Leesa Evans

Leesa Evans

by Melissa Magsaysay

The costume designer and personal stylist dresses her movie characters and clients with a brilliant philosophy that everyone should abide by.

If there was anyone who could claim the title, “Fashion Psychologist” it’s veteran costume designer and stylist, Leesa Evans.

Evans has created the look of the characters in films like, Bridesmaids, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Trainwreck and Zoolander 2 and also has a list of longtime personal styling clients who she dresses for all aspect of their lives, be that running errands or hitting the red carpet.

Plus Size Designer Fashion Leesa Evans
Leesa Evans Costume Designer work on the Set of Bridesmaids.

Evans approaches dressing her clients with the same simple, but astoundingly effective philosophy; to find the right shape and silhouette for the body so a person feels their best and most confident.

She focuses on proportion and the positive emotion that clothing and style can give us. Case in point: one of the first questions Evans asks any client is, “what is the last thing you wore that you felt really good in?” Her goal then is to re-create that feeling of confidence and happiness in anything she has them wear, whether that’s gym clothes or a ball gown.

Dressing to feel good is a philosophy that has set Evans apart and put her on top in an industry often focused solely on size, trends and labels.

Her most notable client is actress and comedian, Amy Schumer, whom she has been working with for several years, arguably upping the Trainwreck star’s sartorial game to include Alexander Wang and Zac Posen on the steps ascending the Met Ball and Miu Miu and Valentino for multiple movie premiers and appearances.

Evans can also find Schumer the perfect alternative to the comedian’s beloved sweatpants or the t-shirt she wears while traveling. It may sound like a practical “high-low” approach, but it’s way beyond that.

It’s also a method that helped the stylist personally when battling thyroid cancer in her mid-30s and experiencing changes in her own size and shape.

“I had to understand that what was best for my health was going to be a bit complicated in terms of being able to get my weight back to where I was before this.” Says Evans of the cancer treatment that put her in a constant state of hypothyroid. “I had to figure out how to get back to the “me” that was extremely confident whether I was in jeans and T-shirt or something very stylized. How could I feel effortless and figure out the shapes that make me feel good and get dressed with ease in the morning.”

Plus Size Designer Fashion Leesa Evans
Leesa Evans costumes for Zoolander 2

Not only has Evans cracked the sartorial code for herself but also for the hundreds of men and women she dresses regularly. Also, through StyleFund, the organization she started with Schumer 2 years ago, she is able to bring her philosophy and work to even more people by holding events with charitable causes and implementing her method within the retail force.

Here, Evans discusses why fashion is always about feeling good first.

Plus Size Designer Fashion Leesa Evans
Costume Designer Leesa Evans.

Q & A With Leesa

You have such an amazing philosophy to getting dressed; describe the general approach you take.

My philosophy of how to get to get dressed does a lot away with a lot of the uncertainty and scrutiny associated with fashion and size and puts the focus on our best attributes. Proportion is everything. I’m thinking way beyond numbers because it’s my own best attribute as a stylist that I can see proportion, so I think I use it more than anything else.

I always say it’s shape first and color and fabric second and third. The number can vary. It’s really profound when you find a shape that evokes an emotion, when you put on a pair of pants and think, “these feel good!” I always tell clients to try a piece on and see how you feel, then look in the mirror, that’s how to see if this piece is supporting you from a psychological standpoint.

Why do you think you’ve taken such an individual approach to styling?

I’m trying to do it differently because I needed to do it differently for myself, so I understood it on a more personal level. Up until mid to late 30s I had it pretty easy when it came to fashion, because I loved fashion and always felt confident in what I wore and didn’t stress too much. From 19 to 36-years old, I never really went up and down in size and was very accustomed to myself. That came to a screeching halt in how I felt and how I understood things on a deeper level both personally and professionally.

I think it was a silver lining for me, I was appreciative of the fact that I was able to get well again and realized that first and foremost I’ve gotta get dressed and go to work. I love my job and realized I could also be of service and of assistance to other people and really understand how style can be powerful.

We all have to get dressed and we should be dressed in a way we can get through the day feeling powerful and capable. Clothing is a support to us to we can rise up and meet our own expectations and beyond. Not everyone has the gift of style and to make clients understand and approach fashion from a more individual perspective is what is most liberating for people.

You talk a lot about proportion. Why is it so important?

Proportion is everything. I know about proportion because I’ve been different sizes in my life. I have things in my closet that fit me from size 8 to 10 that all work proportionally on me. It’s all about proportion. You can take two people who are both 5’7” one wears a 6 and another a 10, their height and weight is same, but they are different sizes because one is busty and the other is petite but with hips.

There are a lot of proportional issues that need to be just looked at as a whole when it comes to how designers make clothes in various sizes and I wish they could be looked at from the very biggest to the very smallest size with the same care and thought for every woman.


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