next level.

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When I was a kid and used to think about what I wanted to do when I got older, I remember knowing that I wanted to be in the creative industry- and that still hasn’t changed.

There’s something amazing about your childhood dream beginning to come into fruition. I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.

-H

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When people ask me what I do, I usually tell them “many things.” I work as a personal stylist and shopper for Google’s innovative new app, Tailor; I (obviously) operate this fashion blog and our online store; and I am about to embark on two new adventures: interning at a fashion house and pursuing modeling professionally.

When I want something, I will do whatever takes to get it.

For a long time, I yearned to work in the fashion industry, but being from Arkansas, I didn’t know quite how to do it. So, in 2017, I took some leaps of faith and planted the seeds that have blossomed into the opportunities I have before me now.

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I want to learn the ins and outs of the fashion industry from every angle: designing, marketing, modeling, merchandising–all of it.

So, this year I am doing all of it. With my master’s degree under my belt at last, I can fully focus on growing in both my craft and my character (yup, I did just borrow that line from my cover letter).

We are almost to the one-year mark of the blog that started it all, and I would not have traded this past year for the world. We’re moving up, and I’m so grateful to all of you reading this because it would never have been possible without you.

-S


Sabrina’s Wearing:

| Forever 21 Cropped Sweater (similar) | Express Portofino Shirt | Goodwill Wool Coat (similar) | Goodwill Knit Scarf (similar) | Zara Patterned Trousers (similar) | Steve Madden Velvet Ankle Boots | H&M Leather Gloves (similar) | Zara Faux Fur Backpack | Amazon Face Earrings | TJ Maxx Sunglasses (similar) |

Hannah’s Wearing:

| Goodwill Turtleneck Sweater (similar) | Goodwill Knit Pencil Skirt (similar) | Old Navy Burgundy Pea Coat | Goodwill Multicolor Faux Fur Clutch

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More Than Just a Pretty Face

 

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Gigi and Bella Hadid. You probably know them as the faces of fashion houses and the faces on magazine covers. The ones who jet set around the world to glamorous photoshoots and post Instagram stories of themselves with teddy bear face filters.

But, they are more than that.

Why is it that when someone is naturally inclined towards playing the piano or building a model rocket, they are applauded for it, but when someone has a talent for modeling, they are dismissed as just a pretty face?

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Let us tell you, modeling is a helluva lot more work than you think it is. It’s standing out in the freezing cold for hours to get the perfect shot. It’s putting on some hip hop music and practicing different expressions in the mirror for hours on end.

It’s essentially creating and embodying an entire character in just one still frame.

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Gigi and Bella are some of the best at it, and we frequently turn to them for both modeling and fashion inspiration (can you guess who was inspired by whom?).

Sure, having a pretty face helps, but not everyone can do it.

There are plenty of beautiful people out there who don’t know the first thing about modeling.

 

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But we do know a few things about it, and it is still a daily challenge for us. If you don’t believe us, just come shoot with us sometime! Or think back to the last time you had photos done and recall that the way you held and moved your body naturally did not look natural on camera.

Modeling is an art, and it’s a skill. And it’s one that deserves your respect.

xoxo, S & H

 

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At Long Last, An Ensemble For You!

 

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We started Ensemble of Elan almost a year ago, and our intention was never for it to be just a blog.

We always wanted to do something more and provide our fans with a tangible way to join in on this experience with us.

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Over the course of 2017, we learned that starting a business takes a lot of trial and error. We began by offering a wardrobe creation service where we helped clients clean out their closets, alter their current clothing items, and find new ones from our original collection. That did not last long, so we then thought about starting a clothing rental service where fellow fashion bloggers could rent clothes for their photoshoots.

 

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Long story short, neither of those ideas turned out to be feasible because they cost too much money & effort, and we could not make it profitable and keep it affordable.

So, we decided to go back to an idea that was simple and relatively inexpensive: an online clothing shop.

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We launched our debut collection last Friday, and we will be releasing new items on a weekly basis. Almost all of the clothes we are wearing in this shoot are from the collection (Save for the metallic coat. We did not have a warm enough coat in our collection for the below freezing temps, so sue me -S).

We hope you love these pieces as much as we do, and please let us know if there is anything else you would like to see in the shop!

