Equestrian Apparel Challenge 1

Last night one of our long time customers came in and purchased two beautiful Animo show coats.  Now you are probably thinking that she must be competing every weekend to need, not one, but two high end show coats. Nope! In fact they will be strictly worn for fashion purposes! Of course not everyone can afford such an extravagance addition to their wardrobe, but it proves my point that riding apparel can serve two purposes. I personally own several pieces of apparel that I wear both in my riding lessons and on my date nights out with the hubby.  I know it’s a hard concept to grasp, but riding clothes can be washed ladies…and you know what, after a dirty day at the barn, washing them will actually make them clean again! So don’t feel so guilty about spoiling yourselves a little the next time you go shopping for new riding apparel.  If you fall in love with a pair of cute breeches, a fitted show shirt, or sleek zip up jacket, know that these are all pieces you can incorporate into your daily fashion routine. To prove this to all the skeptics out there, once a month I am going to give myself an Equestrian Apparel Challenge.  I will select a piece of riding apparel that you would not normally think of wearing to say, work.  I will style it out and post pics, proving that riding apparel is not only functional for everyday use it can be down right glamorous!

 

This first challenge was presented to me by fantastic rep from Irideon, Laurel. If you are not familiar with Irideon, I like to think of them as the Nike of equestrian apparel. Their  tights, tee’s, polo’s and jackets are very sporty chic, wear well, and are reasonably priced. I have featured some of their Spring 2012 Collection here…

 

Well, last year at one of the American Equestrian Trade Shows in Philadelphia, Laurel showed us the new line, including their new riding tight, the Issential Mini (shown below).

 

The idea behind the design is for ladies to experience the comfort of a riding tight without being self-conscious of their tightness. The mini skirt (which is attached to the tights) is in essence to hide the junk in your trunk, while still looking cute and fabulous on your horse.  Now to be perfectly honest at first glance, I thought they were a little funny looking. We decided to order some for kids, because I wasn’t sure what women would think of them.  So when Laurel came to see us on Friday with the Fall Collection she asked me if I would try her sample on and style it out for my blog…hence the birth of my Challenge idea!

 

I like to call this outfit my “Oh Baby, Baby” look, because every time I look at myself in the mirror Britney Spears pops into my head. I think if she were to have come into my shop circa 1998 this is what she would have picked out! I am currently wearing my Oh Baby, Baby outfit to work, and already have a customer on the hook to order a pair! So it looks like I will be ordering some for LA Saddlery. And if I had a lesson after work, all I would have to do is change into my riding boots, take off my accessories and I would be good to go!

For all those curious to know what else I am wearing with my new favorite pair of fashion/riding tights, my boots are Dansko (I already told you I have three pairs of these), my top is Theory, my belt Betsy Johnson, and then some delicate gold bracelets and earrings. Honestly I think the tights, at $89.95, are probably the least expensive piece of this outfit!

So now I challenge you to put your fashion thinking caps on and send me pics of outfits you have styled with your riding apparel. I would love to share them with other equestrian fashionistas!

We have some great pieces on www.lasaddlery.com right now that would be perfect!

Most of us were not raised in a barn, so don’t look like you were!

When I was a girl I trained with a distinguished dressage rider from Sweden who emanated a worldly and refined elegance. Lilian Van Dahn was tall and lovely, with a perfectly styled curl of blond hair, and always impeccably dressed in finely tailored clothing. Her color palette was always subtle in nature, never anything darker than an English cup of tea with milk. With her silk blouses and pressed beige pants, all paired with delicate accessories, she had a style that was as graceful as it was sophisticated. There was never a wrinkle, crease or fold or even a spot of dirt—even after a full day of lessons at the barn.

She would become my idol, my inspiration for wanting to live the equestrian lifestyle, with all its romance, adventure and timeless fashion.  I try to convey this idea to my customers, that riding is in fact a discipline, and we should dress accordingly, and I hope to convey this to my blog followers as well!

 

While picking up lunch yesterday I decided to purchase some proper research material to peruse as I inhaled my spring bean chicken …In Style, Glamour, and Vogue. It’s moments like these where I feel completely at peace with my decision to drop out of my master’s program in Psychology with only five classes to go! This is a completely different state of mind, and I truly believe in retail therapy – just take a look at my American Express bill for February if you don’t believe me!

