My sister has been taking horseback riding lessons since she was eleven, and having done a little riding myself, I can testify to the absolute rural grunge of the experience. I mean, the magazines totally glorify it, what with their tidy little Ralph Lauren ensembles and those damn Balenciaga riding helmets. Even cowgirl couture looks polished and well oiled.
In reality, even for the wealthy, it makes little sense to wear something stylish and beautiful when you're out in the ring because it will inevitably be ruined in some way or another. Horses drool, dust is everywhere, and you're exposed to any and all weather conditions. So for a long time, I feared for my sister's fashion sense. I thought, what an atmosphere to grow up in! A place where comfort is often valued over appearance - the very contradiction to the fashion maxim Beauty is pain!
You will imagine my surprise when I stumbled onto the treasure trove that is Bits & Bridles Tack Shop. Adorable plaid jackets with those little elbow flaps: check. Sleek knee-high riding boots and chunky lace-up paddock boots, available in both new and vintage: check. Beautiful leather gloves for a mere $32 (pictured above): check. In summary: do not discount your local tack shop. Mulberry gloves for fall aren't even out, yet somehow this place is already stocking comparable leather goods in its dressage section. Diamonds in the rough, I tell you!