Sunday, 22 May 2016

Prioritizing

There are a few girls at the barn that just always look put together and elegant on their horses. I am pretty sure I have never been described as one. I take my riding seriously and do feel I could take a cue from my fellow barn mates and dress more professionally in my day to day barn life. Particularly before a show, I am really finding my wardrobe lacking. My riding gear that is fit to be seen at a schooling show/clinic consists of exactly one pair of beige breeches, and one black polo. I do own a couple of hunt coats - a black one that is far too large, and a navy pinstripe that is pretty much a portable sauna. I have a couple of white shirts, but again, they are ginormous on me and only useful if I hide them under the sauna coat. I have a few nice pairs of breeches, but the colors are inappropriate for much more than schooling or lessons at home (Looking through my wardrobe, I have a serious fondness for black and navy!)

Even here, I just dumped all my bookmarked 'wanty'  items into Paint, and it would appear casual apparel is more my thing. Also, black and navy.

I'm finding it super overwhelming to outfit myself appropriately. I read everyone's reviews and think "WOW, that sounds/looks great!", then go book another clinic/lesson and deplete my bank account.  I'm telling myself it's smarter to spend my spare horsey money on lessons and shows rather than clothing and gear, and mostly I agree with myself. Except during the days leading up to a show. Then I get all 13 year old girl on the first day of school with absolutely NOTHING cool to wear. Ughhh.

It's a given that I'm going to buy a white show shirt that fits appropriately. Beyond that, any budget tips on making my riding wardrobe that little bit more professional? A key piece or two? Some accessories that help you look a little more trendy/put together? Something you can't live without? I'm all ears.

25 comments:

  1. I can totally relate. I've added to my wardrobe 1 item at a time and now have a slightly better selection. It just takes time!

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    1. Such a practical plan! I'm actually nervous that I might pick the wrong 1 thing...may have to go to the city and try a bunch of stuff on for ideas!

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  2. I'm going to keep an eye on the comments for this, i'll be honest i live in the uk and the majority of the time when i'm doing magic I just do him in the clothes i'm going out in that day. while i know this isn't professional with the budget that I am on this is the best choice for me.

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    1. this is what I normally do too, but especially in the summer we go to a lot of clinics and events and I share lessons with more professional looking people so I feel like I need to step it up a bit :)

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  3. I do a few things. One is shopping the clearance racks at tack shops. The other is to look for bargains at non-horsey shops. A lot of shirts for golf are quite good for riding. Sports stores are good as well.

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    1. I took your advice and thought outside the box and ordered some half zip running shirts from old navy for a whopping $10 each. Fingers crossed!

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  4. I'm going to stick around and try to pick up some tips. I'm starting to put together a decent schooling wardrobe but I have basically nothing for showing.

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    1. I'm in exactly the same place...I feel like I have enough to put together at least a couple of nice schooling outfits, but anything beyond that is a struggle right now.

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  5. I started with all used or cheap then slowly over time prioritized and one thing at a build a show outfit. I still wouldn't say I have a wardrobe but after 6 years I finally have nice show attire. 2 pairs of breeches, show boots, a show shirt and last a nice jacket and boom. That's all I need but I am very simple and practical. You'd never in 100 years find me obsessing over my clothes, outfits or new fashion. I like classic, function and professional. And since 90% of my schooling is done at home I have crap schooling clothes and 2-3 lesson/clinic outfits.

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    1. We sound like we have similar tastes. I love sticking with the traditional and would rather be slightly under dressed than over.

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  6. A bit if tailoring...even a second-hand or size too big (but on sale) can look custom if it fits you to a T :D

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    1. I've been meaning to do this...I have a sister in law who is a seamstress, but of course every time I think about having my show clothes tailored it is spring and she is frantic with prom/grad/wedding stuff :)

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  7. It's taken me a really long time to get some decent show outfits, (I still don't own any white breeches for Dressage), but I really shop the sales and once I find something I like, I tend to keep it for the next several years. My biggest piece of advice is to go try things on and then see if you can find it online for cheaper - the show coat I bought a few months ago was $275 when I tried it on in Nanaimo while visiting my parents and I waited nearly 8 months and purchased it for $187 when it went on sale.

    The other way I get things without breaking the bank, is to purchase a little at a time. For example, I bought the new show jacket since my old one was 8 years old but I did not buy a new show shirt even though the one I have is 8 years old. I also did not upgrade my chaps/boots to field boots yet but plan to do so later this year.

    Just do it slowly and really shop the sales - but know exactly what you want. There isn't really a reason to have a dressage outfit, hunter outfit, and jumper outfit. Just have some clean sand colored breeches, show shirt, and short jacket as a basis and build from there.

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    1. I love this advice. It's easy to get caught up looking around at my barnmates with an outfit (and tack!) for every occasion, but I truly don't need that. Out of curiosity, any tack stores you'd recommend in Nanaimo? I'm there next month!

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  8. Thankfully, bloggers are masters of finding a great bargain!! ;) Everyone else has given great advice here - DON'T try to get yourself a new wardrobe all at once, and shop the sales. Sign up for email lists for online retailers, and when they have a sale, scope it out for things that you need. Find out what brands and styles fit you, and stalk EBay and clearance sections for them. I find that the $$$$$ Ariat breeches fit me the best out of anything, and I have not once paid full price for them by doing this - because I certainly can't cough up $220 for pants on a regular basis!