I flip through each glossy page the way I would walk through an art gallery, only stopping to focus on those images that evoke an emotional response, either positive or negative. I operate the same way when it comes to buying for my tack shop. If something inspires me, I want to bring it into the store to inspire my customers.

 

Looking back on some of the lines we have picked up for LA Saddlery, I have compiled a collection of pictures that I hope will inspire you to take the time to put together a cohesive look before you venture out to the barn.  I honestly feel that when you take the time to put yourself together you will ride just as fabulous as you look!

Make sure to check out http://www.lasaddlery.com!

Eye Catching Ratcatchers

My first day working in Equestrian Retail, a customer asked me where we kept the ratcatchers.  Having ridden dressage my whole life, I was sure this was one of those funny hunter/jumper things.  Once I found out it was a show shirt, I was of course curious of its origin.  I couldn’t find any information on how the term found its way into the fox hunting world, which of course trickled down into the Hunter/Jumper arena, but I did discover that an original rat catcher was a garment worn by men in London, hundreds of years ago, who bound their necks to protect themselves from the apparent vicious rats they were hunting.  Now if you have ever been to a hunter/jumper show you will no doubt know that the competition can get a little cutthroat, I don’t know if I would use the word “vicious,” but the Pony Moms alone can be quite fierce!  This makes it all the more important for you to have the most fabulous wrap collar in the show arena! 

One of my favorite new shirts to hit the equestrian scene is from an up and coming company, Le Fash. I briefly mentioned them in my last blog, and one of their fabulous shirts was featured in our special Mother’s Day Riding Magazine ad. There are three reasons I absolutely adore these shirts. First, they are different! I am a bit bored of the boxy Coolmax fabrics, in white, light blue, and lavender. Le Fash has striking plaids and feminine stripes, and the contrasting stretchy side panels make this shirt look fabulous with or without your coat. 

 

Second, they are not only Made in the USA (yeah!) they are made with 100% Egyptian Cotton and the side panels are made from  93% Rayon from Bamboo and 7% Spandex, which makes this shirt soft, light, breathable, form fitting as well as stretchy, and environmentally friendly. 

 

Finally, and most importantly these shirts epitomize what I discussed in my last blog, which is embracing an Equestrian Lifestyle look.  I would definitely wear a Le Fash shirt with a cute pair of boot cut jeans, or with my skinny jeans and Tucci Polo boots (I will have to show you these another time!)

 

In a nutshell, every woman should treat their bodies to one of these body flattering and chic shirts whether you are in the show or cheering someone from the sidelines!

Don’t forget to check out http://www.lasaddlery.com for great deals on some of the ideas and items mentioned in my blogs!

The Equestrian Lifestyle Look

Whenever I meet someone new and they ask me about what I do for a living, they are immediately intrigued by my involvement with and knowledge of horses.  Men especially find the fact that I ride to be extremely sexy. And let’s face it a girl on a horse is pretty hot!  However, the reality is you don’t need to be on a horse, or have ever been on a horse to portray that same image.  When someone envisions an “equestrian” there are certain images that come into mind.  Some may conjure up a picture of a country girl with a short skirt and cowboy boots. Think floral dresses, tight jeans, tousled hair, leather jewelry, and possibly a hint of silver.  While another person may see a refined city girl with a slinky pair of white breeches and tailored blouse and coat. Sleek pony tails, leather accents, high collars, tall boots, and beautiful plaids.   Either image portrays this idea of living an Equestrian Lifestyle.  Being a dressage rider myself I like the English way of looking at things, with just hints of country girl thrown in for good measure.  I am a busy girl with a troubled back, so my opportunity to ride has been few and far between these days…but luckily my riding clothes look great with my skinny jeans and Dansko boots! In fact we have many customers, including a celebrity clientele, who wear equestrian clothing to places that are no where near the barn.  Goode Rider Jean breeches, Animo Coats, Dubarry boots, Pikeur Jackets, Joules Polo’s, all of these can be translated into mainstream fashion, while still authentically creating an equestrian look. Here are just a few examples from our Riding Magazine advertisement campaign.

