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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

These Boots Were NOT Made for Ridin'

Note: In case anyone is waiting with bated breath, yes, I'm going to continue the "Better Barns" story very soon. I just felt the need to write this post first!
I'm sure it has not escaped your attention that "equestrian style" is a very prominent fashion trend right now. Ralph Lauren has always catered to the horsey set, and puts out lovely equestrian-ish garments and accessories all the time, so that company must really be laughing all the way to the bank this winter. I have a gorgeous RL blouse in a print with fairly authentic bridle pieces and bits all over it that I got a few years ago so it will be seeing a lot of action.

The biggest trend seems to be "riding boots." Everyone from Payless

to Macy's
has tons of these in stock, and I'm seeing them being worn a lot, too.

You could spend $375 on these:
$100 on this pair,
I really, really liked these but the foot wasn't that comfy and they didn't have my size in stock at DSW.
lots more on another designer brand (my online favorites were Pradas @ $850, hah), or about $50 on the ones from Payless.

Some of these boots look a lot like the "real deal," and some are only semi-related to actual boots you could use to ride a horse. Regardless, I am finding it increasingly funny to see women who wouldn't know a horse from the back end of a bus walking around looking (kind of) like they just came from the barn. Is it horribly snobby of me to say I think they should be reserved only for people who actually know how to ride? ;-) How can I tell? Horsey sixth-sense, I guess...

Of course I'm just kidding, but the people I actually know who I've seen wearing these at the office are definitely NOT horsewomen.

At any rate, I decided that I would be the first real horsewoman I know to sport this style of boot. So I went to the closet and got out my ca. 1978 tall boots, put them on with tights and a miniskirt, and sashayed out the door.

Again, I'm just kidding! My boots still fit and I could wear them, but all the black coating is worn off the insides of the calves, the ankles are thoroughly broken down, and they probably have manure embedded in the treads that will never come out. Not really the fashion trend you want. No, it was time to brave the crowds at the mall and try to find some real fake riding boots. My mom offered to buy them for my birthday present so the hunt was on.

I knew this was going to be a difficult task, for one simple reason: my calves are about half the size of the average American woman's. 98% of boots flop around on my legs when I walk, even with pants tucked in, and would look especially ridiculous with the tights/short skirt look. I think this is extremely unfair. Everybody makes Wide Calf boots - what about us poor chicken-legged gals? Accordingly, I hit the Internet and tried to figure out which styles might work for me. This was also dependent on the boots a) not costing more than $150 and b) them having my size. And, for the icing on the cake, if my narrow calves aren't bad enough, I have narrow feet to go with them, so most shoes and boots flop around for that reason, too!

Would you believe I actually found some that worked? Yeah, me, neither. I got these, but in black (can't find a non-.gif photo to share):
Yes, that's a mix of leather (although they're actually "pleather") and fabric on these. Kind of reminds me of the old Newmarket boots some people still wear for hunting, with the canvas uppers.
I like them because they are definitely riding boot-themed, but not exact replicas (frankly, since I'm not riding right now, those would make me sad :-(). The buckles at the top are *gasp* functional, so I tightened them up and voila, very little flopping. They have extremely narrow ankles, too. The fact that these fit me pretty well probably has something to do with them being marked down 50% at Macy's - nobody else wants them! ($75, a deal) Hurray, their loss is my gain. Chicken-legs of the world unite! For the record, these are Aigner Celinas, in case any of my dear readers also sport unusually small calves (more to like - I've always favored the horseshoe Aigner logo and have had their accessories before).

To wrap this up, I'll share with you two items from the current Ralph Lauren collection. If I ever see one of these things actually being used, I think I will have to smack the owner for sheer stupidity. I mean, REALLY, who blows that kind of money on a dog leash??? I love my dog but that's just nuts!
Dog Leash: $495
Purse: $1500 (Cool stirrup, but I'd rather have Bow-Balances on my saddle if I'm spending a lot on stirrups!)

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