There can be a very thin line between what’s acceptable and what’s not when you enter the show ring. Its always been that way and always will. I had the pleasure of interviewing, Grace Wiedner, an up and coming top young rider who helped me breakdown the ambiguity of what to wear in the show ring. Her full interview will follow in the coming weeks!
New riders to the Hunter & Equitation Show Ring really need to consider these things when converting over and looking for the right show apparel. What you wear does matter to some extent.
Now, when you are first starting out, there are some good basic items that you want to look for, then as you start to specialize in this area of horse competition, there are some special brands that you considered trendy and in.
But like all disciplines- the classics never go out of style and are classics for a reason. Something to remember, and this applies to almost every discipline, whether it’s apparel or riding gear- ***If you go cheap- the fit most likely won’t be right, the quality is absolutely not there, and you will probably end up wasting your money because once you start using the item- the fit & quality isn’t there, and to make things worse, trying to resell this slighty or never used item- no one wants it! So always ask for advice from a reputable source and weigh in budget and level of competition. There are always tricks and shortcuts in each discipline that you can save and places that it’s just not worth trying to get something less expensive.
A breakdown of what to wear in the Hunter Show Ring:
Helmet: Best value is to go for a classic velvet helmet. Something that fits you well and looks good on you, a low profile helmet tends to look best. A classic velvet helmet will cover Hunter, Equitation, and Jumpers. The Microsuede material is acceptable, but could change as to what’s in or out.
GPA or Charles Owen is the brands to consider.
Hairnet- Always hair up and neat with a hairnet that matches your hair color. There are great new ones from RWR that many people like. A bit easier than the classic.
Earrings- You can get away with a little bigger pearl or diamond earring. But nothing crazy. Keep it simple.
Shirt: Always wear white. You can’t go wrong with white for many years. There are trends of colored shirts and patterns, etc… But if you are buying something that is a guaranteed classic- go with a white shirt. Long or short sleeve is fine- you might want to have both if you plan to show in the cooler weather and need more layers. I think most people go for the short sleeve version.
Monogrammed collars- are out. Pins are out. Grace mentioned that there maybe be some old fashion riders in the show ring that can pull it off, but just go for a plain collar at the moment with nothing on it- its’ the classic standard.
Jacket: Always plain black or dark navy. There are patterns within the coats, but really plain is better for the long term value.
* Dark green has been trying to make a comeback, but as Grace said – “you have to be perfect to pull that off.” Make sure the arms are long enough and it fits right. You can never ever go wrong with a classic good fitting coat.
Brands to look for: Starting out- really whatever fits you best within your budget, is the best choice. But RJ Classics is a big show ring brand and Ariat is making it’s way into the inner circle.
Gloves- Plain Black- whatever fits & is comfortable. This is where you could go cheaper.
Breeches: Plain tan. Tailored Sportsman is the classic classic brand that will always been accepted in the show ring. They are also a good investment piece if you decide that the show ring isn’t for you- they hold their value for consignment. Ariat is also acceptable, but again go for the classics.
Belt- Plain belt, you can get away with a horsey buckle as long as its not too big.
Boots: Lots of brands to choose from. A Field boot only- no dress boots. Keep your eye out for the consignment area. To start out, Ariat or TredStep seem to be the best fitting, best value, most acceptable brands.
But Grace hit the nail on the head- “It really doesn’t matter what the brand is:
Here’s Grace’s simple breakdown between Hunter & Equitation Wear:
Equitation- Plain is better. Always dark coat-Navy or Black. White Show Shirt. Plain Helmet.
Hunter- Don’t take away from the entire look. There is a little bit of individuality that can be expressed, such as a green show coat or the top of boots are a different leather. These trends change so be on top of what’s in and what’s out.
But if you don’t want to make a mistake- classic classic classic is the best investment.
/dɪˈkɒlətɑːʒ/ (or décolleté, its adjectival form, in current French) is the upper part of a woman’s torso, between her waist and neck, comprising her neck, shoulders, back and chest, that is exposed by the neckline of her clothing.(Ref. Wikipedia)
I remember a while ago, watching the Style Network( an American TV channel) as they interviewed Donna Karen. Donna Karan, also known under the alias “DK”, is an American fashion designer and the creator of the Donna Karan New York and DKNY clothing labels.
She talked about how most of her designs were focused around the decolletage. In her mind, that is one of the most beautiful parts of a woman’s body. It’s an incredible feminine part that should be decorated, as she described.
Here is an example of Donna Karen herself decorated!
Which brings me to my point- Protect your Decolletage!
Unfortunitaly, the decolletage, left uncared for and ignored will show early signs of age! Putting sunscreen on just when you are vacation is not enough! Forgetting a couple key places on your body while out in the barn or riding can really get ya earlier than most women.
