By Alexa Derr, 2KGrey
If you show often like I do, you are no stranger to the sometime high-ticket prices for equestrian clothing styles and necessities such as helmets, show jackets, brow bands, etc. Whenever people ask me where I buy my show clothes, I love to see their reactions when I tell them I made them myself. There is such a great feeling of satisfaction that my creativity (and frugality) is appreciated, not to mention the bonus of my uniqueness when standing out in the crowd
How do I make custom show clothes? I start my custom look by combing tack shops for great deals and then I go on to local craft and fabric stores or Etsy to gather materials that will allow me to take something ordinary and make something extraordinary.
A few years ago, I found myself looking to purchase a new custom Shadbelly as I was seriously competing at CDIs. I felt like my simple all black, less than perfect fit Shadbelly just didn't have the WOW factor. Once I realized a custom jacket was going to take to0 long to order (and was going to break the bank), I changed my game plan. I purchased a variety of trimmings such as fabric, piping, and buttons and proceeded to create the WOW factor I was looking for.
Alexa sporting her handmade custom Shadbelly
Some tips for creating your own custom look:
- Decide if you want to update your pre-existing wardrobe (less expensive method) or purchase a new coat/helmet to update. Check out these classic WOW brand show jackets and helmets that are the great starting blocks to create your perfect custom masterpiece.
- Choose a color pallet that works well with you, your horse, and the color of your tack/existing footwear and helmet. (Check out this article to help find the best base/accent colors to match our horse's coat and tack.)
(Keep in mind there are rules about color pallets for the base color and contrast colors of the jacket according to USEF and FEI so it's best to check before you start
- Head over to your local fabric store or trimmings website to start creating the perfect look.
- Everyone will have their own creative process, but the best thing for me was to go around the stores and to pick out any little sample pieces that I loved that worked with my color scheme. I then laid out all of my options and started grouping the fabric and button combinations together until I found the perfect fabric for piping, my points, the suede for my color, and the two tone buttons.
- Find a tailor or seamstress to help create the masterpiece. I used two different women to work on my jacket. One to tailor it, and one to change the color, buttons, and points. If you can do this step yourself, even better. If you are simply adding some bling or ribbon to your tack, helmet, or boots, all you need are tweezers, toothpicks, and Loctite glue (Loctite works better than super glue for this job.) Simply decide on your design, glue your "bling," allow ample time to dry, and your masterpiece is done!
Need some help brainstorming, coming up with a color pallet, or finding great pieces of clothing and tack to start with? Contact the author, Alexa Derr
, style ambassador for 2KGrey
for inspiration and check out Horse Tack Co
for awesome clothing and tack to add some personality and spice up your game.