Moving Up

ensembleofelan-8344

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.

ensembleofelan-8530

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

ensembleofelan-8838

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.

ensembleofelan-8478

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

Advertisements

Falling in Love With Clothing Again

Do you remember how you felt as a teenager after you tried on a million prom dresses and finally found one that gave you goosebumps?

If you are anything like us, you probably took it out of its garment bag and tried it on at least two or three more times before prom night because you simply could not wait to wear it until then.

It was a magical feeling that most of us can still remember.IMG_2771People used to have that kind of emotional connection with a lot more pieces in their wardrobes, but many of us have lost that. We buy the same, boring button-down shirt in three different colors because it works for the office, and we don’t want to have to put in the effort to find three amazing, unique tops instead.

This is precisely why we as a society have accepted fast fashion. We’re perfectly content with finding clothes that are kind of cute and that we can wear two or three times before the seams start coming apart and the appliqués start falling off because we honestly don’t care enough about them to want to wear them year after year.

But, it’s time to bring back the emotional connection to clothing because without it, we are losing out on some of the greatest benefits that fashion has to offer us.

IMG_2709

IMG_2751

 

 

I know there are a lot of people out there who love services like Stitch Fix, where a personal stylist selects clothes for them based on their style preferences. This service is great for those who don’t have time/don’t enjoy shopping, but I personally do not think you can develop that same attachment to something if you do not pick it out yourself.

This is big part of the reason why I develop more of a connection to clothing items that I purchase myself, rather than those I receive as gifts from friends or family members. I truly do appreciate that someone else has put the time and effort into choosing a dress or pair of shoes they think I’ll like, but even when I do like it, I don’t fall in love with it in the same way I would have if I had found it myself.

 

So, use Stitch Fix for everyday wear if you like, but if you have a big event coming up that you are really looking forward to, I urge you to go out, do the old-fashioned thing, and find a dress or an outfit yourself.

The joy of discovery leads to a deeper connection with that piece of clothing, and you’ll be more likely to wear it again and again.

-S

 

There are not a lot of times I can find a print or a pattern that works for me, but when I saw this dress online at Lulu’s, it was love at first sight. This print was minimal, chic, and two of my favorite colors. I was motivated to widen my wardrobe and find more prints that I adore because of the designer, Dom Streater, who was a Project Runway winner.

IMG_2791

 

What inspires me about Dom is that she creates her textile designs based on her own paintings, and you can see her constant love affair with prints come through in her clothing pieces. Dom took a lot of risks during her season by using prints in every challenge (even the million dollar runway challenge!), but because she continually made clothes that she personally loved and never compromised her design or aesthetic, she prevailed and won her season.

Even though I’m not quite as much of a prints person, I want to try to be more like Dom by not being afraid to take a risk and always wearing pieces that I’m emotionally attached to instead of ones that I merely ‘like’.

-H

 

You are probably tired of hearing this by now, but we’ll say it again anyways because it’s important: Clothing is how we show the world who we are inside.

How are we supposed to do that if we do not care about what we buy or what we put on our bodies?

Treating clothes as if they’re disposable not only harms the environment and contributes to unethical labor practices in developing countries, but it also dilutes this crucial form of personal expression.

There is a famous quote that reads,

“Life is too short to wear boring clothes,”

but we’d like to amend that to say,

“Life is too short to wear clothes you don’t love.”IMG_2896Sabrina’s Outfit Details

Dress: Target
Button Down Shirt: Goodwill
Ankle Boots: Lulu’s
Sunglasses: TJ Maxx
Earrings: Jeweller in India
Purse: Aldo
Hannah’s Outfit Details
Dress: Lulu’s
Bralette: Aerie
Ankle Boots: Lulu’s
Choker: Rue21
Earrings: Amazon
Hat: Target
Sunglasses: Eyeglass Direct

Nothing To Be Ashamed Of

“…The enemy is not lipstick but guilt itself;
we deserve lipstick if we want it and free speech;
we deserve to be sexual and serious or whatever we please.”
Naomi Wolf
DSC_2212 2

Its funny how a lot of people want to encourage body positivity, but also support dress codes.

