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Leslie Haynes

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I've done something brave or scary or thrilling that puts me back in my body and fills my spirit--like thriving on a tough, five-day kayaking trip in the Baja or stopping a bully right in the act or having an important but hard conversation with loved ones.

2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?

I do. I tend to notice women who have a grace of motion and who are artful yet relaxed about their look and being.

3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?

Fearless. Accepting. Quirky. Colorful. Authentic.

4. Was there a moment in your life when something “clicked” for you about fashion or dressing or make-up or hair? What? Why did it happen then, do you think?

I moved from British Columbia to the Deep South and participated in a local beauty paegant at age 15--Miss Panacea, I kid you not--it was the first time I got a really fancy dress. I found a soft apricot sheath that has ruined me for any other long gown.

5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?

You can always find something better at a consignment store.

6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?

More fabric, more better. Let it flow. Make sure you can run. You are a better person if your feet don't hurt. All black almost all the time.

7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?

With a stylist friend who revealed her own struggle with identity

8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.

If it's authentic and kind, do it.

9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?

I'm always looking for that perfect black t-shirt.

10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?

Oh yes. I give things away all the time. Sometimes I see a piece at a great price and I get it thinking that eventually I'll find the right owner for it.

11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why? 

Fast fashion. All of it. It is bad for the earth and for us and for the poorly paid apparel makers who work in dangerous conditions to churn out cheap, expendable pieces.

12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?

She's a trim little Scot. And so am I. She is effortlessly beautiful. She doesn't overthink what she wears.

13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?

I have a mentor who is Northern California chic with a touch of bohemian. When I grow up, I want to look like her.

14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?

The shift to the South. And a battle with anorexia right at puberty. Oh my.

15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?

I like to be covered.

16. Please describe your body.

Compact. Curvy. Strong.

17. Please describe your mind.

Complex. Associative. Generous.

18. Please describe your emotions.


19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?

I've twisted my long hair up and secured it with a small paint brush. I have an oversized brindle sweater that double as a blanket under which I wear comfortable not-too-skinny jeans.

20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?

It's about identity. And freedom. And reclamation.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

My friends, my sisters, my mother.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

Work can be a buzz kill and office culture, in general.

23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?

Taste seems elitist. I have developed style where the artistic and the homespun meet the architectural.

24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?

Yes. So many times. But then I gave those things away and felt so much better.

25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?

We should never feel that we're tricking ourselves.

26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?

Sure. Food. Writing. Poetry. Music.

27. Can you recall some times when you have dressed a particular way to calm yourself or gain a sense of control over a situation that scared you?

Some days, it's all about protective covering.

28. Would you say you “know what you like” in the area of fashion and clothing? If so, do you also know what you like in other areas of life, that is, are you generally good at discernment? Can you say where your discernment comes from, if you have it? Or if you don’t have it, why or why not?

I think so. It's been hard one. Trial and error gets you there. And openness to feedback.

29. Did your parents teach you things about clothing, care for your clothing, dressing or style? What lessons do you remember? Or did you just pick things up?

I was the youngest of four girls, so I got a lot of hand me downs. Mostly I picked up ideas from women and men I liked.

What’s your birth date? 
Where were you born and where do you live now?


Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.

Canadian WASP

What kind of work do you do?

Social justice

Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?


Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.

Trying to reform the fashion world

How do you feel after filling out this survey?



I was born in British Columbia and came of age in the Deep South. My always-adventurous father was in the habit of saying to his four daughters and wife, “Hey, girls, how’d you like to move to ______?” That sentence always ended with his most recent travel quest. We were a bit stunned when Alabama actually stuck, and we moved from one end of the continent to the other. He had two laser-like goals: to fulfill his promise of putting his four daughters through college and to run the best, first racially-integrated medical clinic in Perry County, Alabama.

I stayed in the South to study and then headed to the Berkshires to teach struggling students at a quirky boarding school. I have drifted from the classroom but always focused on education initiatives for students with considerable barriers to success. In the past two decades, I’ve worked with big foundations, governmental departments, and school developers on major reform strategies, all aimed at helping students prep for and succeed at college and in careers.

I am most proud of the work I’ve done with my husband to form a nonprofit focused on issues of access here in our adopted hometown of Seattle. We Will Find a Way works with businesses to eliminate physical barriers for people with limited mobility.

My muses have always been teachers. I come from a long line of them. Tough teachers. Dedicated teachers. Teachers who put the needs of their students first. It is a rare and wonderful thing to watch a master teacher work, and I have had the good fortune of being taught by many. I see myself as just trying to return the favor.

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