Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ride Into the Sunset

One of my good friends is taking an equestrian class this semester and I am so jealous. If my schedule was not already full of non-horsey classes I would be saddling up as I write. I think this stems from childhood when I would ride all the time. As time has worn on the memories of having to clean hooves (ick!) and being stepped on by large horses (oww!) have faded into the background. So when I think about riding only happy memories of cantering around the yard are left. Well, even if I am not destined to professionally ride I still like the style associated with riding horses.

Western Style

Without getting into the boring nitty gitty like saddle and riding difference, let's just say Western is a more casual approach. When I think of Western riding I think of the whole cowgirl look.

A cute pair of boots is a great way to use the Western inspiration. You do not need to literally buy a pair of Justin boots. Instead stick with a more modern take like these Anna Sui ones. I especially like the embossed sides and taller heels. The neutral color also ensures you can get lots of use out of them... unlike my old roommate's hot pink cowboy boots which were a tad hard to miss.

An updated version of the classic button-up can snazz up the old wardrobe. It has been a couple of years since these were everywhere, so it seems like a great time to trot them out again. If you have long since donated your cowgirl shirts, this Diesel shirt may be just what you are looking for. The built-in belt is a nice addition since it will help to give more shape.

Unless you have a Western themed party to attend, forget the fringe and cowboy hat. The key here is to blend the pieces with regular items in your closet... not to look like an extra in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

English Style
Compared to Western, English style is more formal and fitted. There are no crazy cowboy prints here... but still some fun jumping.

A good blazer fits into this look perfectly. My Mom always tried to harass me into buying blazers when I was younger but I never listened. Now I finally see the wisdom of her advice and have about seven blazers in my closet.

They are great for those weird months in spring and fall when it is still cool but not cold enough to warrant a coat. This J. Crew one is nice enough that it can be worn for work or play. Plus the bigger buttons and pocket details give it a tad more personality.

You may also think about a turtleneck. I know that the mention of the word can scare many fashionable girls but there are a few cute ones out there. (Here's a hint, do not shop in the old ladies department or at LL Bean for this item.) A modern fitting turtleneck can do wonders whereas a poorly fitted one will make you look dowdy. Both Michael Stars and James Perse have some options to consider. The James Perse turtleneck even comes in a shade called "saddle." Imagine that!

Tucking those skinny jeans into tall boots is yet another nod to this style. Or even go all out and buy some jodhpurs-type pants. Hey, they are designed to be tucked in! (Unlike most pants that create that random bulge of material at the ankle.)

Even if you do not plan on honing your equestrian skills any time soon, it is always nice to be inspired. And a fashion habit will be cheaper than buying a horse; paying for gear, lessons, and boarding; and of course, some nice entrance fees for dressage. It is always nice to rationalize why fashion is the right hobby, right?


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