How to: Equestrian Fashion on a Budget

This post is sponsored by Grand National Ladies Day. All opinions are my own.

I grew up riding and showing horses, and then stepped away from the sport for 20 years. I recently came back to it, and had to do a fair amount of Googling to figure out what to wear to ride a horse. (As it turns out, English riders don’t wear full chaps with fringe to the barn anymore.) It’s all inspired me to share some how-to on budget equestrian fashion.

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 — most recently —  the jodhpurs worn by runway models at Tory Burch’s NYFW Fall ’16 Show. The good news is, you don’t need a Chanel-sized spending budget to get the look.

Bring out your new sense of style at brunch with friends or an upscale event like Grand National Ladies Day – best odds & horses.

Equestrian Fashion Staples

Boots, breeches, ratcatchers, hunt coat and leather gloves. These are the core wardrobe pieces of the true equestrian’s wardrobe.

horse rider smiling

Crisp White Oxford

model wearing white oxford shirt

Merona Women’s Shirt, $22.99, Target

The fitted white shirt is a must-have for any equestrian-inspired outfit. If you have a petite frame, look for side darts (or be prepared to add your own) as you want a slim fit, not a boxy one.

Fitted Blazer

equestrian rider wearing hunt coat

R.J. Classics Prestige Show Coat, $69.99 (on sale), Dover Saddlery

Sometimes the real thing is less expensive than an inspired fake. This hunt coat from Dover Saddlery is a steal at $69.99. If you prefer a more fashion-friendly look, try this one-button option.

Breeches or Skinny Pants

A real pair of breeches is often cheaper than a good pair of skinny jeans — around $35 or so. These low-cost options will probably be ribbed and have a heavy feel to them. They’re also generally not flattering unless you are tall and thin. On the plus side, they’ll have a cool suede or suede-like patch on the inner calf.

A more wearable option (that delivers a similar look) is your favorite pair of skinny pants.


A true horsewoman wears fitted, soft leather boots that top out just at the knee. The less expensive riding boots (priced $100) or less generally fit wide around the calf and may be adorned with a buckle or other embellishments.

Journee Collection Women’s Riding Boot, $31.19,

This style does have buckles at the top, but the sexy fitted calf is worth the small departure from the traditional riding boot. Oh, and the price is right.

Dublin® Ladies’ Foundation Lace Paddock Boot, $59.99, Dover Saddlery

Paddock or ankle boots are the better option for warmer weather. Any chunky ankle boots will do, but if you want a real equestrian look, find a pair of lace-up paddock boots.

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 skinny pants and — this is important — 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?

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Catherine Brock

Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on, and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter.
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