Shopping for riding clothes is always hard. They’re expensive and they fit weird and they can be oh so exciting, but also a huge let down. Add being a non-traditional size for a hunter/jumper rider, and the challenge grows.
Though I’m not a fashion diva at the barn or in real life, I have tried my best to dress just as stylishly as thinner equestrians. The general tips are stay away from super Euro or super trendy, and SmartPak is your friend. Dover doesn’t exactly believe that riders exist with a waist larger than 34″, but SmartPak has always been the most plus friendly equestrian retailer out there.
What follows are some of my finds for others who are in the moderate plus sized rider category. For reference, these are all products I’ve personally tried to some degree and should work for someone in the 16/18 size range.
Winter is hard, because it’s often miserable outside. For me, the key to the barn is layering. Even if my outer layer is my disgusting old fleece jacket, the under layers are kind of cute!
In this first look, we have the plus sized knee patch Piper Breeches from SmartPak. Pipers come in lots of fun colors, but tend to fit (at least on me) a bit tighter in the thighs and looser in the waist. With them, I always wear a belt, which shown here is from Mango Bay. Mango Bay is great because they sell belts up to 3X and will even custom make sizes. Plus, they have tons of color and pattern options. The half chaps shown are Ariat Close Contact. While Ariat is not plus size friendly for tall boots, their half chaps have a lot of stretch and fit 18″ calves very easily. Finally, I skipped the over priced (in my opinion) and small running Rider’s International winter layers for this C9 Champion top and Down Puffer Vest from Target.
For summer, we start off with the much lighter fabric of the Tailored Sportsman Trophy Hunters. Now again, stick to SmartPak for your purchase of these because they carry TS breeches in a variety of colors up to a size 36 (Dover stops at 34). Next we have the summer essential – the sun shirt! I have tried on the Dover and Ariat $50 sun shirts, and they both fit well for someone my size. The most comfortable and highest quality sun shirt in my opinion though, is the EIS (Equi In Style). I have seen up to a 1X on their site, and their XL fits me quite fine (slightly form fitting). Though I still have a firm ‘no more than $50’ for a sun shirt rule, they constantly have good shirts in their clearance rack for $40-$60. The faux croc belt is another Target pick, and the half chaps are the same as before.
When I show, I stick to the preferred Tailored Sportsman breeches with one minor addition… a SmartSlim from SmartPak. This under garment holds you in like you wouldn’t believe, and gives me an added bit of confidence in the show ring. For jackets, I love the Wellington Show Coat. You can find them at Dover, but I got mine from Horseloverz during a sale for a whopping $50. This thing runs big. I got mine a full size smaller than what I normally wear, and still needed it tailored to be taken in. It’s a great coat for the price though! For shirts, I like the Ocala Show Shirt from the Collection Online store. It is a snap collar like what’s trendy these days, but also comes up to a size 50 which is nearly impossible to find at the big equestrian retailers. They also have plenty of other colors besides this pink… I promise! Finally, the recent Tredstep Donatello Plus Size field boots. Now honestly, these didn’t work for me even though I so wanted them to! They are very generous in the calf, but tiny in the ankles. Unfortunately I’m smack dab in the middle of their two sizes, but if you fall on the high side of 16-17″ or 18-19″ and have thin ankles – check these out. The belt is also from Target (can you tell I love Target?).
You don’t have to give up style if you are a bit of a fluffier rider. With creativity and research, you can find a lot out there!