Asides from protecting your face, there are two other places that should not be forgotten!
#1- Protect your Decolletage!
Remember to put ample amounts of sunscreen on your chest. It gets hit with the sun as much, if not more, than your face when riding. It also shows signs of aging much quicker than other parts that have been exposed to the sun just as much. With age, that area becomes less elastic and tends to get damaged more. This is why that part of your body might look 10 years older than you, depending on how many tank tops you wore as a teen out in the barn!
Second place- The tops of your hands!
The #1 location that I hear older women complain about is their hands! I can’t tell you how many women complain about the tops of their hands and how OLD they look! Especially equestrians, we work with our hands and the tops of them are constantly being exposed to the elements. Whether you wear gloves, riding or not, put the first and last bits of sunscreen on the tops of your hands.
I think most people by now are protecting their faces pretty well. There’s been enough dermatologists out there screaming about putting sunscreen on your face, wearing sunglasses, and a good brimmed hat at all times. I know we all tend not to listen to them screaming till we start to see some wrinkles on our face, but it’s never too late to start!
Whether you are destructive or can be careful, get some really awesome sunglasses! Bring an honest friend with you and shop for some sunglasses that make you look HOT! It doesn’t matter if you get one great pair that you promise to protect and care for that was an investment piece or you find a cheap pair that you buy 4 pairs of!
Get ones that protect you and that you look great in! Because most of the time, the sunglasses don’t come off!
Also look for some great hats as well. Ones you like to wear. Ok, so many of you have a couple of ratty baseball caps that have horse snot, slobber, and hair on it as well as your blood, sweat and tears in the barn or on a hook by the door that leads towards the barn. My advice is to also invest in a couple of cute hats as well. For in between going from the barn to other places! If your hair is already up because of riding and barn work and has formed to your helmet- putting on a clean cute hat after that barn is a great transition. No one will ever notice that you just came to the barn!
The equestrian look is always in! As long as you spruce it up a little from barn to public.
Mix or Match- below is probably most equestrianista’s barn outfits to go riding in?
A quick change of yucky barn boots – it you have time. A dry clean top, lip gloss, deodorant, a cute jacket or cardigan and a new, non gunked up hat. Mix & Match as you please to suit your discipline and style.
Whether you are in summer or winter- look for some pretty peach accessories to brighten up your day! For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, you are yearning for the winter vortex to be over and looking towards colors to brighten your day! In the Southern Hemisphere you are entering the dead heat of summer and look for some cooler colors as you can’t wait for fall!
Peach is the perfect color for right now!
You can add peach to your cheeks, lips, and/or eyes!
A peach scarf will become one of your favorite go-to accessory in your Rider on the Go bag!
Look for a pair of peach pumps! They will elongate your legs when wearing a dress!
Some rose gold jewelry, like a watch, necklace or hair clip is always nice to add peach and sparkle!
The key to this all is to find pieces that go well together, you feel great in = you look great in, & that no one would ever suspect that you only spent $20 on supplies!
I was recently invited to go to the Bunbury Races, one of Western Aus leading race clubs, to watch local races & celebrate the Melbourne Cup- the premier race in Australia!
The problem was, I just mailed back a box of dresses and other items that I didn’t expect that I needed! Of course two weeks later, I’m invited to go to the races! Eeeckkk!!!! The same question that most of us ask at least once a day:
What can I wear and still look great?
So basic pieces that are needed: A dress, great shoes, horsey accessories, and a great hat or fascinator.
Here are my suggestions when you are on a budget & time restraint, but still want to go have fun and look great!
Thankfully I kept one dress with me. A colorful simple dress that can be dressed up.
I put on my bit belt and some good equestrian bracelets- my Spur bracelet and a leather bracelet made out of my old eventing clincher browband that JLR Leathers made for me.
Click on the picture to shop for your own spur bracelet!
Click on the picture to check out all of JLR Leather items.
Then I borrowed really great heels from a friend- they were silk tie-died with some oranges, tans, greens and yellows. Unfortunately they were ever so slightly too big, so I had to resort to simple thin black flip flops. I had thought of putting heel stuffers in them, but decided they still wouldn’t fit right and in the grass, I might twist an ankle trying to manage!
On to something for my head! I had a corn blue sun hat, but I thought there was just too much color with the dress. So I went to the local florist to look for a great flower to make into a fascinator! I found this great big off-white peony silk flower! My friend had some peacock feathers that I added. I took a hair clip and some super super glue and arranged the flower and feathers.
I put my hair up since it was going to be a bit windy that day. Just simple twists on the sides coming together in an off center bun with some added bobby pins to keep my hair down. I placed the fasciniator off center above the bun.
