How to Reach Your (Maxi)mum Style Potential

ensembleofelan-5866The maxi dress is a tricky one to conquer. Sure, you can just throw one on with a pair of heels and be done with it, but if you style it the same way every time you wear it, you are going to grow tired of that dress (and we can’t have that!).

The key to unlocking the full potential of your favorite maxi dress is learning how to style it in multiple ways so that it doesn’t feel like you are wearing the exact same outfit over and over again. How, you ask?


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Cinch It With a Belt
A loose-fitting maxi dress is a staple you can always feel confident in, no matter if you are feeling fit as a fiddle or a little bloated.
For those times when you want to show off your rockin’ bod, cinch your dress with a trendy belt to accentuate your waistline.

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Add a Cozy Sweater

Layering on a sweater is one of our signature tips for making a dress feel like new, and this holds true for maxi dresses too!

Changing how the top of your dress looks makes that piece feel like a chic, brand-new maxi skirt.

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Make It Office-Friendly
Not sure how to style your maxi for your 9-5? It’s simple: add other pieces that you already wear to the office.
This can be a plaid blazer, a button-down layered underneath, or your favorite pumps.

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Top It Off With Great Accessories

People say, “I love a good dress because it’s already an entire outfit!”, but we believe an outfit is never truly complete without the perfect accessories.

If your maxi is a neutral color (or even if it’s not), liven it up with a velvet or faux fur crossbody bag plus a pair of statement ankle boots.

Hannah’s Wearing:

| Goodwill Cream Sweater (similar) | Dillard’s Strappy Heels (similar) | Banana Republic Wide Brim Hat | Old Navy Suede Moto Jacket | Goodwill Multicolor Faux Fur Purse (similar) | Old Navy Statement Earrings (similar) | Amazon Round Sunglasses |

Sabrina’s Wearing:

| Who What Wear Collection Black Maxi Dress (similar) | Forever 21 Plaid Blazer | Gucci Lookalike Belt | MIA White Ankle Boots (similar) | Amazon Velvet Purse | Amazon Cat Eye Sunglasses |

Photos by: Durrell Green

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Winter Outfit Ideas That Are Anything But Dreary

 

Are you in a winter fashion rut? (Don’t fret, it happens to the best of us.)

By the time mid-January rolls around and you’ve exhausted the number of sweater and jeans combinations you can throw together, what on earth are you supposed to wear and feel amazing in?

We’ve got you.

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Throw in a Pop of Color

 

Many people tend to gravitate towards neutrals in the wintertime, but you don’t have to wait until spring to start rocking your favorite hues! 

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Pull that brightly colored sweater out of your closet and wear it with pride.

Lavender is Pantone’s color of the year, so you might want to get a head start by wearing this shade before you start seeing it everywhere.

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Wear Something Metallic

 

Yeah, yeah, we know you’re wondering how we can consider an almost entirely gray outfit to be “fun”, but let us prove it to you.

 

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The key here is adding something metallic, like these sneakers.

The eye-catching metallic combined with the on-trend plaid trousers and an edgy beanie makes this look unconventionally exciting.

 

 

 

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Rock Your Spring-iest Embroidery

 

Embroidery has been going strong for a while now, and it isn’t poised to slow down anytime soon.

 

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So, look forward to spring by wearing your favorite embroidered pieces now!

A pair of embroidered booties or an embroidered leather jacket adds a fresh touch to any outfit (and will remind you that spring isn’t far away!)

XOXO,

S & H

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Sabrina’s Wearing:

| H&M Embroidered Top (similar) | H&M Camel Cardigan | H&M Gray Duster Coat (similar) | Goodwill Plaid Trousers (similar) | Dolce Vita Metallic Sneakers | Zara Crossbody Purse (similar) | Target Knit Beanie (similar) | Rue21 Circle Sunglasses (similar) |

Hannah’s Wearing:

| TJ Maxx Off-the-Shoulder Lavender Sweater (similar) | H&M Black Jeggings | Who What Wear Collection Puffer Coat | Dillards Embroidered Ankle Boots (similar) | Amazon Embroidered Purse | Aldo Classic Sunglasses (similar) | Amazon Abstract Earrings |

T’Neria Ransom’s Wearing

| Goodwill Lavender Sweater (similar) | Goodwill Knit Pencil Skirt (similar) | Monroe Velvet & Sherpa Jacket (similar) | Amazon Embroidered Ankle Boots (similar) | Goodwill Leather Purse (similar) | Kohl’s Gold Sunglasses (similar) |

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

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) |