This hairnet was one of the most commonly mentioned with regard to a major fashion faux pas in the horse show arena.

Fashion Police: What Not to Wear – Horse Show Edition

If you have been showing horses for any amount of time, you have undoubtedly stumbled upon old pictures that include questionable fashion choices. While great memories came flooding back, you probably looked at what you were wearing and thought, “What was I thinking?”

Though fashion is not an exact science and people can represent their own unique and individual personalities by the way they dress, not every fashion style suits every person.

With the Level 1 Championships done, we are sure spectators and exhibitors saw specific fashion no-no’s that they disliked for various reasons.

As part of Fashion Month at GoHorseShow, we asked several fashion experts, trainers and exhibitors what they would NOT recommend wearing in the show arena. Starting with the experts…

Beckie Peskin of On Pattern Designs – To me, the biggest fashion faux pas is ill-fitting, yet very fancy clothing. I’m not just talking about growing kids. I think everyone gives them a bit of a pass. I see way too many fancy outfits – some well made, some not as well made – that just don’t fit. Too long, too short, too small, too big….fit has to be the priority. I make show clothes, so I love intricate, beautifully designed pieces. But, I would rather see someone in a plain shirt with well-fitted chaps and hat or a beautifully fitting suit in the showmanship than someone wearing a $5,000 shirt/jacket that doesn’t fit.

Also, it is important to choose things that fit your body style. I’m a mom in my forties. I don’t have to figure to wear some of the things I wore in my 20’s even if it’s the hot new style. If it’s not right for me, I am better off to defer to something more classic. An excellent example of this is a true bolero length vest. A classic bolero ends noticeably above the waist…that’s just not a section that everyone wants to draw attention to. Adding a few inches to that vest and making sure it comes across the top of your chaps can be much more slimming.

Wendy Brown of Show Me Again – My biggest pet peeve is seeing clothes that don’t fit properly. Secondly, would be an outfit embellished with too many oversized elements that it makes the rider look bulky. I would rather see a refined, properly fitted outfit that flatters the equestrian.

Shorty Koger of Shorty’s Caboy Hattery – Don’t go in the arena with an ugly hat. The shape is essential, and it needs to look professional, clean and have eye appeal. It is your first impression when you enter the arena.




Taylor Gumz of LuxLooks – Don’t skip out on alterations. There is a fine line between too big and too small. Often, sending the outfit back to the designer for a tweak here and there makes all the difference. Here at LuxLooks, we offer free alterations on new items. I’ve noticed, especially in the showmanship classes, that the garment will look and fit beautifully from a front view, but looking from the side, the arms seem loose. It is essential not only to ask for the bodice measurements but also ask for the biceps.


Elizabeth “Spike” Brewer of Boo Yah Custom Clothing

Fashion pet peeves:
1. Rust breeches in the hunt seat.
2. Bling/sparkles on your hunt collar
3. If someone has a $15,000 brand new Harris or Blue Ribbon saddle, a $5,000 jacket/vest and then, an inexpensive, low-quality pad, that blows my mind. If you have the means to afford the top-shelf saddle and outfit, never skimp on finishing your look with a quality pad like a Golden West or a Show N Tell.

Brian Isbell – Never wear a straw hat inside regardless the time of year. No fringe on showmanship outfits. No pastels for anyone over 13. No slick chaps or ill-fitting chaps. No glitz on English attire and I hate gloves on men in the hunt seat.


Brandy Baldwin Bunting – I am personally not a fan of the decorative hair nets people put over their hair. I am not talking about a thin hairnet that is used to hold a bun but the ones that look like they are crocheted. Short pants is another thing that annoys me.




Ashley Hadlock – I’ve always thought show clothes style and color is based a lot on personal preference. Some people prefer lots of glitz and sparkles while others prefer more of the crisply tailored suit with little to no sparkles. Either is acceptable, but I do feel no matter what your style is, it must fit properly. For example, pants in the showmanship and halter must be proper length and hemmed neatly along with clean boots. Clothes always need to be clean. Hats also need to be clean with an appropriate shape. Hair always needs to be back nicely without fly away; hair spray is still a must. No matter what, always wear something that makes you feel your best and compliments well with your horse.


Hayley Riddle – I’m all about being different and having creative outfits, but I like to keep the variety and creativeness away from show hats. Personally, I don’t like the show hats that have cowhide, patterns, or really anything on them. I don’t mind the trim being sometimes colored, but the sides and top I think should stay plain, especially in horsemanship. I’ve also seen some people wear boots that have multi colors or patterns. I know you don’t see the boots that much, but I think they should be a solid color when you show.


