Need help with western pleasure clothing

Where can I find the trends on the western pleasure show clothing? Going from hunt seat to western and need help! some of the questions I have: should chaps have fringe or no fringe? When to wear tunic top versus blouse? Differences between paint/quarter horse versus morgan world clothing-wise?

Any info would be appreciated!

5 Responses to Need help with western pleasure clothing

  1. GraceMorgn says:

    I think an quick way to look at trends would be to go to and look at the pictures from Nationals. Focus on the division you would be in, amateur, ladies, etc.

    In general, I would say that Morgan outfits tend to be more conservative in color and design than Quarter Horse/Paints and Arabs. We also tend to shy away from the very large collars and neon colors. Sparkles and rhinestones are in, but you shuoldn’t look like a disco ball.

    More than anything, look for an outfit that accentuates your best qualities and is flattering when you ride. Think about how things will lay when you are riding, not just standing. Unless you are super thin, I would stay away from the slinky, clingy material and go with a top that has more structure. Same goes for color. You want color to accentuate and highlight, not be distracting. Chaps can have fringe, but no fringe presents a cleaner look, especially if your horse has a little more bounce.

    Hope this helps.


  2. nadyrp says:

    Thanks, Ashley, that is a big help!

  3. colwilrin says:

    The Morgan fashions are generally about 5-10 years behind the QH girls. If you want to be on the cutting edge, follow the QH journal. Several of the clothiers of Morgan Western Fashion are primarily SS people who have added western clothing to their English staple lines. Their designs are reminiscent of the 70s-80s or follow QH designs that were popular a few years ago (with some revisions that make them look more dated or cheap). The arab folks are also a bit behind the times, as we are, but not quite as bad. If you like styles a bit “blingier” but not as fashion forward as QH, it helps to see what the Arab folks are up to.

    Fringe is good if you have curves, especially across the back to cover the posterior. It only distracts with “bounce” if your chaps are too long, too loose, or the fringe is too long. Scallop is for equitation riders. The non-fringe, non-scallop chap (resembling hunt schooling chaps) is a recent trend quickly becoming favored in the Saddlebred world. No offense to SB people, but they aren’t exactly western-fashoinistas and I wouldn’t follow any western trends that they set. We also got “day-glow” irridescent daycoats from them in the 1980s. They are also doing designs on the chaps to match tops (Arab people were doing this a few seasons ago but it appears to be fizzling out). I don’t recommend it as it breaks the visual line from head to heel and is quickly going out of style.

    Not sure of your age, but if you are a Jr. Exhib…you will want to find a monochromatic equitation/pleasure set. Bodysuit for Equit…Jacket for Pleasure. If you are past the youth division, don’t go monochromatic and shy away from the odd colored chaps. It is for the kids. Starting out with Black or Dark Brown chaps. Black is probably your best bet if you can afford only one pair. Try having a custom pair of calfskin chaps made by Rods. They are reasonable and the chaps are beautiful. Cream chaps are nice if you are riding a 15.2+ chestnut, but will make an “under” dark horse look even smaller if you have any length of leg.

    Hats: Straw is for outdoor hot summer shows. Felt for indoor and cooler temps. Felt may be worn outside, but Straw should not be worn inside. Felt is more formal. Hat colors: Tan/Creme/Buckskin/Beige; White; Silverbelly (gray); Black; Dark Brown. There should not be any other colors here – no dyeing to match unless you are in leadline.

    Lighter hats such as white and silverbelly are recommended for women. They lighten up the face, create a taller sillouhette and draw the eye up to the face. My personal preference is a white hat unless I am wearing browns (then I use tan).

  4. nadyrp says:

    Thank you so much for all the info and thanks for talking about the hats too because that was going to be my next question. I am no a jr, but I am petite (I have been called a peanut) and my horse is tall, he is 15.3 or a little over. He is a dark bay. I was thinking black chaps and then some color for the top and try to find a saddle pad to match the color. Thanks again, Nady

  5. Vintage_Rider says:

    I agree with my friend Colwilrin… make sure your hat is “crisp”, and I believe (and know someone will correct me) have it shaped still in QH style. My own hat guy does a modified to that and calls it Arab, but looks the same to me. ;-). Since you are petite, watch the brim size too, you don’t want to look like hop-a-long cassidy. Note too that 90% of the time, you will see plain black saddle pads, and it is a definite must for equitation. The whole idea is to accentuate your horse, not you… but the rings are full of bay horses, so give yourself pops of color so the judge will find you.

    I love the latest trend for QH where they are wearing tailored shirts with lace vests with mild bling of the same color over them… very feminine.

    Whatever you chose, wear something very tailored since it would seem you are blessed with a slender frame.

    Most of all, have a blast! The smile is the most flattering part of any outfit.

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