The worlds of the equestrian and the fashionista have long overlapped. The highlights of the last 100 years of equestrian fashion include the elegant skirts of women riding sidesaddle, the hats Coco Chanel designed for her equestrian friends, and jodhpurs worn by runway models at Tory Burch’s NYFW Fall ’16 Show.
Fast forward to the fall and winter of 2022 and Burberry, Gucci, St. John, and other designers are on the equestrian bandwagon again — with high-end boots, horse-inspired prints, and blazers peppering their collections.
The good news is, you don’t need a Chanel-sized budget to step into the elegant equestrian trend. Here’s a look at a few high-design equestrian pieces and cheaper options you can work into your own wardrobe.
Designer and budget equestrian fashion staples
The core horseback riding clothes (at least for the hunter/jumper competitor) are boots, breeches, show shirts, and show coats. Fashionistas convert that uniform into a wearable, everyday fashion look with tall or ankle boots, skinny pants, blouse, and blazer.
1. Ankle boots
A true horsewoman wears fitted, soft leather boots that top out just at the knee. The less expensive fashion riding boots generally fit wide around the calf and may be adorned with a buckle or other embellishments.
For warmer weather, paddock or ankle boots are a nice option too. Any chunky ankle boots will do, but if you want a real equestrian look, find a pair of lace-up paddock boots.
2. Patterned blouse
A competing equestrian would traditionally wear a white, collared blouse or top. But the fashionista version of the equestrian top can be a more interesting pattern featuring horse-related shapes (things like stirrups and bit designs).
Horsey girls call their competition jackets show coats (or hunt coats if you rode in the ’80s). Fashion girls dupe the look with a smart blazer.
You can wear any single-button blazer from your closet. Or, if you’re looking for a new investment piece, go with this version of equestrian fashion — the plaid or patterned blazer. This is a creative departure from the real thing, but that’s OK. A patterned blazer adds more interest to your wardrobe for sure.
Breeches (or leggings)
Yes, you can buy riding pants (aka breeches) for about $50 on Amazon. But these low-priced options are likely to be poorly made and guaranteed to be unflattering. The riding pants people actually wear in the show ring range in price from $100 up to about $400. Equiline is a brand that’s particularly popular.
A more wearable option (that delivers a similar look) would be a heavier pair of leggings or even a neutral skinny pant. Even better if you can find a pant with a suede knee patch.
Putting it all together
There are two major rules to follow when putting together an equestrian-inspired outfit:
- If you’re not actually going to ride a horse, don’t go full equestrian. You’ll look a little silly if you throw every equestrian-looking thing you own at one outfit. Instead, build your equestrian pieces on top of skinny pants. Most of the time, you’ll probably want to keep your shirt untucked.
- Accessorize. A bold necklace, scarf or necklace are great choices, but choose only one of these.
You feel ready to put your own spin on equestrian fashion?