The other day, I sorted through a pile of show clothes deciding what I needed for this year and which outfits I want to wear. I know I will need to buy a few new pieces and I am really looking forward to it! But knowing buying show clothes can be daunting, I came up with a game plan. I recommend taking the time to go through what you have, and what you need the most before attempting the huge task of finding the right clothes. Here are some tips to get you started filling in your wardrobe or if you are just starting out and on a budget!
- Consider what level you will be showing at (there’s no need to spend the money on world class outfits to show at the local level)
- Do some research on how to measure for important things like, hats, jackets, chaps, show pants, and field boots. with the help of a friend measure yourself and record the measurements on a piece of paper you can carry with you to horse fairs, tack shops, and to set beside you while using the internet!
- Instead of purchasing a number of basic necessities in various colors, choose just one color such as black, chocolate, or tan for a hat, chaps, and show pants. This will allow you to invest a little extra money into quality rather than quantity. A quality hat and chaps are important because they are items that you will be able to use for years.
- Stick to a solid color saddle blanket. It’s cheaper and can be used with many shirts.
- Picking your tops will be easy! eBay has a number of very reasonable show shirts that can be used for western classes.
- If you want to spend a bit of extra money on something nice and/or sparkly, I recommend looking for an all-day jacket. It’s a piece that is suitable for both halter classes as well as riding classes!
- When looking for English attire stick to what is basic and classic. A black or navy hunt coat (well tailored!), a white hunt shirt, and tan breeches. Most of these items can be found at a number of price levels.
- Field boots and hunt caps can be tricky but can be found used for a better price. If you’re looking for field boots remember boot black and a good leather conditioning can go a long way to help sprucing a boot up. Just be careful not to show in rubber boots or boots where the calf is way, way too big (it looks sloppy). The hunt cap should fit well and the velvet should not be discolored or saggy (as they get that way when they’re old).
- Remember that most things like shirts and jackets can be tailored inexpensively for a more custom look and crystals can be added to show shirts!
One last tip, don’t feel pressured to have to buy something at a horse fair or tack shop. Sometimes the ‘sales’ really aren’t that great. Do try a lot of things on and check out quality so if you purchase things online, you have a better idea of fit and what to expect. Also, don’t be afraid to check out some non-horsey stores for jackets and shirts. I have a shomanship jacket I bought at Marshall’s for $15.00…added a few crystals and ta-da showmanship jacket! Good Luck!