This first look reminds me of a girl shopping in Aspen.  She’s wearing b//Vertigo breeches, Dubarry boots with fur lining, an Animo shirt, and Goode Rider Vest.

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This is one of my favorite looks! This is definitely an urban chic Equestrian girl.  Animo Jean breeches, Royal Equus jodhpur boots and matching half chaps (unfortunately these are discontinued now!), Dubarry ruffle shirt and Barbour jacket.

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This is a great look to take from the barn to out and about running your errands! Kentucky full seat jean breeches, Cheval Fashions show shirt, Joules Wellies.

 

Here is a whole family of Equestrian lifestyle ladies! Lots of Joules, Pikeur, Animo and Ariat in these looks. Plus that awesome Le Fash plaid shirt! This is a new company that I will dedicate another blog too.

 

Finally this is a look I styled today. I found this awesome horse print dress that I paired with my favorite Dankso boots (I personally have three pairs of these!) a Clever with Leather martingale belt, and a Cowgirls for a Cause Bracelet which perfectly defines this look as  “A kind of gal that needs to be lunged”!

Don’t forget to check out http://www.lasaddlery.com

for great deals on some of the ideas and items mentioned in my blogs!

No Butts About It…

Biggest fashion faux pas I see at the barn, or worse, at the horse show…are ladies with saggy bottoms! And this is not because the ladies actually have saggy bottoms. In fact I have no idea what kinds of bottoms they do have, because they are wearing ridiculously sagging and stained breeches! Seriously gals, there is nothing worse than looking like you have an eighty year old ass when you are under 50! And I don’t want to hear the excuses either…there is no excuse good enough that can justify sporting a black balloon bottom.  The great thing about riding breeches these days is they are made with super stretchy and form flattering fabrics. Plus many of them have great design details, cute pockets, and chic colors, all of which help make your butt look fabulous in and out of the saddle.  And nobody knows hot bottoms better than the Italians, which is why Animo has the hottest line of breeches on the market.  Here are just a few examples of how great you can look from behind!

It’s All in the Details…

Those who know me, and know me well, will attest to my attention to details, no matter how minute they may seem.  Some may call this anal, perfectionism, Type-A…I like to think of it as an ability to see things that no else does! That’s why when it comes to putting together an outfit I love to accessorize.  Any plain Jane look can be spiced up with a summer scarf, the right purse, or a perfect leather belt.  And with riding apparel getting more and more mainstream, accessorizing is the best way to transform your morning barn look into your afternoon lunch with the girls’ ensemble! 

 

Any equestrian wardrobe would be incomplete without a little leather.  A company we discovered at the trade show this year, Clever with Leather, really caught my eye with their own attention to detail in their leather belts and bracelets. My personal favorites are the martingale belt and wrap leather stirrup bracelet.  The martingale belt looks great paired with this classic Gersemi Polo, shown above.

 

Another company we picked up at the trade show was Sea Shells, a fantastic line of hand woven purses. Again I love the colorful ribbon, chrome bits and stirrup details, making each piece a one of a kind.  They are the fabulous spring accessory to tote around the horse show or Sundays at the Farmer’s Market.

 

Finally, you can never have too many sun hats and scarves. My husband can definitely attest to this fact about me! They are the easiest accessory to throw on and make you look chic and fabulous no matter how much you smell like your horse! 

Silver Lining

Every hunt coat should have a Silver Lining…not literally of course, but silver is quite nice on a grey plaid coat…maybe with a burgundy suede collar, or some black piping…but I digress! Ok, linings, yes, the perfect way to spice up your simple navy, black or other version of navy and/or black hunt coat! I know how particular you hunter ladies are, so linings are a great way to put a little personality into your show look without offending the delicate nature of your conservative trainer.  Think of the lining as a personal secret about yourself that you only share with your most intimate friends. Are you a bit flashy? Maybe a hot pink paisley lining. Or maybe you are a little bit rock and roll? A shiny red perhaps. Fun and flirty…a cute pok–a-dot print would be a nice touch.  Whatever you fancy, there is a lining to match! So go ahead and pick a straight forward navy herringbone coat, or a classic black pinstripe coat if you would prefer to be classically quiet in your arena ensemble…just as long as you don’t forget that what’s on the inside speaks volumes!  Here are just a few examples of some my favorite new linings.

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