Eventing Nation: Top 10 equestrian fashion faux pas

Are you guilty of any of these riding-attire crimes? By Sally Spickard.

From Sally:

Why aren’t we getting paid for being so inspiring for the fashion world?

Today it occurred to me that I inadvertently elected to post on Tuesdays, which statistically are the most depressing day of the week. Go me. On the bright side, though, now we get to share in our collective depression while productively reading my weekly Top 10 list. Just keep that Excel spreadsheet handy just in case your boss walks by and wonders why you’re researching the best ways to emulate William Fox-Pitt instead of crunching numbers.

I hope you all are nursing your Rebecca Farm hangover and setting your eyes on the next fix: Burghley! I know I am. This week, I got to thinking about all of the fashion trends and unfortunate decisions we have all made when it comes to our “horsey” apparel and equipment. Now, I must insert a disclaimer here and say that I in no way find myself innocent of many of the following faux pas, so please don’t think I am above the rest. At one point in time, I was the proud of owner of some very neon colors and animal print saddle pads. Trust me when I say I am just as guilty as anyone! I digress, however, and bring you this week’s list of the top 10 equestrian fashion faux pas. Feel free to email me if you’d like an interactive checklist for yourself.

1. Neon and/or reflective colors.

I harped on this in my very first Blogger Contest entry so you all know how I feel on this topic already. I think my trainer at the time about lost her marbles when I walked proudly into the arena with my brand new orange polos on. I believe my friend also owned a set of cow print polos as well, and we all made sure to put them on for lessons. After being chased from the arena on multiple occasions due to my trainer’s sheer embarrassment, I put the orange to bed and stuck with basic colors from that point on. I understand that cross-country colors especially are an opportunity to get creative and express yourself, but neon ranks on my list right around where I put camo – very near the bottom. Reflective strips I can understand if you are somewhere where it is vital that you are visible, but trust me, I can see you coming from a mile away (in bright sunlight, mind you) on that cross-country course! Perhaps it’s a distraction technique. After all, if I am jump judging and you gallop past in a blur of neon and reflecting light, maybe I won’t see that you actually galloped around that skinny and not over it.

2. Glitter

Again, I must raise my hand as guilty on this one. I believe the stuff is called Twinkle Toes? Basically, it’s glitter that you can put on virtually any body part that your horse possesses. I used to think it was a great idea to match my horse’s hooves to my nail art at the time. I’m not sure he agreed, but really he couldn’t do anything about it.

3. Those First Lady helmets – the ones with the giant sun visor.

Props to Reed Kessler for being able to pull this one off, however I just can’t seem to get over how unsightly they are. All practicality aside, I’d rather not have a giant visor on my face when I am already having trouble focusing my eyes up and not down on the ground where I will eventually end up. They may have one function perhaps, if I decide to go full on equestrian for next year’s Derby.

4. Stock ties

Yes, I know, they are a traditional part of dressage wear, and yes I spent hours picking out the perfect stock pin, only to stick myself with it multiple times in the mad scramble to be ready on time. But let’s be honest here, nothing about a stock tie is particularly attractive nor is even remotely comfortable. And, after all of the times I have purchased a new “easy to tie” stock tie I find myself feeling less than dextrous as I struggle to find the perfect combination of not suffocating and somewhat fashionable. If anyone has any tips, please send them my way.

5.  Odd-patterned Sleazies

We have all used those handy little blanket liners, but I know my horse wasn’t the only one embarrassed when I broke out the catalog and ogled the never ending list of colors. Who knew I could order hot pink giraffe print? I didn’t even know that was a thing!

6. Riding pants as high end fashion

Ok, we’ve all seen these lurking about on shelves and clothing racks everywhere. I saw a particularly hideous pair on the rack at an American Apparel store this past weekend. If we are going to model “real” clothes after riding clothes, can we at least make them somewhat appealing? I find my SmartPak breeches to be quite flattering and I would appreciate if all of these expert designers took note and designed their wares after something a bit more attractive. These corduroy-looking riding pant wannabes can’t hold a candle to what us real equestrians wear!

7. Horse hoof shoes

Yes, these are a real thing. And apparently they are worn by actual people. I hope they made a lot of money modeling these for these shots. I’m a high heel snob myself, but don’t think I’ll be caught dead wearing these creepy horse shoes. I will however, donate money to the person who is brave enough to sport them on jog day at their next three day! Any volunteers? (I was kidding about the money part, but I will donate generously in my head if you do it!)

8. Bright orange leather

I know it’s a Hermes thing, but if you aren’t the proud owner of a Hermes anything, please don’t sport the orange tack from hell. Especially if your horse is a chestnut. Perhaps you are going for the inconspicuous look, but trust me, it’s not a good one.

9. Muck boots

Ok, this is going to be a friendly add on to the faux pas list because I proudly wear my (purple) muck boots whenever I am doing barn chores. They are great for wading in manure mucking stalls and generally participating in activities that will inevitably cover you in filth. I put them on this list only because they tend to make even the most petite and lady like person look more like a lumberjack than an equestrian and they seem to carry their smell wherever they go. Personally, I haven’t taken the leap and gone for the more fashionably attractive Dubarry’s, but I just grin and bear the looks of shame when I wear my muck boots to Wal-Mart. It’s Wal-Mart, after all, there is always someone more odd looking than you there, I guarantee it.

10. Awkward tan lines

The final bullet point on this list is the dreaded summer enemy – the glove/tank top/t-shirt/etc tan line. It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? I swear, every summer I find my arms and shoulders to be impossibly brown while the rest of me emits a not so subtle glow. I’ve tried to tan to even out the lines only to find that the brown gets browner and the white gets slightly less white. Evenness seems to be out of the question, so I’ve given up for the time being. I tried going glove-less once and learned that lesson quickly. Tan lines > blisters any day. Maybe I should actually go invest in some fashion riding pants – at least they will hide the translucence!

How about you, Eventing Nation? I know I’ve got some of you thinking about some of the fashion crimes we’ve committed in our lives as dedicated horse people., and I know we would all just love to hear your stories.



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