Riding boots, gloves, and belts are easy to work into a non-equestrian wardrobe but what of the other fashion your local saddle shop has to offer? Here are some tips and ideas for getting the most out of this slightly unconventional shopping venue:
Jodhpurs (or breeches) –they’re as comfortable as your favorite pair of skinny jeans but more substantial and, well, expensive-looking than basic cotton leggings. Ralph Lauren sells a fashion version for $800 but you can get the real thing for a quarter of that or less at a saddle shop. For urban use, avoid what are called ‘full seat’ varieties where suede covers your bum and inner thighs (good for sticking to a saddle, weird for riding the subway). If you’re buying online, make sure your selection doesn’t end at mid-calf unless you only intend to wear them with tall boots.
Show shirts – if you lose the monogrammed choker, the equestrian’s dress shirt can be an interesting alternative to a regular button-down. Riding apparel companies typically offer quiet, traditional colors and patterns, but some are getting creative with the details that go unseen in the show arena (see right). Though fitted in torso, these shirts offer great range of motion.
Hunt coats – often quite retro-looking thanks to their three-button design, this style of jacket looks more contemporary and fresh when styled with less conservative pieces. If you can work your way around a vintage shop, you’ll easily see the possibilities with the hunt coat’s vaguely 1940s/50s appeal.
Unless you’re planning on actually riding in a horse show, it’s best to avoid a head-to-toe saddle shop look. Choose one or two very equestrian pieces and style with your usual wardrobe to avoid looking like you’re in costume or revealing that you have a very theatrical private life. Here’s how I go about bringing the stable to the city:
Top: Illustration by Michelle Ricks, Photos: Don Rosario via Irish Dressage, Greene Street – Soho, New York via iStockphoto, Shirt: Essex Performance “Nips Claremont” Wrap Collar Show Shirt – $114 at Equestrian Collections
Above: J.Crew Houndstooth Moore Blazer – $395 at J.Crew, Boy Shirt in Check Thomas Mason Fabric – $152 at J.Crew, Tailored Sportsman Hunter Low-Rise Breeches – $159.90 at Dover Saddlery, Ariat Crowne Field Boots – $399.90 at Dover Saddlery, Madewell New York City Scarf – $58 at Shopbop.com, Cutler and Gross Sunglasses – $420 at J.Crew, Ben-Amun Thick Bug and Crystal Necklace – $220 at Max and Chloe, Resin Colorblock Bracelet – $68 at J.Crew, Alexander McQueen Wicca Mini Leather Satchel – $1095 at Net-A-Porter