Of course I my ride came early, so I will admit it- I put my makeup in the car using my camera on my phone! Glad I‘m an efficient horse girl!
My total that I spent was $20 on a big silk flower peony. Just goes to show you, you can put an outfit together, look great and not have to spend a lot of time or money on it!
To all of you from all of my interviews of top riders that are equestrianista’s-
You can never go wrong with: Good basic pieces & fun horsey accessories
Click on picture to find out where to buy these items.
If you are looking for something more than that, think about some great basics that they can used many different times in their next stage of life. How about something horsey, functional, and fabulous to work with???
Or what about some classic basic pieces to wear? Below are great basic pieces. I picked these because all of them can be worn in multiple situations and several of them have multiple style options- Like the Barbour trench that is reversible or the Lilo scarf that can be worn around your neck or as a belt!
Add a little style in from what’s trending but make it practical, easy, and equestrian friendly:
Here are my interpretations of what’s in right now! These are things to add to your Rider on the Go bag, be aware of items in your closet, and keep an eye out for something to pick up at one of your favorite stores!
Florals and flowers are still in!
How to get that look? Look for a bold floral print, flowers in your hair, a floral scarf or dress.
Whether your a flower person or not, they are in. Do you have any florals in your closet? Well, bring them out! The easiest way to add some flowers into your wardrobe is to find some usable accessories. My “go to” store to find trendy inexpensive items is Target. Every country has a Target type store.
Grab a floral scarf that you can wear while riding or throw in your Rider on the Go bag.
There are some fun floral hats. Being a rider, a hat of some sort is a must. You need to remember to protect your face and your skin from the sun.
Flower hair pieces are also easy. You always need a way to put your hair back together again!
A floral bag is a different way to add some color!
A blousey floral top is a great way to go. If you’re riding in a tank top or a short sleeve shirt, once you’re done, just throw on a floral blousey top to cover up the dirt and sweat!
Don’t stress about coordinating colors, since florals are so colorful anyway, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing!
If you want to add a floral into your basics: Try a great pair of floral cowboy boots! I bet you’ll get tons of compliments.
Whites and bold prints are in but they are a little tricky when it comes to working in the barn and riding! However, you can do it, I know you can!
A trendy hat to protect your face is a great way to add white and bold patterns.
A white belt is something easy to do and can be used multiple times!
One of the easiest things is a dress. When you are done at the barn, throw on a comfy cotton dress and flip flops, add a belt at the waist and you’re looking like you’re ready for the sidelines vs mucking stalls! It’s like wearing pajamas and slippers! Why wouldn’t you want to put a dress on when you look at it that way? Find a bold print dress and cute flip flops to put on after the barn!
Neon has been hot since last year. Now that we are getting into summer, this look is coming back. Stylists suggest this year to add neons with neutrals. If you’re not a neon fan, then pick a color that you love, like blue. Look for a bright blue to be trendy.
Bright accessories are easy to keep up with things that are trending.
Try bright nail polish! That is a very inexpensive option and you can take it off or put it on anytime you want!
What to do with accessories or hair???
Do something different with your hair.
Add flowers to your hair or a hat.
Anchor your outfit with a bold statement necklace.
To start with: Check the weather before you leave. Right now the weather looks varied. In the low 60′s, with sun, wind and chances of rain at times. Typical Eventing weather that all of us are used to by now!
So pack your typical eventing/ english countryside wear:
In my bag:
Several types of tops with different warmths to them
A couple pairs of jeans
Alternative footwear, maybe a pair of flats or fun cowboy boots
A vest if probably a good idea- especially for the crisp mornings
A trench coat or oilskin will break the wind and rain
A hat or two
Absolutely pack your brown river boots or rubber wellies
And of course fun accessories: several brightly colored scarves and some cool horsey bracelets!
For the day:
Pack a larger bag or purse. This will allow you to cart around any layers that you have and any treasures you find at the shopping vendor village!
A big bright white smile always looks great! White legs at jog-out…they are less desired. I should know, I have some stellar white legs from years of riding during the summer!
Here is my tip:
Count back 15 days prior to your big event and pick up these items. Start your crest white strips. You can put the strips in while you shower or whenever. There is nothing better than a competitor that is smiling and feels good on the inside and out!
If you do choose a self tanner to tame those wild white legs of yours…Remember to exfoliate and moisturize prior to applying the self tanner. This will give you a more even tan. Experiment prior to applying for the big event! The more comfortable you get with a self-tanner and find out what works for you, the better. I really like these towels. I have used them before- they are easy to apply, no mess, easy clean up and the application is even with very little streaks.
Another equestrianista friend just told me about jergens foam tanner. She’s got white white skin too and is very happy with that product as well! Not the lotion, the foam…