Xoxo, S & H

 

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Photography by: The Gray People

Editing by: Hannah Lewter

Hannah’s Wearing:

Ensemble Open Back Sweater (coming soon) | Ensemble Wide Leg Pants (coming soon) | Ensemble Military-Inspired Jacket (coming soon) | Ensemble Metallic Heels (coming soon) | Ensemble Chunky Knit Scarf (coming soon) | Amazon Embroidered Purse | Aldo Classic Sunglasses |

Sabrina’s Wearing:

Ensemble WANG Sweatshirt | Black Tiered Mini Dress | Who What Wear Metallic Puffer Coat | Marc Fisher Ankle Boots (similar) | Zara Crossbody Purse (similar) | Rue21 Cat Eye Sunglasses (similar) | Forever 21 Duster Earrings (similar) |

Happy Holla-Days: Style Tips For The Season

The season of sequins, velvet, and faux fur is upon us, so don’t let this once-a-year opportunity pass you by without unleashing your inner glamazon. Here’s how!

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Go Monochrome

You don’t have to wear a crazy color to make a bold statement this holiday season.

If you are someone who tends to flock to neutral shades, kick those neutrals up a notch with texture and intricate details.

 

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This outfit is all-black, but still maintains visual intrigue with the embroidery on the jacket, the velvet texture of the jacket and pants, and the mesh socks.

Black is (and always has been) the new black.

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Be Extra

If you pick up an oversized sequin blazer at the store and think, “This is too extra,” it probably isn’t extra enough.

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You know how style influencers turn every head in the room when they walk in?

By being extra.

Embrace your love of the extravagant, and you will be sure to have all eyes on you.

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Remember Stay Warm

Don’t make the mistake of putting together a charming dress-and-booties outfit and forgetting to think about your outerwear.

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Take it from an expert, you will freeze to death and not be able to enjoy your outfit at all.

Spring for an on-trend coat, such as one with faux fur, that will make your outfit even more glamorous (and cozy).

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Wear Something You Wouldn’t Otherwise

The holiday season is the time to buy those wide leg, velvet pants that you know you’re probably only going to wear once. Because if those pants are truly amazing, once is enough.

 

 

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The key is to not hold back on that outfit if you have one shot to make it work.

Jazz it up even more with a sparkly mini bag, chandelier earrings, and a plunging top for an unforgettable look.


Hannah’s Wearing:

| Dillard’s Suede Cardigan/Top (similar) | Zara Velvet Wide Leg Pants | Who What Wear Statement Sleeve Blazer | Steve Madden Heels (similar) | Amazon Rhinestone Mini Bag | Amazon Circle Sunglasses (similar) | Old Navy Chandelier Earrings (similar) |

Sabrina’s Wearing:

| Zara Embroidered Velvet Jacket | Target Velvet Joggers | Forever 21 Mesh Bodysuit (similar) | Jessica Simpson Black Pumps (similar) | Lulu’s Mesh Socks | Goodwill White Clutch (similar) | Kohl’s Black and Gold Sunglasses (similar) | Old Navy Earrings (similar) |

Rickei Jackson’s Wearing:

| Lulu’s Mauve Tie-Waist Dress (similar) | Goodwill Sequin Oversized Blazer (similar) | Target Black Ankle Boots (similar) | Express Chandelier Earrings (similar) | Goodwill Cream Handbag (similar) |

Sydney Mullins is Wearing:

| TJ Maxx Metallic Shift Dress (similar) | Banana Republic Bell Sleeve Top (similar) | Who What Wear Faux Fur Coat (similar) | Zara Pearled Ankle Boots | Dollar Jewelry Galore Ear Cuff (similar) | Amazon Embroidered Purse |

 

Photos taken by: Nicole Morgan

Edited by: Hannah Lewter

Layer Your Way to the Best Winter Ever

Falling snow, freezing temperatures, waking up to ice on your windshield, what’s not to love about winter? (Alright, we get it.)

BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the cold a little as you count down the days until spring. How, you ask? By expertly layering your clothes.

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Most people hate the cold, but I love it.

I can’t get enough of the glistening Christmas lights and winter accessories that make their first appearance right about now. Yet, I would be lying if I said I loved everything about winter. I am not a fan of the the unpredictable weather of Arkansas, nor do I love when it gets dark so early in the day. It makes it almost impossible to gather the strength to leave my warm, comfortable bed every morning.

 

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The best way I have found to face the winter cold with a smile on my face is to layer it up. I personally tend to stick to mostly neutral hues with an occasional pop of color, and I add visual interest by mixing different textures and patterns. But if you like to inject more color into your winter wardrobe, feel free to mix and match classic and unexpected color combos to your heart’s content.

