The Equestrian Apparel industry continues to make forward progress in providing riders of all disciplines with clothing designed to maximize comfort and performance. Whether in the saddle or around the barn, we seek a wardrobe that works as hard and long as we do – apparel that delivers performance and comfort in blistering heat or blustery cold, at the same time offering the latest in fashion trends.
Riding enthusiasts will find many choices in active wear shirts this season. All of these shirts contain fabrics that feel luxuriant next to the skin and quickly wick away sweat to beat the heat. This advancement in technology keeps the rider cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, as well as comfy and dry year round. These fabrics contain SPF ratings anywhere between 30 and 50, to protect against the harmful rays of the sun. They are constructed with micro-sheer mesh panels, located discreetly on the bottom side of the sleeves. As an example, Ariat’s Sunstopper line of shirts is available in many color choices including Bluebird, Navy Dot, and White Multi-Stripe. This Beat the Heat series from Ariat, offers the same moisture wicking fabrics with SPF protection and breathable mesh underarm construction.
Charlotte Jorst, the creative designer for Kastel Denmark, saw a void in the marketplace for available and affordable sun-protective outerwear. Charlotte’s focus was on the active individual with emphasis on ultra violet protection, starting with the first launch of the “Charlotte Collection” shirts. The Charlotte Signature UV Protective shirts offer 30 UPF UV protection, breathability, antibacterial odor reduction and cooling mesh inner sleeves that go easily from the barn to beyond! There is a bevy of color choices with new colors being introduced each season. This active wear line protects like a fortress against the sun, while eliminating the guesswork for dressing for multiple activities. Similar designs are available from other designers in the industry, such as Kerrits, Noble Outfitters, and ROMFH, to name just a few.
Show shirts are following the same trends, with moisture wicking fabrics, UV ray protection and sheer mesh undersleeves, which keeps riders fresh and comfortable in the show ring. RJ Classic’s “Classic Cool” line features contrasting colors in a micro-fiber fabric with a more traditional shirt fabric down the front. This allows the rider to have a fashion-forward look with her coat off, and a more traditional show look with the coat on. Ovation, Ariat and Essex show shirt lines also have changed their designs in show shirts with these many technological advances to accommodate the riders’ needs for comfort as well as fashion.
English show coats, like the shirts, are now less conservative and have seen additional exciting advancements in fabric content and garment engineering. Leaders in equestrian design are combining premium fabrics with advanced technologies to create high performance coats worn by riders at every level. Trends continue to move away from the traditional sport coat look, and move toward a more form fitting, light weight, soft shell stretch fabric. Most are now machine-washable. Other features include unlined construction, and stain-resistant, water-repellant fabrics, allowing for exceptional, easy to care for coats. Another feature offers both zipper and button front closures, providing a sleeker look.
Breech manufacturers are becoming more adventuresome in their colors, many offering contrasting trim and piping on pockets and seams, and embroidered logos running down the leg. Synthetic suede full seats and knee patches are being replaced by modern silicone fabric treatments that increase the grippability for the rider and also enhance the comfort level. Most manufacturers continue to offer back pocket trims and embroideries and lower leg stretch panels as opposed to hook and loop ankle closures.
Riding helmets have been changed to meet the 2016 SEI/ASTM safety standards, with the exception of hunt caps and top hats. Easy-to-clean materials, lower profiles, dial fit systems and more ventilation, integrate innovation with safety and style. Many of the popular show ring helmets continue to be GPA First Lady, Charles Owen AYR8, and Samshield Shadowmatt. Schooling helmets with dial adjustment in the back of the helmet continue to be the best selling styles. Most are offered in an array of colors, as well as black, which is also acceptable for showing, and start at a very affordable price point. Ovation, IRH, Troxel and Tipperary are some of the leaders in this product category.
Although traditional tall riding boots will always be available, many companies offer variations on the classic design. These would include black patent leather trims as well as exotic leathers like ostrich and snakeskin. Square toe vs. round toe have become very much accepted in the industry. Ariat, Tredstep and Ovation, to name a few, continue to be popular lines of boots.
At Charlotte’s, our job is to listen to our customers, educate, and provide you the most current information on products and new innovations. By doing this, we hope to elevate your performance, comfort and safety, and enhance your total equestrian experience, while also providing the best customer service and value.
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