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Elegance comes to the Oil Patch: New store opens in Prairie Hills Mall

Chicago area-native Stephanie EarlSmith is bringing high fashion to the Oil Patch.

EarlSmith opened Image of Elegance in the Prairie Hills Mall on June 30.

"It's a good thing for sure," Blue Hawk Audio Video Manager Jade Foss said. "To have more independently owned businesses coming to the mall."

The small store front on the north end of the mall will not only house her retail operation, but also her consulting and makeup businesses as well.

"I'm always looking for new, different, better things," EarlSmith said. "I like quality; I don't like a whole lot of quantity."

The store will carry bags and clothing from her favorite designers like Michael Kors, Coach and Cynthia Rowley.

Designer clothing might cost more than pieces from the clearance rack, but they will last much longer, EarlSmith said.

"The quality of it is that you won't have to buy a purse for a long time," she said. "That's the best part."

Fit, both body and personality, is an important part of fashion, EarlSmith said.

"You want things to fit you," she said. "I'll sit and talk and try to understand the person's personality, the type of job they have."

If an item doesn't fit properly, EarlSmith is honest with her clients about it.

"I'm not going to sell you that dress, I don't care if you can still get in it," she said. "I'm going to tell you the truth. That's not exactly how it's supposed to look."

EarlSmith works at Kmart and plans to continue working there, along with running Image of Elegance.

EarlSmith has been doing this for 20-plus years, she said.

After visiting North Dakota with her fiancé, a Bismarck native, in 2007, EarlSmith fell in love with the Badlands and the prairies, she said. She made the move in 2010 after wrapping up a political career in Illinois.

Faith is a large part of her life, EarlSmith said. She found a church she loves in Dickinson.

"I can't leave even if I wanted to go because I feel like I'm attached to that church," she said.

Her political career may not be over, and EarlSmith may run for office here, she said.

In Illinois she advocated for children and the elderly, and would do the same in North Dakota if she were to run for office, she said.

Even though she grew up in the Chicago suburbs, EarlSmith said North Dakota is the place for her.

"I think I'm a country person because I really love that stuff," she said. "I love the horses and cows."

Messages left for Prairies Hills Mall Manager Peggy O'Brien were not returned by 8 p.m. Monday.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
(701) 456-1206