One last thing to keep in mind: in places like Arkansas, the temperature can go from 30 degrees in the morning to 60 in the afternoon, so wear layers underneath that are stylish. That way, you can peel off layers if you get warm and still feel fashion forward!

-H

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I love a good sweater/jeans/ankle boots outfit as much as the next girl, but after months of wearing almost exclusively that one outfit formula, it can start to feel a little drab. Considering we still have at least two more months of sweater weather ahead of us, I had to find a way to make my ensembles a little more interesting.

One of my favorite ways to breathe new life into a sweater is to layer it with a dress. For this outfit, I layered a fitted turtleneck under my favorite LBD, but I also love layering a sweater over a dress to make it feel like a skirt. This is the perfect solution for all of you ladies who are not sure how to wear a dress in December without freezing to death!

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Finally, don’t put yourself in a box when it comes to layering. Style your ankle boots with long socks to get that layered feel and keep your legs toasty. Layer the hood of your sweatshirt over your beanie for some modern, skater-inspired vibes. The more you layer, the warmer (and snazzier) you will be.

-S

Sabrina’s Wearing:

| Goodwill Metallic Turtleneck Sweater (similar) | H&M Black Mesh Midi Dress | Monroe Velvet and Sherpa Moto Jacket (similar) | Lulu’s Studded Ankle Boots | Target Embroidered Purse (similar) | H&M Rose Gold Necklace |

Hannah’s Wearing:

| Dillards Gray Knit Sweater (similar) | Old Navy Striped Button Down | Goodwill Ombre Coat (similar) | Goodwill White Boyfriend Jeans (similar) | Marc Fisher Block Heel Ankle Boots (similar) | Old Navy Layered Necklace (similar) | Old Navy Mixed Metal Hoop Earrings (similar) | Goodwill Black Leather Crossbody Purse (similar) |

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Us

We really try to put ourselves out there with this blog, but it’s impossible to share absolutely everything about ourselves and still make it align with our creative vision. So for all of our loyal followers, we thought we’d share some insight so all of you can get to know us a little better on a personal level!

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If you didn’t already know, I have three sisters who are twenty-three, nine, and five years old (the estrogennnnnn- I know). Although I’m such a city girl, I love to go camping and hiking; my favorite smell is actually pine trees, I cannot get enough of it! Even though I don’t show it in most of my photos, I wear glasses so I can see the board in class and drive without killing myself and others. My favorite drink is Cream Soda, and my favorite candy is literally anything sour (but best of all is Juicy Drops, a rare gem found at only the most elite gas stations).

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I do not have a dog of my own, but I have become Max’s Godmother over the years, so he is basically my own.

And to get a little bit more personal, I never thought I had the skills or the determination to run a fashion blog, be a fashion photographer, or put on a freaking fashion show, but I’m glad I learned that about myself through Ensemble of Elan.

I’m excited to see the other things we’ll learn along the way.

-H

 

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Aside from this blog post, if you go back through all of our previous ones, you will notice that I almost NEVER wear necklaces. I think I literally own three necklaces: one silver, one gold, one rose gold. I’m a clothing maximalist, but definitely more of a jewelry minimalist.

This was one of my absolute favorite shoots because I got to do it with my favorite little potato. Many of you have seen Max featured on our Instagram page, and some of you were lucky enough to meet him at our model fittings for the fashion show. If you are confused as to why we call him Glarf, it’s because when my boyfriend and I first adopted him, he had severe heartworms and would make this noise that sounded like “glarf.” The name stuck because of how well it matched his personality, and now we call him Glarf, Glarf-tato, Glarfity, what have you. (You would just have to meet him to understand his Glarfiness.)

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Last but not least, when I’m not shopping, styling people, or studying (which I should definitely be doing right now), you can find me planning elaborate future vacations down to the most minute details, cozying up on the sofa watching any TV show created by bonafide genius Michael Schur (Parks & Rec, Brooklyn 99, The Office), or stalking my personal idols, Karlie Kloss and Gal Gadot, on Instagram.

