Time to layer up!
As days grow shorter and the air gets cooler, equestrians mark the changing of the seasons by reaching for those stable sheets and turnout rugs, as well as some warm layers for ourselves: long sleeves and vests are staples for every horseman and horsewoman. While I have several tried and true pieces that resurface in my closet at the end of each summer, let’s not lie to ourselves — it’s fun to refresh with some new apparel every fall.
Noble Outfitters‘ new fall line is here just in time: I tried out the Free Spirit Henley and the Explorer Fleece Vest.
Free Spirit Henley
Right out of the package the Free Spirit Henley looked almost sheer and I was a little concerned that it was almost see-through, but once I put it on I really liked this top. Finding sleeves and torso length that actually fits me without a shirt hanging on me like a big bag is always exciting. This top is actually long enough for me to ride or drive in without the sleeves leaving half of my arm hanging out and without the shirttail leaving my midriff exposed (no one likes that).
The Aztec-inspired print around the collar adds some visual interest to the top, and despite the flock detailing this shirt can still be machine washed — no equestrian has time for hand-washing stuff like this! Overall, on a cooler day this piece is a fun addition to my closet.
Explorer Fleece Vest
Before you read the word “fleece” and start envisioning hair, hay, shavings and all the various detritus of barn life sticking to yourself (seriously, whoever keeps thinking that fuzzy fleece makes for good barn wear needs to really reconsider their choices) let me tell you that I too had some serious doubts before I actually pulled the Explorer Fleece Vest out of the box.
The vest has a flat face exterior — it wears like a soft shell, moving with you whether you’re working in the barn or the saddle. There’s still some cozy fuzzy fleece lining the vest, but it’s on the inside, not on the outside where everything is going to get stuck to it. Imagine the best of both worlds: warm snuggly fleece that doesn’t actually get stuff stuck to it all the time.
The contrast seams help shape this vest, keeping it form-fitting and flattering, and the pockets of course are perfectly placed to warm your hands or hold items like your phone, keys or horse treats. The collar can be zipped all the way up on particularly damp, windy or chilly days to keep an icy breeze from running down your neck; I foresee myself wearing this vest right through winter layered under a heavier coat.
I can also see this vest as a versatile piece for other outdoor activities like hiking or running; the whole thing is machine washable too. Added bonus: the colors coordinate perfectly with the Henley top!