This week’s style diary is about the spiritual and kindhearted Leesa Rowland. The actress and the author of “Discovering the It Factor Within You,” which helps people find their inner peace, enhance their happiness, and develop charisma, is mostly known on the New York society scene as an animal rights advocate. She founded the New York nonprofit animal welfare organization Animal Ashram, which is dedicated to helping homeless, neglected, and abused animals of all species. Animal Ashram will hold its holiday soiree at Paul’s Casablanca in the West Village on Dec. 13 to collect toys, treats, and other donations to benefit the shelter animals in New York City. Leesa Rowland shares with us her perspective on style in this week’s style diary.
Sibylle Eschapasse: Describe your style?
Leesa Rowland: My style is polished and classic with a fun, flirtatious flair.
Ms. Eschapasse: If a close friend were to describe your personality in three words, what would they be?
Ms. Rowland: Loyal, enthusiastic, and compassionate.
Ms. Eschapasse: How has your style evolved since you were a teenager?
Ms. Rowland: My mother taught my sister and me to go through fashion magazines, decide which of the various outfits we liked, and draw up a rendition of what we’d like to wear that evening. She would help us with cutting out a pattern, and we would pair it up with some gorgeous fabric and have something amazing and one-of-a-kind to wear that evening. I dressed edgier when I was younger. My style has become much more sophisticated, less trendy, and much more unique.
Ms. Eschapasse: What is the wildest thing you have ever worn?
Ms. Rowland: The wildest outfits I’ve worn were actually very on trend, and I didn’t find them wild at the time … just trendy.
Ms. Eschapasse: How do you dress on workdays versus weekends?
Ms. Rowland: I dress a bit more understated in the workplace, but I still like to weave a little unexpected fun into my outfits no matter where I go.
Ms. Eschapasse: What are three accessories you can’t live without, and what’s one item that makes you instantly more confident?
Ms. Rowland: I love my black Stella McCartney heels, Chanel drop earrings, and my vegan thigh-high boots. I have a crisp, well-tailored Valentino white cotton button-down shirt that always makes me feel confident.
Ms. Eschapasse: Who have been your greatest fashion influences?
Ms. Rowland: I love Valentino, Armani, Kate Spade, Chanel, Lilly Pulitzer, Tom Ford, Lanvin, and Stella McCartney.
Ms. Eschapasse: Who is your style icon?
Ms. Rowland: My style icon would be Princess Diana. She always wore clothes tailored to the event she was attending. She looked stylish in blue jeans because it matched the occasion.
Ms. Eschapasse: What does having style mean to you? In other words, please define style.
Ms. Rowland: Style can be in the way you fashion yourself, but it’s really in the way you put yourself together.
Ms. Eschapasse: What is one purchase you’re most proud of?
Ms. Rowland: I am most proud of my vegan thigh-high boots at the moment.
Ms. Eschapasse: What would you pay a lot of money for, and what would you never pay much money for?
Ms. Rowland: I tend to buy clothing by the “price per wear” rule. I spend more on pieces that are wardrobe staples that I will keep and use more often, and less on trendy things that only last a season.
Ms. Eschapasse: When you go on the red carpet, how do you want your outfit to make you feel? Which designers can achieve that?
Ms. Rowland: I want to feel stylish and comfortable on the red carpet. Fit is extremely important. You can never go wrong with Tom Ford, Valentino, or Armani.
Ms. Eschapasse: What do you think of how others dress, and what’s your advice to people who would like to develop their personal style?
Ms. Rowland: I love to watch street style and see how various people incorporate pieces into their wardrobe. My advice to develop personal style would be to only wear trends that you love and incorporate them in your own special way; otherwise, you may become just another fashion victim.
Favorite color: Violet
Favorite perfume: My go-to perfume is Bal à Versailles by Jean Desprez
Favorite restaurant in NY: Le Bilboquet in NYC
Favorite drink: Cabernet Sauvignon
Favorite movie: “Harold and Maude”
Favorite book: “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle
Favorite quote: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi
Sibylle’s “Style Diary” is a column that explores style from the perspective of choices, and what that means for different people, with personal advice from some of the most stylish people in New York.
Sibylle Eschapasse is from Paris and now lives in Manhattan. She is a journalist and a contributing writer to various publications. Sibylle is also the author of a children’s book, “Argy Boy a New York Dog Tale.” She may be reached at [email protected]