    Try to buy good quality items and take care of them so that they last. I find that saving up for a pricier item and then caring for it well is cheaper in the long run, plus you will feel GOOD wearing something you really love! My last pair of tall boots lasted me 10 years, and I have a pair of show breeches going on 7 or 8 years old that still look great! Buy once, buy right, but buy it on sale.

    For polo shirts or trendy looking half-zip tops, check out your local department stores' workout clothing. I often find GREAT deals on 'riding' tops this way on clearance. I also love, love, LOVE the Noble Outfitters tops, and you can often find them CHEAP on clearance - we're talking $10 for a $30+ shirt. Spend a little time going through sale and clearance, and you can find what you need for less than retail!

    Another little piece of advice is to set aside money in an envelope or separate account for your riding wardrobe - even if you only put in a few dollars a week, or only 'extra' money from odd jobs, etc., it adds up and is a great way to save for big purchases like boots, a helmet, or a show coat.

    But for everyday barn wear, a tidy polo or fitted shirt tucked into CLEAN breeches with a belt goes a looooong way to helping you look and feel professional and put-together. I know I certainly take myself and my riding more seriously when I'm 'dressed'. And that doesn't have to be expensive!

    Happy shopping! :)

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    1. This is such an amazing response, it should be a blog post of it's own. Thank you!

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  9. I'll second shopping the sales! You can find some good deals when manufacturers are turning their inventory over (so, spring and fall) and LOTS of retailers run Black Friday specials after Thanksgiving. (Well, in the US, at least.) You can also find deals after Christmas, when retailers are trying to encourage customers to spend those gift cards they just received.

    I'd also advise keeping an eye out for quiet sales when retailers announce a new product or a new feature on an existing product. For example, a couple of years ago, Horze switched from Velcro to sock bottoms on their Grand Prix breeches. They quietly put the remaining Velcro models on super sale (like 60-70% off).

    Additionally, if you go to a tack shop and try something on, love it, and find it cheaper online, see if your tack shop will match the price. It'll save you the cost of shipping and your tack shop will appreciate your business. ;)

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    1. More great advice! I just signed up for emails from a couple of my favorite retailers, and already got a coupon I can use!

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  10. Never underestimate the power of a nicely fitting polo or long sleeve collared shirts (like a sun shirt for instance). I like consignment shops, and Bakersfield dressage just posted a link recently for brand new but discontinued kastel shirts on eBay for $30. I also like to shop at stores like marshalls or TJ maxx (do you have those or similar in your area?) in the active wear sections. Often times shirts meant for tennis or golf can look nicely put together but are still very comfortable for riding.

    Mostly I'm with you - I would rather spend the money on lessons and shows than on gear. But maybe taking the money from what would have been one lesson and picking up a couple quick pieces that you know you feel good in and will use again and again might be worth the indulgence. Let us know what you get!

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    1. We have "Winners" here as your Mashalls...great reminder, will add to my list of stores to look at next time I'm in the city.
      Definitely going to update with purchases if and when I make them!

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  11. As others said, prioritize and buy used. Equus Now has a great consignment shop online, that I shop ALL. THE. TIME. I also buy a lot off Facebook Groups :)

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    1. Ohhh, thanks for that tip!

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  12. I've been following this post to see what others suggestions were. Like you, I have a hard time buying horsey apparel that doesn't also look totally casual or crazy (breeches with prints or bold colors, etc.). And like you, I feel like I need to up my game to be taken more seriously (HA! Gavin will make sure that doesn't happen ;))

    One thing I have been wanting to try is buying items that work for both work and barn. The cost of the item might not be low, but if I can wear it for both areas of life, I'm combining some costs and I also don't have to get nearly naked in my car in front of the barn while I'm changing ;)

    I'm actually going to be trying this out soon. Pairing a conservatively colored sunshirt with some tailored sportsman breeches and pointy flats. I've actually run this by my boss and she's interested to see what I come up with.

    I'm not sure if this would work for you in your work environment, but I figured I'd chime in! :) Good luck!

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    1. This would totally work in my office!! Genius. We're slightly more dressy here, but I'm thinking a nice pair of breeches that weren't obviously riding apparel, combined with a cotton button down shirt and belt and cute flats might hit the work/barn crossover lottery.

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  13. I really like the Kerrits Kompetitor coat, and the price is pretty easy on the budget as well. For shirts I went with Equine Coutoure's In Gate shirt. Again easy on the budget, though the sizes run large which is good for me, but a smaller person may need to size down. For my breeches I went to eBay, because I am cheap and white breeches tend to not last more than one show season without getting stained beyond help. For my stock tie I again went with an eBay special on a pre-tied stock tie. The one I bought was made by a woman in the UK, but even with shipping came in around $20. You may want to check out the sale my local tack shop, Millbrook Tack in Grand Rapids, MI, is having right now. They have a couple of specials on show clothes, shirts, and even offer a couple of starter show packages. I do believe they ship.

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