Let’s Talk Fashion Forward Stock Ties

Photo by Leslie Wylie Photo by Leslie Wylie

I know I’m not the only eventer who goes gaga when I spot someone wearing a non-traditional stock tie.

I’m drawn to the concept like a moth to the flame, but every time I think about buying one myself I chicken out, tormented by a voice in my head tsk-tsking me about traditional this and conservative that. I’ve gone out on many a limb with regard to cross country get-up, but inside the arena I’m still a tortured soul, irreparably damaged from being beaten over the head repeatedly with a Wadsworth hunting manual growing up.

The Wylie triple-threat, circa 1994. My sisters and I always looked forward to tying each others’ stock ties as an opportunity to try to choke one another to death. Photo by Patricia Wylie.

The Wylie triple threat, circa 1994. My sisters and I always looked forward to tying each others’ stock ties as an opportunity to try to tie it a little too tight. Photo by Patricia Wylie.

But when I spotted Stock Tie‘s display full of colorful ties in the vendor area at Richland Park this past weekend, I couldn’t resist stopping in. George Morris isn’t going to strike me down with a bolt of lightning for sneaking a peek, right?

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie

The range of colors and patterns was dazzling. They had everything from subtle variations on the classic white stock tie theme via the Four Star Collection, to the hunt field friendly houndstooths and plaids of the Oliver Wood’s Collection, to the Jockey Collection inspired by by bright and bold jockey silks.

Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Photo by Leslie Wylie

Amanda and Terri Mayros, the mom-daughter team behind Stock Tie, were manning the stand and giving stock tie knotting tutorials throughout the event. They’re Michigan gals, and all their ties are handcrafted in-state.

I introduced myself and admitted that I was obsessed — and also a little nervous.

“We get that A LOT,” Amanda says, followed up by a convincing argument for allowing yourself to take a little equestrian fashion leap.

You work hard, you put your heart and soul into this sport, and when you head up the centerline you should feel like a million bucks in what you’re wearing. Amanda says that when creating the brand, she was inspired by look of a by-the-book men’s suit dressed up with a striking tie — stylish and confident, yet respectful.

McKenna Oxenden and Gossip Girl, who placed 2nd in a Sr. Training division at Richland, sport some classy new neckwear from Stock Tie. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

McKenna Oxenden and Gossip Girl, who placed 2nd in a Sr. Training division at Richland, sport some classy new neckwear from Stock Tie. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

As for whether they’re really OK to wear in the show ring, as Stock Tie explains on its website, “Our products are within the accordance of USEF Dress Code — we are simply … evolving it.”

“Why wouldn’t you want to stand out and make an impression?” Amanda asks. Well, probably for fear of old-school dressage judges leaving snippy little notes at the bottom of your tests.

But as long as horse and rider are neat and clean and polished, a well-played splash of color shouldn’t detract from their presentation. Deviating from the tuxedoed penguin look is a topic that has come up repeatedly in our sport in discussions about how to make eventing more accessible and engaging to the public. This seems like a modest step in the direction of turning that thought experiment into reality.

Amanda and Terri make a case for letting yourself shine in the ring:

You can check out some examples of riders pulling the ties off, and well, on Stock Tie’s Facebook page. One of their brand ambassadors is Leah Lang-Gluscic, who wore a custom Stock Tie creation at Rolex this year. It was white and looked like just another stock tie from afar, but up close you could see that it had some texture and shimmer. Sometimes, just knowing that you’ve got a little extra sparkle on your side can up your game. (Get the look, or a close approximation thereof, here.)

You’ll never guess which Stock Tie ended up coming home with me, under the advisory of Amanda and Terri:

Photo courtesy of Stock Tie.

“Stakes Race” tie from the Jockey Collection. Photo courtesy of Stock Tie.

Go big or go home, baby! I may not be wearing it up the centerline just yet, mostly because I recently snagged this vintage brooch from Etsy and the two together might be a bit much…

Because my pony's name is Princess! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Because my pony’s name is Princess! Photo by Leslie Wylie.

But it’s going to look sharp as a tack in the show jumping ring with a black or navy coat. I’m also in love with the British look of wearing a stock tie on cross country, so when the weather cools down, that is happening for sure!

Stock Ties retail for $65 and are currently available in several stores: Sport Horse Saddlery (New Hudson, MI), Millbrook Tack (Grand Rapids, MI), The Tackeria (Wellington, FL), Barrington Saddlery (Barrington, IL), Bob Mickler’s (Lexington, KY and travel trailer), The Classic Equestrian, LLC (Ada, MI) and Top Rail Tack (West Grove, PA). You can also shop online here.

Not only are they beautiful quality accessories, Stock Tie is a great company. They’re eventers themselves, and donate ties as prizes for each division at every event they’re at. How awesome is that?

What do you think, EN? Are you a traditionalist who thinks stock ties should only be white? Or do you like bringing a splash of color to your performance with a non-traditional stock? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below!