Dress codes in schools, and sometimes even workplaces, excessively lean towards restricting what girls and women wear, not boys and men.

Are we seriously surprised that sending girls home for wearing spaghetti strap tank tops or shorts that hit more than two inches above the knees results in low self-confidence and body dysmorphia?

Are we shocked that reproaching women who wear anything but shapeless suits to the office results in victim-blaming in sexual assault cases because people think the woman was “asking for it” by wearing a mini skirt?

These dress codes reinforce the idea that the female form is something to be ashamed of,and that it is the woman’s job to cover herself up as to not be distracting to men and boys.

We get that we need to dress appropriately for different situations,like not wearing a strapless dress to the office,or a pair of underwear-length shorts to school,but most articles of clothing (like leggings) should not be any cause for concern.

DSC_2026 2

 

 

I remember the first time I got sent home from school for a dress code violation. I had on my favorite a-line, red and white floral dress,white tights, and flats, so I was incredibly confused when my teacher sent me to the principal who told me my dress was an inch too short.

I didn’t understand then why that necessitated me being pulled from my class for two hours and feeling humiliated upon my return in a different outfit,and I still don’t understand now. If the point of school is to learn,the point of dress codes is to not distract from learning,yet we’re yanking female students from their classrooms for hours at a time due to dress code violations,aren’t dress codes completely illogical?

DSC_2178 2I was six years old when that happened to me,and obviously I didn’t think about the “appropriateness” of the length(it went to mid-thigh, by the way). I wore it because I loved it and it never crossed my mind that was inappropriate for school(it wasn’t).

Covering up her body is not something a six year old should be forced to think about,but so many of them have to.

Every single day.
-S
DSC_2172 2
DSC_2099 2

So many of us struggle with feeling comfortable in our own skin, but we forget that the longest relationship we will ever have is the one we have with ourselves. If you are not happy with who you are, it makes it impossible to be happy in any other area of your life.

 For a long time, I didn’t feel like myself when I interacted with people,and that projection of myself changed depending on who I was with. One day, it clicked that I don’t have to project a different “version” of myself every time I talked to someone new.

I just needed to be who I am.

DSC_2231 2This realization came after I went to college and was allowed to live–and dress–as I pleased. Its no coincidence that having creative freedom allowed me to explore and accept my true self. I can wear pajamas or a cocktail dress to class if I want to (I don’t), but knowing that I am free–and encouraged–to be myself has given me the confidence to fully express who I am,no matter the situation. I’m proud of myself and my body,and I think I probably would have gained that confidence sooner had I not been subject to a strict set of ridiculous rules when I was growing up.

If we want to cultivate a generation of strong women for the future, all girls should have the freedom to express themselves while they’re young.

-H

As you get comfortable in your own skin, you dare to try things that are out of your comfort zone. Branching out is how you grow as a person, and girls and women should not have to wait until after high school or the weekends to do so.

Loving yourself for who you are and having the confidence to show that to the world is a huge step in life, and particularly in fashion.

Before we were given the freedom to express ourselves, we mostly stuck to clothes that were neither risky nor risque. Getting comfortable in our own skin was a phase of fashionability that we recently went through, and we’ve emerged more stylish and more ourselves than ever before.

DSC_2150 2
“When you send a girl home from school because her shorts are too short or her clothes are immodest, you are telling her that hiding her body is more important than her education. You are telling her that making sure the boys have a distraction-free learning environment is more important than her education.In a way, you’re telling her that the boys are more entitled to an education than she is, and that isn’t acceptable.”
DSC_2247 2
Hannah’s Outfit Details
Top: Forever 21
Bralette: Victoria’s Secret
Cardigan: Target
Jeans: American Eagle
Heels: Goodwill
Sunglasses: EyeGlasses Direct
Earrings: Dillards
Sabrina’s Outfit Details
Top: Zara
Jeans: Zara
Shoes: Impressions Boutique
Earrings: Gift
Sunglasses: TJ Maxx
Photos by: Demetrius McCullough