Dressage Princess

Even though my life and work revolves around beautiful clothing and leather goods from all over the world, and I get to spend everyday surrounded by these amazing four-legged creatures, the best thing about this business is the people I have connected with over the years. And what I have learned is that many horse women have similar life stories, we tend to embrace the same values, and our love for horses and spending time at the barn is inherently tied to our need to be independent, to be free-spirited, and to get away from the banality of our day-to-day chores (and sometimes the men in them).

Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting and sharing dinner with two lovely ladies who just popped up their tent next to my mobile unit here at HITS. They are here with Game Ready, which if you have ever had an injury, like myself, and have used their product, it is simply the best way to reduce inflammation, accelerate healing, and reduce pain. I literally became addicted to my Game Ready when I broke my arm, sending my husband to the freezer every 30 minutes to get my fix!

Both ladies are Western riders with a little bit of dressage for good measure, and we had a great discussion about Natural Horsemanship, Western Dressage, and of course equestrian fashion. Since I have been around mostly hunter and jumpers for the past few years, I have gotten a bit out of touch with my inner Dressage Princess. I started riding dressage when I was 8 years old and competed through out my teen years. It is truly a magnificently different sport and often misunderstood…which is why it suits me! Even though I am a nonconformist to a certain degree, (I would have loved to experience the 60’s) I appreciate the discipline and classical elegance of dressage. And when it comes to Equestrian Fashion, I am strangely attracted to the polished look of a high-waisted full seat breech with a crisp tucked in blouse. A bit of a departure from my everyday bohemian look.

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So I am very excited to be picking up a new line of breeches that I believe captures the spirit of classic Dressage style and will reawaken the Princess in you!

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The Nathalie brand was born out of royalty with the impeccable style sensibilities of Princess Nathalie zu Sayn Wittgenstein, internationally ranked dressage competitor and member of Team Denmark, Bronze Medalists in at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

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The line combines timeless Euro fit with modern detailing and high-tech fabrics. The ever popular Swiss Schoeller premium fabrics include the Nanosphere® soil and stain resistant nano technology fabric, and new Coldblack® fabric innovation that keeps dark colours cool.

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I also love that the collection is designed and hand crafted in Europe enabling a more hands approach to the manufacturing, ensuring that the each style is paid its due attention and made with the best textiles available.

I can’t wait to get a pair so I can finally flaunt my inner Princess once again!

My Little Muses..

When LA Saddlery was born in February 2008 one of my top priorities was to hire and thoroughly train a great team of equestrian ladies to help us build solid relationships with our customers.  I also wanted to make sure that they were given a variety of opportunities to succeed, be rewarded for their accomplishments, and have ample benefits, including healthcare.  It took awhile to get the formula right…after all this industry does attract an exorbitantly high number of crazy women!  But after five years LA Saddlery has a strong, loyal, and fun group of ladies, all of whom have told me they love coming to work everyday.  Having grown up with a somewhat nonexistent family, these girls have become family to me, and even though some of them may be older, I feel like they are all my children and need looking after!  Especially when it comes to how they dress…after all we are promoting equestrian fashion at its best, and thus they should all dress accordingly!   

Luckily they have embraced our buying choices, and because they are all horse women and budding fashionistas, they truly love the apparel options available to equestrians.   You can walk into LA Saddlery on any day of the week and catch these lovely ladies wearing a LA Saddlery inspired ensemble of sorts…here are their top three  favorite things.

Number 1: Ariat Jeans!  

These jeans look fabulous on all of them, even though they each have very distinct body types. Ariat has a wide range of styles and cuts, and can satisfy the more edgy style of our Assistant Manager Angie, or the more clean-cut and preppy look our little Laurel loves.  

#2 Goode Rider button down shirts…

Now almost every one of us has at least one if not several of these fantastic shirts…so the challenge is to make sure we don’t all wear the same ones to work! 

Luckily every season Goode Rider changes up the look and style of these shirts, so we can constantly reinvent our look knowing that we are going to get the same quality and fit that got us hooked on them in the first place!

#3 Dansko Shoes…If you don’t have a pair of these you are missing out!  

