We Ask Fashion Experts: What’s Your Favorite Current Horse Show Fashion Trend…in or out of the Arena?
Horse show fashion trends are constantly evolving in the show pen. Bolero vests, two-tone saddles, classic retro button-up shirts, the list goes on and on. There are often sentimental attachments to show clothing, whether it be a hunt coat, a pair of chaps, or even just a well-made hat. Also, it has been said that if you wait long enough – a past trend will come full circle and come back in style.
Show clothes give an exhibitor confidence to perform to the best of their ability while also highlighting self-expression. American fashion designer, Rachel Zoe says, “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”
An exquisite first impression sets the stage for the entire class. Judges notice an exhibitor who is confident in themselves and their unique style. This is of utmost importance, whether showing at a local open show or the World Show. We asked some top fashion experts and photographers about their current favorite fashion trends, both in and outside the pen.
Phil Harris of Harris Leather & Silverworks -Since I am in the saddle business, my favorite trend is in saddles and the use of 2 toned exotic types of leather, such as Croc, Ostrich, and Fish. I love how they can be accented with contrasting or complimenting textures and colors. This is a bold step forward in the look of a saddle and can set the rider and horse apart in the arena. I am also very partial to those Rios of Mercedes Pirarucu Fish skin boots. They’re so comfortable.
Judi Fairfield of Sonder Avenue – My favorite fashion trends are the loud colors, the variety of color combinations, and the color blocking used on show garments. I’ve also noticed this trend appearing more and more in horse show blankets/pads. As a designer, I’m constantly playing with color combinations and even work with Swarovski Color Specialists to get the right color combinations for the Swarovski Crystals used on my garments. Of course, the color black will always be ‘in,’ but the loud colors and variety of color combinations allow for a full spectrum of possibilities that help my clients stand out for all the right reasons. That’s why I love this trend right now.
Wendy Brown of Show Me Again – Fashion trends tend to follow a cycle and we generally see resurgences every 20 years, so it’s no surprise to see the retro styles and shirts making a comeback. I personally love the current trend giving a nod to retro western styles on the most recent trend of fitted shirts. I’ve always favored southwestern styles, but also traditional western yokes, arrows, intricate sleeve patterns, and whipstitch that exude western culture and acknowledge our heritage. Outside of the arena, you may often see me wearing a vintage denim jacket or shirt with a variety of different outfits. I love that you can dress it up or down, with a floral jumper or dress, to leggings, or jeans and tennis shoes. Denim has always been a staple in my closet.
Lisa Davis of Hitching Post of Florida – My favorite horse show trend would be trying to put together hunt seat jackets and shirts that make a statement for the exhibitors, while still staying within the guidelines of the rules. Depending on the class event, being HUS, Eq, or over fences, the rules are different. Equitation is still a traditional black jacket and white shirt, but a custom collar is acceptable. Hunter under saddle fashion can be unique, with blues, grays, and brown jackets allowed in this class. Over fence classes, I see a lot of mesh and lightweight jackets for the exhibitor. I enjoy working with all trainers and exhibitors to find their tastes in clothing.
Darin Haala of Haala Denim – My favorite horse show fashion trend for jeans is the polished and modern aesthetic with minimal branding. I like the medium to higher rise trend and believe it will stick around because of how it translates to riding. For fashion denim, I like implementing lighter-weight fabrics in relaxed and flowy fits, maybe even with color. I also like the resurgence of light washes and think they will continue to be more significant parts of spring/summer collections for the next few years.
Photographer Ali Hubbell – I love a statement sleeve in or out of the arena. Sheer, puff, embroidered…I love it all.
Elizabeth “Spike” Brewer of Boo Yah Custom Clothing – Being a hunt seat gal, I will always love a classic, yet slightly edgy hunt coat. When clients accent their coats with piping or fancy or covered buttons for their Hunter Under Saddle horse, I love this trend and feel it will stick around for a long time. In western events, I’m a big fan when the ladies wear simple and well-fitted blouses. The craze for all the vests and coats loaded with tons of crystals tends to be slowing down, and the more simple, yet still elegant look of a button-down blouse stands out.
Christine Potts of Thats Sew Christine – One trend I enjoy seeing in the show pen is patterned and textured fabrics and leathers. I have always believed that less is more when it comes to crystals, so using different textures and designs adds a special touch to shirts, vests, and jackets. My creations’ inspiration is often geared around a particular printed fabric or leather, as I incorporate shapes to complement the design. Although hunting for these unique fabrics can sometimes be difficult, the outcome makes it fun.
Paula Diuri of Paula’s Place – I cannot pinpoint a favorite trend. But, I am happy to see many styles in the arena. I love seeing exhibitors wearing what makes them the most confident.
Amy Engelskirger of Glamorous Threads – My favorite trend in the show ring is more and more classic white hunt shirts. I’m selling very few colored shirts these days. But nothing beats a classic white shirt with traditional collar designs embellished with silk accents.
Photographer Terri Cage – I love the fitted button-up show shirts. I love their simplicity; they have leading lines drawing attention to the essential details. The collar brings your attention to the face. The sleeve and torso lines enhance the rider without overpowering the horse. But, of course, it must be white boots out of the show arena. White boots are trendy, and I love that there are tall western versions. Plus, they go with many other colors, making them a great staple in your closet.
Alexis Potts of The Frilly Filly – One of my favorite fashion trends outside the show pen is casual tops with a western flair. When shopping for my boutique, The Frilly Filly, at Atlanta’s mart, I see how much this style has grown in popularity, so much so that boutiques all over the country are purchasing these pieces to carry in their store. Whether it’s rhinestone fringe embellishments or desert-inspired graphic tees, I love seeing them worn at the horse shows and also know that the trend is carrying over outside of the horse show world to become a national trend.
Pegg Johnson of Show Clothes Unlimited – I like the variety of embellishments on the hidden zipper shirt, but my favorite is the halter jacket with contrasting trim on the lapels.
Kelly Mundrick-Martin of Head to Tail Boutique – My current favorite fashion trend would be detailing and design on the arms of the day shirts. Plus, I love the bright colors, which are trendy right now. This Lindsey James Show Clothing shirt is a great example.
What’s your favorite trend? Let us know in our social media comments.