When I first started riding, I didn't give much thought to my outfits or equestrian fashion. I was grateful to have the opportunity to ride and would have worn anything that my parents suggested. In any case, in those days there really wasn't a great deal of choice. Everyone at the stables wore beige jodhpurs, unremarkable jackets and pretty similar Riding Boots. These days, riders have a fabulous array of equestrian fashion to choose from. The leading equestrian ranges have risen to the challenge of creating clothing which is both practical and appealing.
The real revolution in equestrian fashion has been the use of technical fabrics. Modern textiles are designed to be lightweight and breathable making them a great deal more comfortable to wear for long days in the saddle and around the yard. Equestrian fashion now addresses the needs of riders so they can enjoy the same benefits as other athletes. The latest attire is constructed to be robust and hard wearing and is reinforced in the right places. Better stretch fabrics have also ensured that jodhpurs are far more comfortable than they used to be, not to mention easier to actually get into. Equestrian footwear has also been transformed. Riding boots used to lack thetechnical features of athletic footwear and was frankly rather uncomfortable. Now your feet are properly cushioned and supported and you don't end up wanting to chop your feet off at the end of a hard day.
Style and Colour
So equestrian fashion is now fit for purpose but it is also far more stylish and diverse. You can choose between traditional and contemporary looks and there has been an injection of colour. Naturally there are dress rules for competitions but when leisure riding you can express your personal style. Coloured jodhpurs are a fabulous innovation and the younger me would have swapped my beige pair for a more interesting option in an instant. With the likes of Pikeur, Horseware Ireland, Ariat and many more offering comprehensive collections featuring shirts, tops, jackets, breeches and, today's riders have all the choices they need. They can dress to suit their taste and the changing seasons. They know that their clothing isn't going to let them down and they don't have to break the bank to build a great equestrian wardrobe.
There is no more important issue than safety and in that regard equestrian fashion has also evolved considerably in recent years. Riding hats are safer than ever and body protectors can be worn without making you look like you have gained 20kgs overnight. Footwear is more protective too so riders have a much better chance of avoiding injuries. I cringe a little when I look at old photographs of me in the saddle. My beige jodhpurs and shapeless tweed jacket look so uninspired. But I didn't have choices and could only wear what was available. I am altogether more colourful now and despite being much older, my equestrian fashion is so much more with it!