Dressage Figures: The Rectangle

Let's take a minute to talk about rider conformation. Like your genetics or not, we can all be categorized into four basic shapes: Rectangle, Triangle, Circle or Hourglass.

Easy now, hear me out. Before you hit that X in the upper right corner, rest assured that there are great dressage apparel choices for every body type. In this, the first in a series of 4 blog posts, we'll take an in depth look at the subtleties of style that culminate into our impression of a "well-dressed" rider. It's all about knowing what to emphasize...and what not to.  

 Sketch by SHADBELLY - All Rights Reserved.

Sketch by SHADBELLY - All Rights Reserved.

We'll start with the girls most of us love to hate: the Rectangles. These are the model-slim body types. I've always assumed that Rectangles will look good in ANYTHING - right? But even riders with "perfect bodies" worry about body type when buying riding apparel.  

Just after our earlier feature post on short coats Firm that Fanny:  Dressage Coats are Shrinking, I received a comment from a reader asking what style (short coat for lower levels) would look "proportional" on her tall, narrow frame.     

Who better to look up to for style guidance in this case than 6' tall dressage rider Heather Blitz? Heather and the stallion Ripline have been waltzing their way through Fourth Level here in Florida. And Heather's coat? Animo!  

 Photo courtesy of Heather Blitz

Photo courtesy of Heather Blitz

SHADBELLY picks the Animo short-coats at the top our list for Rectangles:

  • Animo fabrics are stretchy.  This clinginess either works for you ... or against you, but for Rectangles, the resulting fit is ultra flattering.  
  • The Animos are cut to fit the body.  Take a close look at the construction of the Animo coats.  Animo's designers added a separate panel across the back of the shoulders on many styles.  Not only does the Animo design provide greater freedom of movement for the rider, but it also enhances the overall silhouette.  Those Italians know their stuff.
  • Accentuating the waist is critical for Rectangles to avoid looking "boxy".  Notice how nicely Heather's coat tapers in at the waist.  
  • And the pockets, look closely at Heather's photo.  See how the angle of the pocket trim even accentuates the waist?
  • The finish point of the lapel (essentially the top botton of the coat) is well placed to draw the eye toward the center of the rider's body and balance the look. The cut is elegant, and not too "schoolgirl blazer" high.
  • And oh do we love the little details in these coats.  The trim on the cuff, pocket and collar keep these sporty little jackets from being anything but basic.

Heather is sponsored by the Italian equestrian clothier, so her coat is one of their European models, but USAnimo's 2014 Spring collection will include similar similar styles in the Losan and the Lost jackets.  

The detail image shots below are from SHADBELLY's own collection - it's the Animo Lira in the color "grafite".

SHADBELLY TIP:  Animo-Addicted like we are?  You can keep up with USAnimo's new arrivals on the USAnimo's Facebook page.  And hurry - Animo's 15% Off discount promotion expires on February 28, 2014 - details on www.USAnimo.com.

Thanks for the help Heather!  You wear it well.