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The celebrity stylist who dresses clients from workout to red carpet

(Photo: Leesa Evans)
(Photo: Leesa Evans)
(Photo: Leesa Evans)

It’s rare to meet a stylist whose main concern isn’t designer labels. But celebrity stylist and costume designer Leesa Evans takes a much more wellness-based approach to her business.

“I really see getting dressed everyday as a wellness issue because it’s about your mental state,” Evans explains. “I don’t talk about designers, I find out what clients feel good in and what inspires them. Then I know which designers to go to.” And she’s shopping for a whole wardrobe, which means everything from Lucas Hugh to Lanvin, mind you.

Evans is primarily based in Los Angeles and has been a stylist for the past 25 years. She splits her time between private styling and film (her most recent work was on 22 Jump Street, Neighbors, and the forthcoming Trainwreck). Outside of making other people feel great, she’s no stranger to the wellness lifestyle.

“I do a seven-day juice cleanse twice-a-year, go to Modo Yoga at least three-days-a-week, and am gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free,” she says. (We’re guessing that means she takes food to work rather than hitting up the craft services table.)

Read on to learn more about Evans’ wellness approach to styling, and what it’s like to dress celebrity clients for their workouts.

How did you fine tune your approach to styling? It started with me. I started to notice that when I felt best was in my go-to lucky dress. I asked myself, “Why is that so comfortable for me?” I started to associate that good feeling with certain shapes and certain silhouettes. I felt more joyful and effortless about getting dressed.

How does your approach to styling intersect with wellness? I like to say my approach is “psychology of dressing.” The very first question I ask clients is, “When was the last time you wore something you felt great in?” I don’t talk about designers, I find out what clients feel good in and what inspires them. Then I know which designers to go to. I want fashion to be a world that doesn’t feel intimidating—I want it to be a from of art that you would actually want to use.

(Photo: Bridesmaids)
(Photo: Bridesmaids)

How many of the films that you’ve done have fitness scenes? There’s kind of always some aspect of fitness in most of the films I’ve done. I think it’s because fitness is so much a part of everyday life—especially now. We know that fitness is a mandatory part of life—so there’s definitely been an increase in those scenes over the past few years.

What’s it like dressing actors for workouts in film? You want to build the character. In the beginning of Bridesmaids,  Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph go to this boot camp in the park and do it behind the trees without paying. That was really about finding the sort of the workout clothes that they dusted off and got back out again from when they were in college. In This Is 40,  there’s a scene with Leslie Mann and Jason Segal, who plays her personal trainer, and she was wearing Lululemon. You immediately knew that she was a housewife, and she has a trainer so she takes it very seriously.

(Photo: This Is 40)
(Photo: This Is 40)

What’s different about dressing private clients in fitness fashion? First off, I shop for fitness clothes for all of my clients. I don’t know any clients without a regular workout regimen. When I go into do someone’s closet, I do everything from workout to red carpet and everything in between. For all of it, really the most important part is feeling good in what you’re wearing. With fitness fashion, it’s especially important, because you’re working out in it, so it can totally affect your workout. If you feel good, you smile more, you stand up straighter, and you get a hopeful and powerful feeling.

Has a client ever insisted on wearing something you didn’t like? I did have a funny situation with one actor. He’d go to yoga everyday, and he just had his own take on crazy yoga get-ups. He’d get photographed constantly and people would comment on how crazy he looked. But it was really charming because sometimes our individuality is more important than whether or not it’s a great outfit. —Jamie McKillop

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