Amy Groefsema – For me, I don’t like anything baggy and saggy. I love the look of all the collared shirts out there, primarily by Winning Couture and Show Me Again because they are fitted and have fun collars and cuffs that you can customize. But baggy, ill-fitting shirts take away from the look. For chaps, I don’t like saggy chaps. I think they look best when they cover the belt and fit snugly. As far as patterns, I love symmetry and simplicity with a lot of bling, like my Lindsey James showmanship. But I also love my edgy D Designs jacket with spikes and chains. The bottom line is that your personality should come out in your wardrobe because so will your confidence and that’s what completes the whole picture.


Carrie Warren – My biggest Fashion YUCK is in western pleasure or horsemanship when anyone wears a rhinestone or embellished belt. It just is not a good look and ruins the whole clean lines, even if they have bling on their top – don’t do it. Another personal NOT would be for any adult – Amateur or Select to wear white or very light colored chaps. It takes away from the horse and lets face it- they re going to get dirty and then they will look worse.




Dakota Diamond Griffith – No large buns with thick hair nets. Thin, see-through hair nets for western only. In the English, NO BUNS and use one-knot hair nets for a smooth, controlled style.








Meghan Tierney – I don’t have much of a preference as to what people should and shouldn’t wear, just as long as they like it and that style makes them feel confident. If I had to point out a fashion faux pas, I would stress the fit of the garment. It doesn’t matter if it’s the most expensive outfit, or if it’s the prettiest pattern, it needs to be appropriately tailored to be appreciated.


Kim Guenther
– I think in general, we are too critical of each other’s appearance, so it’s a tough question to answer. I hate to admit some of my “peeves” and have a reader wearing just that. But, I indeed hand out a lot of candid advice to my sister when we are shopping for horse show clothes, so I will share with you the kinds of things I say to her. As an amateur, I tell her to avoid color schemes that are more youth-appropriate like all red, all royal blue, or all pink head to toe. Also, I’m not a huge fan of the heavily embellished hats. We always try them on and love their look in the shops, but once I have seen them out in the show pen, it often just seems like too much for my eye. I can’t seem to get excited about the trend of ladies wearing extremely fitted showmanship pants, either. I realize it’s becoming quite popular in the showmanship pen, but it’s not my personal preference.

Tony Anderman – I think something often overlooked is the fit of pants in showmanship. Most people are more concerned with how their jacket looks, forgetting that their pants are where the majority of movement happens in the class. Pants should be neither too tight or too lose, but what is most distracting to me is when they are too short.




Angela Fox – I try to stick to show clothes that aren’t too trendy. Especially for the hunt seat. I prefer and almost always wear a traditional dark coat with a white shirt. For the horsemanship and showmanship, I would say adequately tailored clothes are most important. There are many different styles and price ranges when talking about show clothes, but to me, the most critical piece is that they fit well and compliment your body style.

Lauren Stanley – What not to wear in the show pen…the list could go on! The most significant fashion faux pas you could commit in my opinion is wearing ill-fitting clothing. Clothes that flatter and form to your body make you appear instantly more confident. It gives off the vibe of  “I care about myself, and I care about how I’m presenting myself to you.” You would never send your horse into the pen with an ill-fitting halter or saddle, so why should your presentation be any different?




Meg Depalma-Whelan – White hats… just don’t do white hats!








Jamie Radebaugh Devoe – Bright colored hats, especially when they don’t match the outfit perfectly. If they are darker and more subtle like a dark gray or navy, I can tolerate it, but I have a hard time with the bright ones.






Melissa Zanetti – Those black or white coarse hairnets with bows already attached. Aaaack!





Ali Hubbell
– Hmmm… white pants and hoop earrings.






Scott Reinartz – I don’t care for sparkles on hats and tack or see-through material.






Brittany Morgan – For me, showmanship pants that are too short.







Hillary Roberts – I think as long as your outfit fits correctly, is clean and meets the association’s requirements, rock whatever makes you feel confident and happy. A well-shaped hat goes a long way. I love to see people wearing what they like, regardless of the style.





Anthony Leier – I don’t like seeing a showmanship jacket in the longe line classes. It’s mainly about the horse, not the exhibitor so keep it classy and neutral with a suit jacket.







What are your major fashion no no’s in the show arena? Let us know!