There are a lot (read: too many) clothing brands out there, and let’s be honest—a lot of them are lousy. Finding clothes that look and feel high-quality, fit nicely, and make you feel good is like finding a needle in a scratchy, polyester haystack. And it’s often why I find myself retreating back to my security blanket leggings.
But what if it didn’t have to be? In my search for clothes that fit the above criteria, I found Leota. This body-inclusive brand claims to create easy, versatile, feminine fashion for everyone. I was excited by the idea—albeit still a bit skeptical.
However, after trying a few Leota pieces myself and talking with the brand’s owner, Sarah Carson, that skepticism melted away.
Leota Means ‘Of The People’
On its surface, Leota is a women’s clothing line offering figure-flattering silhouettes in eye-catching prints and colors. But there’s also a deep sense of identity, family, and self-love woven throughout its extensive catalog.
Leota was founded by former Wall Street investment banker and proud LGBTQ+ member Carson. “Leota is named after my great-grandmother, and it means ‘of the people’ in German,” Carson explains. “The name captures the spirit of inclusivity so essential to our brand.”
I had heard brands tout inclusivity before, and as someone who doesn’t fit the typical body “standard,” I had my fair share of disappointments. But Carson had, too—which is why Leota is so different.
“My authentic inclusivity comes from my experience as a woman, LGBTQ+, ambitious, driven in male-dominated fields, and of a typical womanly body shape. I’ve got curves. I’ve got boobs. I’m not a size 2.” Carson sought to make clothes for herself and, in turn, the rest of us.
Fit And Comfort Are First And Foremost
Lots of clothes can look cute. But if they don’t feel good on, then what’s the point? To test Leota’s inclusivity claim, I tried two pieces that always tend to fit me strangely: maxi dresses and rompers.
The first thing I noticed when I opened my Leota haul was the fabric. It was cool to the touch, buttery soft, and heavy in a substantial, not stifling way. Carson told me that “fit and comfort are first and foremost” when she designs her collections, which was easy to tell.
The Darcey Ruffle Short Sleeve Romper features breathable, no-wrinkle, machine-washable jersey fabric. While other rompers I’ve tried tend to cut my body’s proportions in an unflattering way, Leota’s romper fit like a glove.
The ruffle-cap sleeves, V-neck, and tie-waist details add a touch of feminity to this fun romper. And the bold, contrasting prints of the romper and attached belt are unlike anything else in my closet. I wore this in the sticky, Midwestern July heat and felt cool and comfortable the whole time.
Next, I tried Leota’s Cameron Halter Maxi Dress. I loved how the smooth, slinky fabric poured over me and immediately elongated my silhouette. The adjustable halter neck tie allows you to experiment with the dress’s shape, while the subtle leg slits keep you nice and breezy.
The perfectly summery Grenadine Floral print sold me on this dress, but the fit and feel hammered the deal home. Its jersey fabric stayed wrinkle-free as I drove about 45 minutes to the next town over (in sticky, humid heat).
But most importantly, I felt amazing in it. The combination of the fabric, fit, and design made me feel beautiful and empowered while wearing it—and that’s arguably the hardest part.
Paradise Is A State Of Mind, Not A Destination
Carson’s attention to emotion was deliberate. “We’ve all gone through a lot during these past couple of years, with women disproportionately carrying the heavy weight of job displacement, extreme multi-tasking, and related challenges to wellness.”
“The Summer 2022 collection is meant to celebrate our women, take them on a lush journey of color and self-love, and give them extra comfort with easy-care, comfort-fitting designs so they can do more of what they love this summer and always,” Carson says. And she’s on that journey right there with us.
“I live in Leota rompers,” Carson adds. “I have ten of them. Sometimes I even cut the legs off our jumpsuits to make them rompers. Leota makes my life so easy—a dress or jumpsuit, and I’m good to go. I hope I’m a 95-year-old romper wearer someday.”
Whether you cut the legs like Carson or keep them true to form, Leota’s jumpsuits are an ideal blend of comfort and style. The Isla Jumpsuit in Ginkgo is a vibrant, relaxed-fit jumpsuit with a cowl neckline and cinched waist.
It features the same wrinkle-free jersey fabric, so you can look put together whether you’ve been wearing your jumpsuit for one hour or the whole day. For someone like Carson (and me), who’s normally getting ready in five minutes, these jumpsuits are the perfect all-in-one ensemble.
Carson also mentions the Monique Ruffle Dress, which she considers her favorite piece from the Leota summer collection. “It takes all of our most famous styles and bangs them into one for the perfect summer dress,” she explains.
And she’s right—this versatile dress features ruffled sleeves, a flattering wrap design, and of course, Leota’s signature jersey fabric. This dress is as fitting for brunch as it is date night. Wear it to the park, a picnic, zoo, restaurant, or all of the above. The Monique is ready to move with you, wherever it takes you.
Find Your New Favorite Pieces
“I’ve always loved fashion and how it signifies identity and community,” Carson says. When she worked as an investment banker, the tight, stuffy clothes she wore to the office didn’t feel true to the woman she was.
“I’m a free spirit in the sense that I need to do a gazillion things in whatever I’m wearing. Confinement of my body in any way is a no-no,” she explains. “Then, Leota was born. Gorgeous, easy, versatile, feminine clothes for all.”
That goes for all ages, too. Leota features a wide range of kids’ styles that match the women’s options for adorable family photo ops. For example, Leota’s Kids Short Sleeve Jersey Dress in Grenadine Floral perfectly matches the Monique or Cameron Maxi dress.
“We believe all women are beautiful and that every body should be celebrated. We embrace and celebrate the beauty of every body and design for every curve, body type, natural fluctuating weight and cycles, and all the honest ways women feel about their bodies,” Carson says.
“Each Leota dress is designed to make our women love their natural bodies and to feel like a million bucks so that they can play, dance, and live life to the fullest.” And just like Carson intended, that’s exactly how my Leota pieces made me feel.
I’m already looking forward to my next Leota haul—I currently have my eyes on this stunning, earth-toned Mindy Dress with classic mock-neck and full skirt. No matter which styles you choose to fall in love with, you’re sure to feel bold, beautiful, and empowered.