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Fashion Style Predictions for 2020


From iconic runways in Milan to New York Fashion Week, style is something that connects people from all over the world. Horse show fashion does the same thing – it brings people together over a shared passion.

Trends in the show pen are continually changing. Stripes, fitted day shirts, decked out jackets…the list goes on and on. Fashion is an expression of an exhibitor’s personality and creativity.

The year 2020 is the start of not only a new year, but a new decade. What will this mean for the show ring style? We talked to designers and clothing business owners about their predictions of the clothes you will see around the show pen.

Emerging trends

The central theme of the fashion predictions for 2020 is individuality. Designers are projecting for many exhibitors to step out of their comfort zones. Lindsay Klempel, of Silver Lining Apparel, states, “I think the collared shirts in different prints and fabrics will be big. Last year, we saw the stripes, this year, I think people are looking for even more ways to make that look unique.”

An exhibitor’s uniqueness can be shown in a multitude of ways; patterned materials, fitted button-ups, blingy designs, the list is endless. Wendy Brown of Show Me Again adds, “I expect fine fabrics such as houndstooth and retro designs with whipstitch to be classic options that will remain in style for a long while. Also, to see a combination of many of these elements and fabrics incorporated into the 2020 designs.”

Carrie Bachey of Just Peachy Show Clothing emphasizes the importance of quality, “My advice to anyone shopping for new show clothing in 2020 would be to remember this: “quality remains long after the price tag fades.” Investing in quality not only helps you look and feel your best while in the arena, but also provides the highest return on that investment when the time comes to resell.

Investing in a well-made item helps an exhibitor in the present and the long run. “Quality” does not always mean a $5,000 custom jacket. Many fabulous designers have quality clothes available within all price points.

Vests are expected to stick around, especially the boleros. Exhibitors often pair vests with a coordinated shirt to stand out in the show pen. Brown adds, “Boleros continue to be popular options as the coordinated shirt can be worn alone or with the vest for two different presentations. Full-sized vests are still in demand for those who don’t care for the look or fit of the bolero on their body type.” 

Fading fads

New trends appear just as quickly as old ones begin to fade. The most significant shift that Brown has noticed is the new prioritization of comfort in the show pen. She states, “The most common complaint I’ve heard is about the price and weight of the heavier jackets with oversized elements. While the bling is not vanishing, it is shifting as exhibitors are demanding comfort.”

This shift does not mean that blingy jackets are going to leave the scene. They are a staple sure to be seen at every major event.

Wendy adds, “Jackets will always be in style for formal shows. While I believe most exhibitors will continue to wear spectacular crystal designs for World caliber shows, “day” shirts for a frequent weekend showing will dominate.”  Exhibitors currently love the lightweight, comfortable day shirts. This shift from heavy material to lighter material for comfort is a continued trend projected for 2020.

Exhibitors are also going for more unique looks in the show pen to break away from the status quo. Klempel states, “I feel like when a trend becomes so popular that you almost see too much of it, those are the looks that I believe will start to fade out. Most riders want to find a somewhat unique look.” In 2020, prepare to see some new patterns, materials, and styles around the arena.

Show style now vs. previous years

The scene of fashion in the arena has changed drastically throughout the years. Vibrant colors have become quite popular, along with exciting designs. Bachey adds, “Colors seem to be making their way back to the pen after a few year hiatus, and I couldn’t be more excited. I think we will see designers pushing creative boundaries with new colors and textures being used in ways we haven’t seen before.”

Variety has also become a significant factor. Exhibitors wear everything from elegantly decked out showmanship jackets to classy, well-fitted suits. This array of choices is what makes style exciting and fun to talk about.

Kempel adds, “Show clothes are exciting right now. It wasn’t that many years ago, you saw only vests in the pen, then a few years later only jackets.  Right now, there are so many looks from bolero vests in all lengths to plain shirts.  I think 2020 will bring even more diversity. I’m excited to see riders continue to branch out.”  

Confidence is always in style

Horse show fashion is exciting to discuss and create, but it all breaks down to what makes an exhibitor feel confident. Whether that be a bolero with bold geometric designs or a simply sophisticated suit in the showmanship, proudly expressing one’s personality is vital.

Bachey adds, Wear what makes YOU feel special when you put it on.  Your outfit will never win a class for you, but there is something to be said for the confidence you feel on the inside when you know you look great on the outside.

 A content, proud exhibitor shines in the arena more than crystals ever could. Confidence is something that will never go out of style, both in the show pen and in everyday fashion.


About the Author: Cat Guenther is a devout equestrian and a freshman at Michigan State University. She has been riding horses for almost ten years and has loved every minute of it. Cat started and runs her successful show clothing business, Behind the Bit Show Clothing. She loves to show the all-around classes with her beloved horse, Zippos Kat Man Do, aka Teddy. Her favorite classes are horsemanship, showmanship, and trail. She is currently on a Pre-Veterinary track and also hopes to study business.

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