Like Ariat Jeans, Dansko has such a variety of options that you are bound to find something to suit your personality. Plus they are ridiculously comfortable!  And with the right outfit they can be quite fashionably fabulous.

Come on…even Heidi Klum, the ultimate fashion Diva, loves her Dansko clogs!

I have so many pairs that at this point my husband suspects they are mating like rabbits in our closet! 

I actually have four pairs of these boots…and now am considering getting a couple more because they stopped making them! Nooooo!!! I am wearing these beautiful burgundy ones in my eqgirl photo…

 I mean look how awesome they are in this color too!!

At some point, me saying over and over and over again that equestrian apparel is in fact wearable in our everyday lives will start to sink in. Again I think that sometimes people need to see words in action to really grasp a concept…so over the course of the last several months I have forcefully taken pictures of my poor little Corinne at work because she always mixes it up and puts her personal fashion style into each equestrian inspired outfit.  I also love to dress her up like she’s my own personal Barbie doll : )  

Here she is looking sophisticated and sexy in a Cheval show shirt, dark blue jeans, and some pretty stylin Ariat cowboy boots.

I love this rocked out ensemble, wearing the same boots, this time over a pair of bedazzled Animo breeches! 

This is a perfect example of an everyday girl going to work with simple jeans and tennies, and a fitted and flattering Le Fash show shirt.  I accessorized her with this awesome leather bag by Dubarry. 

This to me is just a purely fun and sporty youthful look. Her PK Sportswear flashy purple zip up goes perfect with her adorable purple tennies.

Ok this is one that she let me dress her up like Snow Bunny Barbie! We just got our Ariat fall apparel shipment in, so I wanted to show off this easy to wear horse print shirt and furry plaid vest…did I mention I love furry collars?  I also have her in Dubarry again, this time the short Kildare waterproof, and practically bomb proof boots that every self-respecting barn girl should own!

Finally I wanted to dress her up like a mini-me…so I put her into these new Courderoy breeches by Horze, this stunning Barbour jacket, and of course my signature Dankso boots! 

I would love for you to come in and let me dress you up…so if you are ready to be styled head to toe give me a call at LA Saddlery and we can set up an appointment. If you let me pick out your whole look I will be give you our employee discount!!! Because everybody should look as good as my LA Saddlery ladies! 

Riding Boots NEVER go out of style!

Here I am at my very first Dressage show where I scored a miserable 48% because, Sweetheart, the little old mare school horse, decided to whinny her way through the entire test with her head sticking straight out! She was thrilled to be showing off in the dressage arena after years of going in circles at the riding school.  I however was not so thrilled, and after reviewing my test, cried silently to myself and then dramatically crumpled it up and threw it away, vowing to never score that low again! I was quite the little competitor, and after that dressage diva display my trainer knew it was time for me to get my own horse.  

And get my first pair of real dressage boots.  I vividly remember them, in fact I may still have the scars! They were custom Vogel Dressage boots. Pull on, stiff as hell, need three people and some WD40 to get you out of them, kind of boots. I believe I was about 8 years old.  To me it was a right of passage, to suffer through the pain of walking up and down the stairs to break those bad boys in. And because I was a growing girl, I had to break in several pairs of Frankenstein boots for the next 5 years! 

So now when kids come into LA Saddlery and beg mommy for a pair of tall boots, or when new adult riders choose field boots over paddocks and half chaps, and they easily slip their foot into the unzipped tall boot, with the super soft leather, elastic panel, and cushy rubber sole, and have the gall to bitch and wine about how “uncomfortable” they are, I just laugh and say “suck it up ladies!”

Tall riding boots today are built more like fashion boots then riding boots, which is why we sell several pairs a year to women who strictly wear them with skirts, dresses, and skinny jeans. In fact last year a friend of mine who owns a lovely little shop on Beverly Drive, Dale Michele, directed a young woman who worked for Ralph Lauren to our shop to find some riding boots. Apparently Ralph didn’t make her size and were a bit out of her price range. So off to LA Saddlery she came and purchased a pair of Ariat Heritage Kids tall boots!

She has subsequently sent several of her regular customers our way to purchase tall riding boots to be worn strictly for fashion. Because lets face it riding inspired boots have been an integral part of the main stream fashion industry for some time now. 

