A 10 for Turnout

Per­sonal stylist Bar­bara Bier­nat tells you how to dress your shape to look your best in and out of the ring.

Dressage Today - - Content - By Lind­say Paulsen

How to flat­ter your fig­ure in and out of the sad­dle

We spend hours en­sur­ing that our horses are metic­u­lously groomed and sharply out­fit­ted, from their smoothly braided fore­locks to the tips of their pol­ished hooves. But this of­ten comes at the ex­pense of our own ap­pear­ance. After all, how of­ten do you head out to the ring with a gleam­ing horse but cov­ered in dirt your­self? Feel­ing con­fi­dent and com­fort­able in your rid­ing clothes not only makes it eas­ier to tran­si­tion from the barn to wher­ever your day takes you, but it might have more of an ef­fect on your rid­ing than you would think.

“Dres­sage has so much to do with at­ti­tude. If you feel like a mil­lion bucks, you ride a lit­tle bit bet­ter,” says Bar­bara Bier­nat of Horse & Rider Bou­tique in Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia.

Bier­nat is the out­fit­ter of in­ter­na­tional-cal­iber rid­ers such as Adri­enne Lyle and Deb­bie McDon­ald and uses her skills as a per­sonal shop­per to add ex­tra pol­ish to their im­age in the show ring.

Here, she shares her ad­vice for look­ing your best in breeches and beyond with spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tion for women’s unique shapes. Whether you find your­self topheavy, bot­tom-heavy or more straight-lined, a few tips from this pro might change the way you think about rid­ing clothes.

All Shapes

• Tuck in your shirt. It is al­ways flat­ter­ing and re­gard­less of your shape, un­tucked

shirts tend to look frumpy. • A good vest is ev­ery­one’s friend. Cor­rectly fit­ted, it can con­ceal prob­lem ar­eas,

help cre­ate a de­sir­able sil­hou­ette and look neat and pro­fes­sional. • Stick to breeches made from a thicker cot­ton ma­te­rial or even denim. Th­ese tend to be the most flat­ter­ing fab­rics be­cause their thick­ness of­fers struc­ture and helps hide im­per­fec­tions. • Choose pants with a wider waist­band and wear a wider belt. This is usu­ally more

flat­ter­ing and more com­fort­able for all shapes and sizes. • If you like to ride in full-seat breeches, al­ways choose pants that have a darker seat, such as white pants with a gray seat. This cre­ates a slim­ming ef­fect. Never wear darker pants with a lighter seat. • Un­lined jack­ets tend to be cut for a tighter fit. If you want to give your­self a bit

more room for com­fort, or­der up a size. • Wear a thin shirt un­der­neath the more snug fit­ting tech­ni­cal-fab­ric show coats to re­duce bulk. Sim­i­larly, avoid large belts un­der tech­ni­cal coats to pre­vent un­flat­ter­ing bulges.


• Reach for shirts with princess seams, which are flat­ter­ing be­cause they pro­vide shape and def­i­ni­tion. Straight looks tend to not flat­ter those who are heav­ier up top. • Invest in a qual­ity sports bra, which is cru­cial for a com­fort­able ride and a pol­ished look. • Wear­ing the cor­rect sports bra also can af­fect the fit of shirts and coats. Make sure to wear a sports bra to the tack shop when you try on shirts and coats be­cause it will af­fect gap­ping. • If a coat fits ev­ery­where else ex­cept in the chest, you can have the but­ton moved hor­i­zon­tally to loosen or tighten the chest area. • Look for shirts with gus­sets—usu­ally tri­an­gu­lar pieces of fab­ric sewn into a seam—to help cre­ate def­i­ni­tion. • If you have thin­ner legs with a larger waist, pur­chase pants with a com­fort-fit waist­band that stretches. This al­lows you to wear pants that are small enough in the legs but large enough in the waist. This is bet­ter than the al­ter­na­tive of hav­ing to go up a size, re­sult­ing in bag­gi­ness around the legs.

• Avoid shirts with large prints and

bright col­ors.


• Opt for breeches with back pock

ets that have flat­ter­ing place­ment. Cor­rectly placed, th­ese can cre­ate a lifting and slim­ming ef­fect. • Al­ways buy breeches that have a side seam. The long ver­ti­cal line of the side seam will make legs look longer and thin­ner. • Stick to pants that pro­vide more struc­ture and support, and gen­er­ally avoid pull-on tights. • Splurge on more-ex­pen­sive pants, as cheaper pants will start to sag and won’t look as good. With pants, Bier­nat says, you tend to get what you pay for. • Choose con­trast­ing full-seat breeches

over knee-patch breeches. • Don’t be afraid to ex­per­i­ment with

brighter col­ors for larger sizes. Rid­ers

over a size 32 should prob­a­bly stay away from plaid, but the print can be flat­ter­ing and pro­vide a cam­ou­flage ef­fect for smaller sizes. • Wear boots that are ta­pered at the an­kle to give the il­lu­sion of more def­i­ni­tion in the leg. • Give denim breeches a shot. They can be a great op­tion for those with a heav­ier lower half, as they tend to hold you in place bet­ter. • Avoid side-zip breeches. A zip­per in

the front breaks up the mid­sec­tion. • Steer clear of low-rise pants. In­stead, pick breeches with a mid-rise fit. Low-rise pants tend to get saggy, and breeches with a higher waist draw the eye up­ward.


• Cre­ate the il­lu­sion of curves with

high-waisted breeches. • Add more shape to your seat with

breeches with pock­ets. • A cor­rectly fit­ted vest can help cre­ate

the il­lu­sion of a waist. • When pur­chas­ing a coat, make sure that the sleeves are long enough or that there is enough ma­te­rial in the sleeve that can be let out to ac­com­mo­date a longer arm. • If you have trou­ble find­ing a coat or shirt that is the right length, or­der a size up and have it tai­lored. • Look for a coat that of­fers the right sil­hou­ette with­out be­ing baggy. • De­tail on the back of a coat can help to cre­ate more fem­i­nine lines.

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