Today’s fashion for the every day equestrian is much different from yesterday’s clothing style. I have to say after seeing and reading about some of these styles I’m even more fond of my boots, jeans and T-shirt with a vest. In this article, I document the changes in female equestrian fashion from the 1700s, 1800s, 1900s, 2000s and beyond.
Female Equestrian Fashion Over The Centuries
In the eighteenth century women rode sidesaddle in fancy dresses or skirts. Typical riding fashion for women during then consisted of a feminine bottom and a more masculine top. Military had a large influence on riding attire as well, so most riding outfits had ornate ornaments in braids in gold or silver sewn onto the breasts of each outfit.
During the nineteenth century pants were introduced to women to ride in. They wore them under their skirts as it was still considered unusual to see a woman in pants. Riding attire became much more modest in the nineteenth century, consisting of plain, boring dresses and skirts in black. Bright colors were considered gaudy and typically frowned upon.
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Come the twentieth century riding changed from a necessity to more of a pleasure. What with industrialization coming in to play horses weren’t needed as strongly for transportation. Riding then became something that people did for fun or for relaxation or for sport. Women started to ride less and less in skirts and dresses and more and more in pants and they also started to stop riding the traditional side-saddle. Jodhpurs came into play and people started riding in those. Jodhpurs are pants that are wide at the hips and tight at the knees down to the ankles. Jodhpurs, a helmet, boots and jacket became the traditional riding wear of the twentieth century.
2000s and beyond
The love for horses and riding hasn’t lessened over the years, even with all the fancy cars and big trucks riding is still something people love to do. We’ve pulled away from the long dresses and wide jodhpurs and have now adopted breeches, tall boots, a polo shirt or nice T-shirt and helmet if we ride English, and jeans, boots, a T-shirt or button-down shirt and/or vest with sometimes a hat, for those of us who ride western. It’s interesting to see how female equestrians started out and look at where we’re at right now. Male equestrians have remained virtually the same throughout the centuries, they all boil down to pants, boots, shirt and hat, and while the style of each article of clothing has changed, not much else has for them.
I’ve ridden in sweat-pants before which is pretty far from typical riding attire. Usually I stick with my jeans, boots, shirt and vest and call it good at that. At the end of the day though it all boils down to what makes you comfortable and keeps you safe at the same time.
That’s all for now folks,
Have a happy ride and I hope this has helped to show the evolution of female equestrian fashion.