The HNH Sanctuary took my life by surprise. I had always dreamed of being a breeder and showing the Grand Prixs, up until the moment I fell in love with Autumn’s determination and spirit. Because of her, I dropped my own progress in the saddle to make advancement in my understanding of horsemanship and horse care, for her benefit. I do not regret a single second of it, but I cannot help but to laugh at my gorgeous show gear, tags on, in my closet. Life is beautifully funny like that sometimes. A moment that could have been a “what did I miss out on?” really just reminded me of how blessed this special journey has been. So, long story short, instead of my clothing wasting way in my closet, I decided to play dress up in the most glamorous gear I own! You’re never too old for dress up, right?
To start, comfort is always my main priority when it comes to anything I wear. You can ask anyone that knows me personally, I rather wear a sweatshirt than anything else. So, when it came to selecting show wear, my instinct was to find the most comfortable, breathable fabrics and cuts that I could.
ROMFH is my go-to, all time favorite for breeches. No other breech has show my body as much love as these have! Since going vegetarian and getting older, my body shape has changed quite a bit, but of course, ROMFH has something for that. The Isabelle breech, retailing $190, is become my staple for every riding outfit because no other cut fits me quite the way these do! Now, I can’t wear any other style without feeling naked. The Softtouch, fabric is a must have for show day. It is stretchy in all directions and breathable, especially in hot weather. Unlike most other breeches, they feel thin, but don’t show the hated faint panty line or a sheen of skin color beneath the breech fabric. Nothing is more frustrating to me than a breech that shows too much to the judges. Luckily, the Isabelle breeches cover everything well, including my stomach. At first, I wasn’t a fan of high waisted anything, let alone breeches. Then I discovered, I could eat food without feeling like my stomach was about to pop over the edge (I love food). Its weird, I know, but I have to eat before riding to feel my best and nothing feels worse than a waistband digging into my full stomach. The Isabelle cut is high waisted with a three button clasp zone. This not only looks nice, but it also makes you feel comfortable by limiting any pressure points, unlike some other breeches that are only about style, instead of comfort and functionality. This means you can stay full and hydrated all day at shows. No compromising health for comfort. The silicone full seat is another massive comfort point for me. I personally like having the closest contact possible in the saddle. When breech companies add a thick piece of felt to my inner thighs and seat, I feel like I am loosing a bit of connection, not to mention, it also feels like what I imagine a diaper would. Another big pet peeve this design concurs is the “gap.” When you have a smaller waist, but a fuller seat, you have to either compromise the fit of your waistband or the ability to move in your legs or bum. My personal compromise is the waistband, but traditionally, that makes for a plethora of problems. Waistbands are often so stiff in other breeches that I get a massive gap out the small of my back, which is honestly quite distracting as well as annoying; When there is nothing holding a shirt down, there is nowhere for your shirt to go other than out to top of your breeches. Talk about getting docked points because of a shirt ducktail. Some thinner fabric breeches do the opposite, as they bunch up and create a “ruffle” of extra fabric at any point along the waistline. Ruffles belong in a chip bag and in my mouth, not underneath my belt.
Speaking of belts, this look is sporting another all time favorite, the Classic Unbelt (retails $40). In the past, I have tried belts that attempt to do what this belt does seamlessly, make an adjustable, flexible belt. This sleek design is formfitting and extremely forgiving. I need not to worry about the “gap” out the back because a flexible belt will not pitch a tent off of me. This belt also stands for everything I personally believe in and stick to when purchasing. Outside of equestrian fashion, I only buy clothing and goods that are fair trade, sustainable, and vegan. Why? Because intentionally purchasing is the best way to influence the spectrum of inequality in the market place. Don’t want unfair pay, inadequate working conditions, exploitation of people, etc.? Don’t buy from companies that make money that way. Unbelt is a B certified corporation that ensures fair working conditions and pay, along with less than 3,000 other companies like Patagonia and Kickstarter. They also belong to other programs like 1% for The Planet, Fashion Revolution, and Fashion Takes Action, all of which are progressive programs that support companies that work for sustainability and equality in the work place and for the environment (click HERE for more information on these programs). Unbelt is one of the very few companies that has broken into the equestrian industry with good intentions. A goal of mine for 2019 is to support companies that are doing more for the future of our planet and the people they reach. The problem is, there are very few companies publicly making strides in this way that my equine options are limited. Luckily, as Unbelt grows, so will their influence and hopefully more companies will follow suit.
This second hand purchase was the most fantastic pick up I have had in a long time, a Street and Saddle ShowStopper shirt! There aren’t a lot of details on the site any longer, but from what I have collected, it seems like the grey of the shirt is a bamboo rayon blend with a white, linen front. This design really impressed me as the fit is comfortable and ultra breathable, it honestly felt like a vintage, broken-in teeshirt. This smaller company is very intentional with it’s smaller batch items and what fabrics they use. With every item they make, the ensure a style, cut, and fit in fabrics that last a lifetime. This is something I deeply appreciate about this brand, the intentionality behind every garment allows for an intimacy and love behind the craft for every customer. Not to mention that small batch products help to eliminate surplus items and waste, helping to keep costs low and suitability high.
The Show Coat
Since coming into the equine fashion world, I have been obsessed with Cavalleria Toscana’s elegant style and striking fits. I am a very color neutral person that appreciates a brand with sophisticated selection of color schemes. Saturated hues and cool tones with off set of underlying colors really make my heart melt. So, when I found this show coat, I fell in love with the deep grey-green color…Then I put it on; it was magic. I have a very petite and athletic body type which is difficult to fit. But, when I put this one on, I immediately knew it was the right coat. We all should have this feeling at least once in our lives, where everything hits in exactly the right spots and makes you feel empowered. I felt like I could not only take on any level of jumping in this jacket, but also rule a board room. Tailoring done well with quality to match, this coat is epically sophisticated and an eloquent statement for the jumper ring and because I am so short, I could even pull it off for the hunter ring too. Between the mesh lining and the textured collar, the little thoughts they out into the look makes an impactful statement. Not to mention, this coat is tastefully branded with the Cavalleria Toscana emblem on the shoulder so everyone knows the brand of coat the looks this good. Sadly, though, this coat has been sitting with it’s $650 tag on (I got a great deal on it, more than half off). At least it is getting a debut on Tailored mane! Not exactly Thermal, but I am still happy with it!
The Take Away
At the end of the day, showing should be about feeling comfortable while looking your best. Never be afraid to save up for something nice for yourself, even if it means sporting second-hand gear. And if you don’t show, that will never make you less of an equestrian. My life, for now, does not include showing, but I am more of a horsewoman than I ever have been before. Just feel empowered with your choices this year!