The worlds of equestrians and fashionistas have long overlapped. Highlights of the past 100 years of equestrian fashion include the elegant skirts of women riding sidesaddle, the hats Coco Chanel designed for her equestrian friends, and the 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, Saint John and other designers are back on the equestrian bandwagon — peppering their collections with high-end boots, horse-inspired prints and blazers.
The good news is, you don’t need a Chanel-sized budget to get in on the elegant equestrian trend. Here’s a look at some high-design equestrian pieces and inexpensive options you can work into your outfit.
Designer and budget equestrian fashion staples
The main parts of an equestrian competitor are boots, breeches, show shirts and show coats. Fashionistas transform that uniform into wearable, everyday fashion looks with tall or ankle boots, skinny pants, blouses and blazers.
1. Ankle boots
A true horsewoman wears fitted, soft leather boots that go right up to the knee. Less expensive fashion riding boots are usually wide around the calf and may be decorated with a buckle or other embellishments.
For warmer weather, paddock or ankle boots are also a great option. Any chunky ankle boot will do, but if you want a truly equestrian look, find a pair of lace-up paddock boots.
2. Patterned blouse
A competitive equestrian will 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).
Horsegirls wear their competition jackets to show coats (or hunt coats if you rode in the 80s). Fashion girls dodge 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. It’s a creative departure from the real thing, but that’s okay. A patterned blazer definitely adds more interest to your outfit.
Breeches (or leggings)
Yes, you can buy riding pants (aka breeches) on Amazon for around $50. But these low-cost options can be guaranteed to be poorly made and unattractive. The riding pants people actually wear in the show ring range in price from $100 to nearly $400. Equiline is a brand that is particularly popular.
A more wearable option (which provides a similar look) would be a heavy pair of leggings or even a pair of neutral skinny pants. Even better if you can find a pant with a suede knee patch.
Put them all together
There are two main rules to follow when putting together an equestrian-inspired outfit:
- Don’t go full horseback riding unless you’re actually going to ride a horse. You’ll look a bit silly if you throw every equestrian-looking thing you own into one outfit. Instead, layer your equestrian pieces over skinny pants. Most of the time, you’ll probably want to keep your shirt off.
- Accessorize. A bold necklace, scarf, or necklace is a great choice, but choose just one.
Think you’re ready to put your own spin on equestrian fashion?