Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Riding Coat Dilemma - Tweed or No Tweed

The riding coat dilemma recently popped up - what coats are appropriate for the show ring?  Can you wear the lovely tweed coats you often see in fox hunting photos from England?  The answer really depends on where you show and at what level.  Also, most horse shows are not held in cold weather and it would be uncomfortable to wear heavy wool during warm weather. 

Those lovely tweed coats are worn during "cubbing season" - the "pre fox hunting season" that falls typically between Labor Day and Thanksgiving here in the US.  This is the informal fox hunting season when you and your mount are getting in shape and preparing for the more formal fox hunting season.  You won't see the pink coats (the red ones) until the winter.

Here in the US, in our horse shows, you don't see tweed coats much in the show ring unless you are showing at a very "informal" show, maybe a local show.  We have a show in Virginia locally run by a Ruritan Club and it would be appropriate to wear a tweed coat there but it's also held in August so it would be dreadfully warm to wear tweed.

But riding coats have come a long way in the last ten years.  There are so many options, price points, materials, that it has become mind boggling to me.  I wear only one brand, Grand Prix, mostly due to fit and sizing.  I have older wool Grand Prix coats that I wear when I show in cold weather.  In warm weather the newer techno-fabrics coats come out.

 Here are some options for horse shows:

RJ Classics is a good brand, a basic show coat that can be worn for years.  This is a "hunter" coat to be worn in the hunter or jumper ring.  Classic styling, good for equitation classes.  

Another good option, well-priced, basic coat from Ariat.  Hunter, jumper or equitation ring.

A fancier, more expensive, maybe more trendy model, this one is suited for the jumper ring due to color and extra bling that is not a welcome sight in the staid world of hunters.

Another coat for the jumper world (due to color).  You would not see a stock tie in the hunter ring either.

Another value-priced hunter coat for the show or equitation ring:

So this great old photo of Jackie Kennedy riding in her tweed at a horse show in Virginia, likely would not happen today with one exception.

This photo of Ellie Wood Baxter riding at Upperville in her tweed is recent (in the last 10-15 years).  There is an invitational class there (you have to be invited to ride in it) and tweed is accepted!  I believe Ellie was in her early 90's when this photo was taken.   She is an amazing woman and sadly no longer rides (due to her eyesight).

It's lovely to see tweed on a horse.  But it's for fox hunting.  Hope you have tweedy day!  Stay warm and safe out there.  We have snow in Virginia.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Custom Needlepoint Handbags

I made the trek yesterday to one of my favorite spots, Chuck Pinnell custom leather in Crozet, Virginia.  Chuck is a master craftsman (Martha Stewart is a big fan) and he made riding chaps for Jackie Kennedy, Kelly Klein and others.  I've blogged about Chuck's work before (see an earlier post here).  This trip was made to drop off two belts. What I discovered yesterday was a fabulous custom needlepoint handbag that Chuck showed me.  Pictures don't do this lovely creation justice.  It was beyond beautiful.  

The leather is a bright blue, very substantial with navy trim. This is a small bag, a perfect size to hold a wallet, a phone, a few cosmetics and keys.  The customer had selected a lovely fabric to line the inside of the bag and there is a zipper pocket and the Pinnell logo.  The crasftsmanship is superb.

I think you could select a number of canvases to work into a bag like this.  You could also make the bag bigger if you wanted one that you could use every day.  But this bag is indeed an heirloom.

Chuck showed me two other bag styles that you could work into a needlepoint piece:

I'd take the center piece and make a needlepoint insert for each side.  He can also make these bags larger or smaller and the colors of leather he has in his shop - it would amaze you.  Here are some possible ideas for an insert:


The possibilities are endless.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Divine Porthault

If I ever hit the lottery, I am going straight to New York and embellish my home with Porthault, as in the French linen company.  Maybe a trip to Paris would be a better idea......

The standard by which all should be judged (read very expensive) proprietor of linens, sheets, towels, bathrobes, and accessories is more than just a linen company.  Porthault is passed down, generation to generation (yes, it lasts that long) and becomes an heirloom if you are lucky enough to own it.

If you are a fan, you may want to add this newly published book to your collection:

Sunday, January 14, 2018

New Country House Near Charlottesvile

I fell in love with this newly built home near Charlottesville, Virginia which sits on about 5 acres in an area of million dollar homes with a large conservation easement.  You can see the listing here.


Friday, January 12, 2018

J Crew and J. Drake Collaborations' Horse Print Blouses

I've had my eye on this J Crew blouse, a horse print, one of their collaborations with J. Drake.  The J. Drake pieces I have purchased have all been very good quality. This adorable blouse can be worn so many ways:

- with black jeans and flats for a casual look;
- with white jeans and black Jack Rogers sandals for a summery look;

- with black velvet pants or jeans, black flats and pearls for a more dressed up look;
- with a black pencil skirt, black pumps, statement earrings and an aqua cardigan for an office look.

If you prefer silk, then you might like this one.

This blouse is going to be more difficult to style.  The color is great but it won't work for everyone.  I like this with jeans like in the photo above.  I'd add a smart gold necklace or a short string of pearls.  

I'd consider pairing this blouse with white jeans and brown sandals for a great spring to fall look.....

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Linen Reset

January is a time to refresh, hit the reset button, come clean, organize and set your new priorities. It's been a tough few weeks so far in 2018 - busted pipes inside and out due to the extreme cold; an aging horse that is not doing well; work has become a four-letter word so far this year.  Sometimes you have to try and find the positives when there are so many negatives.  I'm trying to clean the house, organize my closets, get rid of clothes I don't wear and refresh my linens.  I've blogged in recent months about Linen Lament - how difficult it is to find linens that will last without paying a huge fortune.  January is sale time and if you are interested in upgrading and refitting your linen closet, this an ideal time.  And it's so wonderful to fall asleep on soft, crisp linens or to grab a thick lush towel when you step out of the shower.

Here are some ideas if you'd like a Linen Reset in 2018.

I love these towel from Horchow and bought these for the cabin.  Great quality, size, plush, worth the price.  You can monogram them too for a small fee.

Here is another alternative, also on sale, and easily monogrammed.  These come in other color options.  I prefer white towels but they are more difficult to maintain.

I've had my eye on these sheets for months.  

These Kate Spade sheets are not on sale but reasonably priced.

One of my readers swears by these sheets from Belks also on sale:

 These linens from Ballard are also on sale:

And I love these classic scalloped sheets from Matouk, also on sale.

Reset your linen closet in 2018.  Happy Thursday!

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