Headed to the barn? Ok, stop for a second. Look down at your feet. Scary? Yep, mine too.
I often wonder how psychedelic socks became "equestrian"? We've all fallen for it. For me it's because they're a bright, cheap, easy, impulse item irresistibly positioned beside the store register. Anything that costs only $8.95 at a tack shop feels like a bargain, so why not? You grab a few Sox Trots to ... add a little pizzazz to your equestrian ensemble. Right?
Sure, they're stretchy and comfortable and nothing else is thin enough to fit under your did-they-measure-me-right t-i-g-h-t dressage boots. But have you noticed the stares? Ever been in line at Starbucks and felt uncomfortable downward glances from those around you? Do young mothers pull their children closer as you pass by? Ok, yes, they're obviously not RIDERS, or they would KNOW. But still, as I examine these silky little abstract works of art on my feet, I can't help but wonder: what sane person would wear these in public?
Equestrian style is HOT, and it's a classic, timeless look. So why is it that so many actual riders run errands in a get-up that looks like they were just kicked out of clown school, while non-equestrian fashionistas trot about town looking uber-chic in skinny pants and faux riding boots? At the end of the day, the authentic, helmet headed, sweaty, slobbered upon grubbiness of our sport is still, well it's really kind of glamorous .... or at least it should be. It's time to step it up and get back to dressing like the true equestrians we are ever so fortunate to be.
Ok, so what should you wear when your riding boots are off? Clogs, crocs, flip-flops? And don't you love how even some of our favorite companies get creative with their over the top photo shoots, pairing breeches and stilettos (try wearing that combination to the feed store!). I mean, they're kidding ... right?
There's no denying that breeches are enviably stylish when worn with tall boots, so why not just let the "equestrian look" work for you when you leave the barn? SHADBELLY's pick for kicking around town: The Cordoba Andalusian "Riding" Boot available for $274.95 from SmartPak.
The Cordoba's have a hip vibe to them. Everyone loves the tassel - just the movement of it, the swing (we dressage riders love that swing) just makes them kinda' fun to wear. Smartpak calls these "riding" boots, but don't kid yourself - these boots were made for walkin'.
And did you know the Spanish-riding-turned-street-boot style was made de rigueur by British Royalty? It's true. Kate Middleton (back when the Duchess of Cambridge was still dating the Prince) wore shoe designer Penelope Chilver's "original long tassel boots" to the Game Fair at Blenheim Palace and started a fashion frenzy.
Ok, so fast forward a few years, and don't ask me who copied who, just trust me when I tell you that Smartpak's Cordobas are PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY LIKE the Duchess's, except the Cordoba's: a) are about a third the price, and b) are super easy to order because you probably already have SmartPak on speed dial.
Pssst, the best part about the Cordoba boots is that you can still go a little wild with the socks underneath ... we won't tell.
Thanks for blogging with SHADBELLY.