I can still remember the time I purchased my first show outfit. Truth be told, I had scraped by with a gifted show coat and a secondhand pair of Tailored Sportsmans through my high school and IHSA days. So this, for my first proper, recognized event, was a pretty momentous occasion. Nevermind the fact I had exactly $100 to spend (hello, consignment rack), I was out to find the outfit that would give me the look of a true event rider – or so I hoped, at least.
But alas, this was still the time of approximately three brands of breeches and two brands of show shirts. As I cast an eye over the well-worn consignment rack (can we all agree that consignment offerings have gotten so much better in recent years?), I felt a bit crestfallen. I have never been what you would call a “fashionista” (let’s be honest, I’ve never had enough disposable income to support this habit), but I enjoy the confidence that comes with a killer outfit that fits well and looks good. I’m only human, after all. And these options, well, they weren’t it. I settled on the best bargain I could find and went on my way, telling myself it didn’t actually matter what I wore, anyway.
Fast forward nearly two decades and we now are faced with almost the opposite challenge: an all-out plethora of apparel choices for any equestrian sport, any day of the week, and any style. As our clothing evolves to reflect the athletic nature of our sport, while still holding a candle to tradition, it’s Ariat that stands out as a brand that marries these two concepts of function and fashion – and has stood the test of time while doing so. As I rifled through the catalog showcasing Ariat’s newest offerings for the spring, I could feel younger Sally turning green with envy.
“Old world elegance meets modern innovation” is the tagline accompanying the new Ariat Speranza collection – and it’s a perfect way to describe the process of creating a design that respects the sport’s roots while acknowledging innovation. Designed and made in Italy, the Speranza line – which includes show coats and breeches – contains details that keep to this concept: ultra-smooth, 360-degree stretch fabrications, contoured European tailoring, and refined details.
Gone are the days of the non washable wool coats or the “don’t wash my breeches unless you have a death wish” pleas to a hapless partner, as Ariat’s apparel is all machine-washable. And as much as we gripe about the tradition of white breeches, we can take some comfort in the fact that brands such as Ariat offer thoughtful design to make said white breeches more tolerable and even enjoyable.
Breeches have gotten more comfortable, better fitting, and more athletically tailored over time, and the Tri Factor Grip Breech stands out as a particularly great option for eventers. In a nod to the athletic nature of our sport, these breeches include innovative features such as:
- Ariat® V3® elastic “V” panel built into the back waistband for superior stretch and recovery
- CFS™ Calf Fit System provides custom support at the calf and ankle, alleviating pressure points and friction
- Moisture Movement Technology™ keeps you drier
- Ariat® Hex Grip knee patch for optimal grip in the saddle
- Compression garment provides sleek fit and retains its shape
- Freeze Point™ cooling technology reduces skin temperature up to 2.8°C/5°F
Finally to complete your look just in time for the new show season, Ariat has two new show shirts to offer this spring: the Auburn show shirt and the Sunstopper Pro 2.0 show shirt.
Both of these shirts offer exceptional sun protection – a must for eventers spending long days in the saddle cross country schooling or doing fitness sets. The breathable fabric featuring in both of these show shirts lends itself well to those sweaty summer days, and the modern wrap collar always makes for a comfortable fashion statement. For male riders looking for more options, the new Ariat TEK Show Shirt is a polished, performance-ready shirt featuring a tie loop and AriatTEK Heat Series technology for staying cool.
It’s true that a show outfit is an investment, and it’s also true that your horse does not care what you show up in – nor should your fellow competitors. But it’s undeniable that stepping into an outfit that fits well and that allows you to move and perform comfortably gives you a fresh injection of confidence. And we could all use a little more of that in the saddle, if you ask me!
You can check out all of Ariat’s show collection here. Go eventing!