March 2015 - So Long Stuffy & Stiff!
Written by Amanda Hromadka
Monday, 02 March 2015 01:47
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Samshield helmets with Swarovski flower patterns.

Super comfort and sparkling designs are hallmarks of dressage apparel trends.

Spooks shirt and jacket.

by Amanda Hromadka

Wow! What a change we have seen on the equestrian circuit in the last few years. We can now sparkle across the arena, from our helmet right down to our boots, and so much so that our horse may need sunglasses when he sees us!

Kingsland stock tie brooch.

Samshield helmets have taken it to another level with the custom Swarovski crystals embedded in the helmet with a sting ray or crocodile center, or maybe instead an American flag prominently displayed on the back.

Lotus Romeo is really pushing the envelope with colors, trims and breathable fabrics in show coats. Last year they designed a coat for British dressage Olympian Carl Hester and he looked fabulous. Nowadays, when you turn up at any of the international championships, every rider has a huge selection of brands, styles and fabrics. All riders can now look the part as there is a multimillion dollar industry dedicated to fashionable equestrians with show and schooling apparel that is breathable, easy to move in and fully washable.

Competition rules that used to make it difficult for riders to express any flair have loosened up considerably. Riders can now express quite a lot of personal style and still conform to the basic requirements of dark coat, light jodhpurs and tall boots. For the ordinary rider looking to “kit themselves up” for the season, while conforming to the basic rules, here are some tips to make yourself look fab and feel more comfortable than ever before.

Spooks breeches.

Lotus Romeo shadbelly.

Probably the most significant change in riding wear that will help all riders feel more comfortable are the new range of fabrics. I believe that every rider should know that 100 percent cotton and pure wool have gone by the wayside. No longer do you have to suffer and use extra deodorant! New materials such as polyester/wool/lycra combinations and “nano-tech” fabrics are now available in many of the new jackets and breeches coming out today.

In the last Olympics, all of the riders from Great Britain were equipped with jackets made of nano-tech fabric. These new materials are very thin, providing incredible breathability and flexibility to allow more freedom. They also are stain resistant and do not have to be dry-cleaned, so you can save a bundle by machine washing them. These fabrics are the same used by champion bicyclists and swimmers to raise their level of performance. They are now becoming the standard on the riding circuit, while also remaining true to classic equestrian elegance. My most popular long sleeve shirt last year comes from a golfing company!

The new allowances for style and flair enable all of us to put together a riding ensemble that brings out a certain aspect of our personality we want the judges and spectators to see.

I also notice a huge trend in very stylish schooling outfits: Matching breeches, shirts, bomber jackets and boots in every color under the rainbow. You can get off your horse and continue your day without looking out of place. Most outfits have an equestrian theme, whether it’s a bit on the back of a plaid vest or a horse logo on the sleeve.

Author Amanda Hromadka is a lifelong equestrian who grew up with an active horsey family in her native England. She opened the dressage-focused Gee Gee Equine Equestrian Boutique, in Los Angeles County’s Torrance, in order to bring fashion-forward brands to the U.S. “I love seeing a rider wearing an exclusive line that is not available at any store apart from Gee Gee,” she says. “That’s unique.” To see more of Amanda’s faves, visit

Tucker Tweed Equestrian’s gorgeous purses let you display your dressage enthusiasm all day and everywhere!

Rebecca Ray bags and clutches.