My Uniform: Haley Boyd, Founder Marais Shoes

My Uniform: Haley Boyd, Founder Marais Shoes

Every month we ask our friends how they found their personal style and to share the pieces that make up their daily “uniforms.”

Haley Boyd, owner of our latest Alex Mill Finds footwear line, Marais, has a distinctive personal style that we admire so much we asked her to collaborate on two exclusive-to-us shoes (that you can shop today!). It’s feminine, utilitarian and with a bit of throwback glamour—i.e. she considers a pair of cat eye sunglasses a critical component of her “uniform”. Hailing from Telluride Colorado, a place more famous for Patagonia fleeces than pointy-toe flats, Haley’s style trajectory took a few twists and turns before she arrived at what she considers a “KonMari’d” closet filled with crewneck sweaters and full skirts. Here’s the story, in her words…

I grew up in Telluride, Colorado which is essentially “Patagonia-ville” and although I was aesthetically minded, I didn’t have an interest in clothing until I went to boarding school in Santa Barbara. I was always a creative person (I painted and loved interiors and cooking) and once at school I started cutting up Hanes T-shirts and reconstructing them. I’d make them into blouses with rosettes by folding the fabric or I’d take an XL men’s tee and take it in at the sides turning it into a sundress with a ruffle at the bottom. My first creation was a blouse, which I wore without disclosing that I had made it myself to get an honest reaction. When my friends wanted to buy them, I started a little business in my dorm room. I was 16 at the time and this really opened my mind to fashion. I subscribed to all the Vogues (British Vogue was my favorite). And I did an independent study in fashion design which was a first for the prep school I attended.

I had this phase where I dressed like Annie Hall: Baggy khakis rolled into ankle boots, an oxford button-down tucked in and my wavy, wild hair.
Cotton sweater and silk slip skirt in floral print
Marais classic mule in gingham
Shirt dress in navy cotton poplin
AM mini straw tote bag

I did well in school but was always distracted and looking for a practical application. I was the kid in math class wanting to learn how to do my taxes. I started showing my designs with fashion shows in the spring and fall and expanded my materials beyond Hanes tees. I’d drive to LA and go to International Silks and Woolens which is a high-end textile shop. At this point, I wasn’t designing for myself. I wore jeans and T-shirts and focused on designing for the girls I went to school with.

Finally I went to New York to attend Parsons and at that point I started experimenting with my own style. I had this phase where I dressed like Annie Hall: Baggy khakis rolled up, ankle boots, an oxford button-down tucked in and long, wavy, wild hair. It wasn’t as cute as it may sound! [laughs] During this time at Parsons, The Sartorialist was becoming really big as was street style at large. Photographers were all over New York taking pictures, and it was fun to be photographed and be part of that moment in fashion.

In 2009 I started Marais in New York City. I was a student, on a budget, and I wanted a beautiful, accessibly-priced shoes. No one was doing that then! I founded Marais to solve that problem. I’m most interested in shoes people can walk in and wear every day. I like to feel comfortable and don’t necessarily think we need to reinvent the wheel each season. I gravitate toward classic styles that stand the test of time. I cut my hair shorter and I went from wearing all black to mainly pastels. Moving to LA influenced my style more than any other event in my life.

I gravitate toward classic styles that stand the test of time.

My personal style is now built upon very simple, streamlined pieces. Full skirts, T-shirts, high-waisted cigarette pants. People are often shocked by how few clothes I own. Everything is simple enough to wear frequently and is organized by color and type with about half of my wardrobe being light blue or white. I have a ton of oxfords, maxi skirts, crewneck sweaters and vintage Levi’s. And there is a separate closet just for shoes which is 99% Marais. I probably have one tenth of the clothing of a typical woman in fashion and right on par for the number of shoes.

I love both of the shoes I designed for Alex Mill. To me gingham can be worn year-round, especially in LA.


3 words your best friends would use to describe your personal style: Refined, particular, feminine.

3 things you never leave home without: Cat eye sunglasses (I call them “my jewelry”), a straw bag (if not a handbag then a straw tote for the market), La Mer lip balm.

Your uniform, in 3 pieces: T-shirt, full skirt, slide sandal.

Thank you Haley!

As told to AM March 21st, 2019

Photographed by Nicki Sebastian in Los Angeles

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