 

And why not! They can be sleek, cool, sophisticated, edgy, sporty, and the real ones are now made to be extremely comfortable and usually cost less than most high-end fashion boots.  I can’t tell you how many people stop me on the street when I wear my gorgeous burgundy Tucci Polo Boots or my simple black dress boots, to find out where I bought them. 

And now you have several Equestrian apparel companies, including Goode Rider, Ariat, and GPA, that are designing fabulous riding inspired fashion boots. 

But to be honest I actually prefer real riding boots as my personal accessories to my everyday wardrobe. Take the Tucci Leonoardo dress boot.

Not only are they 100 times more comfortable than your high-end fashion boot, they look stunning, and are much more durable! Plus you can actually ride in them…money well spent!

Here are a couple of my other favorite riding boots that can double as fashion boots…next time you get some boots think brown! They are definitely coming back in style in the arena and they look gorgeous with jeans and sweaters. I love the simplicity of this classic Konig field boot. 

Go for brown in a paddock boot as well. These Sergio Grasso ones are sexy as hell!

For an edgier look, I really love the Ariat Volant boots. They are bit biker chic, and will definitely give you a stand out look! Plus they are ridiculously comfortable and great for everyday riding.

If you want a great looking boot for riding and fashion, but don’t want to go overboard in price, then Tredstep’s Donatello boot is one of the best cost-effective field boots on the market.

If you haven’t tried this already, go ahead and clean up your tall boots and wear them out next time you hit the mall. Pair them with your cutest pair of breeches, skinny jeans, or tights, hell wear them with a skirt or dress! I guarantee you someone will stop you and say how much they love your look!  Then send them to LA Saddlery to get fitted for their own : )

Fall into something new…

Ok…yes when I left the house today my car said it was 103 degrees outside…but I am not going to let that stop me from dreaming about the upcoming fall season of fantastic sportswear! 

In fact all of the Equestrian brands tend to have stronger fall lines than Spring ones.  And I think right about now everyone is sick of having to worry about their bikini bodies and are longing for a day when they can throw a sweater on with some fabulous knee-high boots and fluffy  scarf, essentially hiding a few unwanted pounds underneath a layer of beautiful knits, fur, and tweeds!

You will be seeing a lot of stunning fall wear here at eqgirl because fall is my absolute favorite time of year and I have an unhealthy obsession with long sweaters and jackets, tall boots, and of course scarves.  My husband’s side of the closet looks as if it’s about to be  swallowed up by a gigantic wool and cashmere monster!  But in my defense I wear those suckers everywhere, until the fabric is pilled and frayed at the seams, forcing me to buy a new and fabulous one to replace it.

In fact I was just showing my LA Saddlery girls one of my favorite clothing stores in Venice, while I was writing this blog : ) and happened to see this fantastic sweater for sale on their website!

So with their encouragement I bought it! I also have a pair of these adorable faux riding pants..which are actually leggings and ridiculously comfortable!  Check them out at http://nightcapclothing.com/

But I am of course very loyal to my equestrian brands. I have a plethora of Goode Rider, Barbour, Gersemi, Ariat, and Pikeur fall sportswear, including stylin rain coats, fur collared jackets, comfy zip ups, puffy vests, and my favorite, long belted sweaters. 

This year I will be adding PK Sportswear to my collection!

This colorful fashion brand is new to the US market and has been launched with great success in California since Fall 2011.

The PK International collections are created by equestrians and fashion designers in the Netherlands.

They are made of high quality luxury colorful fabrics and created to be worn on and off the horse.

The collections change every season with different colors and styles so you will stand out where ever you go.

PK International was chosen as the sponsor of the Royal Dutch Equestrian Association (KNHS) to design a riders collection for the Dutch Dressage Team at the Olympic Games 2012 in London.

FAB Sportswear, the exclusive distributor for PK International, is based in Northern California and is run by two of the nicest, fun-loving ladies I have met in a long time! I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with one of these lovely ladies while I was visiting Sonoma, and let me tell you there will be more fantastic things to come from PK and FAB Sportswear!

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