-S

 

 

 

One last thing that most people don’t know is that we almost always take our own photos for the posts! Unless you see “Photography by __________”, we did all of those photos ourselves. 😉

Hannah’s Wearing:

| TJ Maxx Ruffle Sleeve Sweater (similar) | Dillards Suede Mini Skirt (similar) | Old Navy Sherpa Bomber Jacket | Target Patent Oxfords | Goodwill Mini Backpack (similar) | Old Navy Earrings (similar) | Old Navy Layered Necklace (similar) |

Sabrina’s Wearing:

| Forever 21 Pinstripe Overalls | Forever 21 Off-the-Shoulder Sweater (similar) | Target Newsboy Cap | Karl Lagerfeld Lace Up Block Heels (similar) | Forever 21 Metallic Choker | Forever 21 Bar Ear Jackets | Amazon Floral Embroidered Purse |

Maximalists Unite: Color & Pattern Mixing Edition

You always hear about minimalism with its capsule wardrobes and neutral color scheme, but what about maximalism? The philosophy behind it is that ‘more is more’ (as opposed to ‘less is more’), so we teamed up with the queen of color and pattern, Georgie McCarthy of The Style Transplant, to bring you our favorite maximalist looks.

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Sabrina always gets mad at me because I love black. I love to pair black on black. It’s so chic and minimalist, but Sabrina always reminds me that it just looks so flat, so I have (begrudgingly) started incorporating more color into my wardrobe.
The color red has always been an emblematic one for fashion, from Cindy Crawford’s 1991 plunging Versace gown at the Oscars or Bella Hadid’s sexy silky red dress with a startlingly high slit. It’s fierce, rebellious, and definitely not a color for the faint of heart.

When it comes to making a statement, red is the quintessential declaration of female power.

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For my look, I played with an analogous color scheme (colors that blend well because they are closely related). I paired my cherry red midi skirt with a dark maroon cropped sweater, then I used a black leather jacket and black patent booties to balance out the red. You can find unique color combinations by simply matching colors to their neighbors on the wheel! All in all, don’t be afraid to play with color, even if you’re more of a neutral clothing lover like me.

-H

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Pattern mixing is all about having fun and pushing your creative and personal style boundaries.

I use pattern mixing as a way to drive myself and my style to an unexpected and more playful place. You really have to think more consciously about putting two patterned pieces together, as opposed to the ease of a plain t-shirt with black jeans.

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My favorite way to mix patterns, whether it’s in my artwork or in my personal styling, is to combine florals–like my blazer–with more geometric prints like stripes, plaid, or gingham–like my skirt. This makes for a surprising juxtaposition of which not many people would conceive. For fall pattern mixing, in particular, I recommend playing with those dark florals and autumnal plaids, for an unexpected fall twist.

-Georgie McCarthy, Fashion Blogger

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I’ll admit, I’m still a pattern-mixing novice. I most frequently stick to neutral, solid-colored clothes with an occasional splash of pink or red thrown in. But, I’m really trying to branch out of my comfort zone and incorporate more pattern mixing into my looks because the bloggers and influencers I admire most are the ones who can flawlessly make two entirely different prints look they are a match made in heaven.
Georgie is definitely one of those bloggers. I was inspired to buy this multi-color floral pattern shirt because I’ve spent the last couple months admiring how she melds color and pattern together to create outfit masterpieces.

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The best pattern-mixing looks effortless, but you can only get to that level through trial and error.

I tried this shirt with plaid trousers, a striped mini skirt, and red embroidered trousers before I settled on this cropped pinstriped pair of pants. If you are trying to freshen up your wardrobe by mixing patterns, don’t be afraid to try multiple outfit combinations until you find the one that feels just right. (Trust me, you’ll know it when you feel it.)

-S

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Sabrina’s Wearing:
| Zara Floral Top (similar) | Goodwill Pinstripe Cropped Pants (similar) | MIA White Ankle Boots (similar) | Zara Quilted Purse with Lions Detail (similar) | Daisy Chain Geometric Sunglasses (similar) | Banana Republic Duster Earrings (similar) |

Hannah’s Wearing:

| Goodwill Plum Cropped Sweater (similar) | Goodwill Red Midi Skirt (similar) | TJ Maxx Patent Leather Ankle Boots (similar) | Target Embroidered Purse (similar) | cle Sunglasses (similar) |

Georgie’s Wearing:
| Banana Republic Floral Blazer (similar) | Target Turtleneck Sweater | Topshop Gingham Skirt (similar) | Steve Madden Over the Knee Boots | Etsy Monogram Necklace (similar) | Fiorelli Powder Blue Backpack (similar) |

Also, be sure to head over to The Style Transplant to check out Georgie’s take on the collaboration, where we discuss the benefits of the blogging community!