We Ask The Industry: Fashion Trends You Wish Would Come Back

Have you ever looked at an old horse show picture and thought, “What in the world was I wearing?”  From high-waisted pants to smooth leather chaps and everything in between, horse show fashion is constantly evolving.  However, like all fashion eventually does, most of those ‘what was I thinking’ fashion statements somehow seem to make a comeback in some form or…fashion (pun intended).  And if they haven’t yet, chances are, if given enough time, they eventually will.

We asked some prominent horse trainers, exhibitors and judges what types of fashion trends they wish would come back in style. While many of them shared similar opinions on a variety of older fashions, others chose out-of-the-box trends that they wouldn’t mind rocking again.

So, what’s next on the evolution of horse show fashion trends to make a come back? Maybe some of these answers will start the trend.

Meghan Tierney (pictured left) – I really like the color of the old-fashioned breeches. They almost have a green tint to them, but sadly they are so difficult to find in the traditional colors nowadays. Now all that is on the market are light tans, khakis, and taupe-like colors.

Larissa Affeldt – I honestly never thought dark saddles (black) would come back or that when they did, that I would like them as much as I do. You never know, maybe the tuxedo shirt and bow tie will make a comeback and it will be amazing… just maybe (laughs). I have learned to never say never when it comes to style. Maybe I will decide to rock a mauve hat and chaps in the future. Haha!

Andrea Kail – Oh, that’s a tough one. I should say yellow chaps since it was my deal as a youth kid, but I doubt I’d consider it a style. I’m pretty sure there’s no way I could ever pull those off again. Katie Green and I actually joke about them all the time. She’s trying to get me to bust them out at the Congress one of these years, but I told her that was a firm, No! (laughs)





Danielle Burnight – Rocky Mountain Jeans need to come back. Just kidding! I actually liked them, although no one would ever actually admit that. Seriously, forget comfort. They made your waist look five sizes smaller. They were like a tourniquet on your organs. Today’s fashionista waist trainers have nothing on Rocky Mountain Jeans. But in all seriousness, I wish more buck stitch and rawhide would come back.

Katy Jo Zuidema – Roached manes for sure. It’s so much easier and then the horses wouldn’t have to wear slinky hoods. It has to be like sleeping in panty hose.

Whitney Wilson 
– One trend I wish would come back in style is smooth chaps. They were the comfiest.

Troy Compton 
– Rocky Mountain Jeans on women should be brought back for sure. (laughs)

Kathy Tobin – I wish, and my wish is coming true, that more simple, comfortable shirts would come back in style.

Beckie Peskin – I would bring back more diversity to hunt coat colors. I feel like few people stray from the basic black these days, and I am just as guilty as the next girl. In my defense, I generally only show the equitation where black is super-appropriate. I’m not saying we need to go all the way back to when we were wearing light coats and dark breeches, but I miss the pretty deep navy, brown and grey coats.

Chelsea Carlson – A trend I wish would come back is buck stitch in show tack. I personally have always thought it was a cool look and can especially see it making an appearance in the ranch riding as well as potentially the trail, western pleasure and western riding.

Elizabeth “Spike” Brewer – I wish that more simplicity would come back in the western events. I say this because I think when some beginner/novice/new folks come to our shows and obviously see all the bling with the tack and clothes, it can intimidate them and make them feel like they can’t compete if they don’t have deep enough pockets. I do appreciate the gorgeous jackets and vests from many talented designers that are truly pieces of art. I just wish we could somehow reach out and assure them it’s not a necessity, and you can show in a simple outfit.

Joe Hansen – I wish that solid, bold-colored saddle pads would come back.

Sandy Jirkovsky – The one fashion trend I like is the solid colored blouses being worn in the horsemanship classes. I think this is very flattering to the horsemanship rider and does not detract from their posture. I feel if you design your horsemanship outfit in a color that is flattering to your body type and your horse, and add a quality matching pad, you can never go wrong.

Mackenzie Preston – I wish that straw hats were more of an “in-trend” concept in the all-around events. Not a lot of people wear them for showing but I love mine and wear it often in the reining and wish it was a trend for all-arounders.

Jenna Tolson – The trend for years now, particularly for the western events, is to have a different shirt/jacket/outfit per event essentially. Horse showing is already such an expensive sport, and it would be nice if it would be acceptable to use an outfit nearly all day. I understand the reasoning on functionality with different clothes in different events, but I feel it has gotten a little out of hand. One positive is the return to prominence of vests on ladies in the western classes. At least you can get a two-for-one there with a vest and a nicely fitted shirt.



Debby Brehm – Probably the only thing I can think of is the ability to wear straw hats in the warmer weather. The felt hats are so hot in the summer. The moment I remove my felt hat I slap a ball cap on–my hat hair is a disaster.

Brian Isbell – I really wish rust chaps would come back into style as well as sweaters and vests during the fall and winter.

Jody Quiram – I wish that fitted, elegant and understated outfits that are really creative and different would come back. Also, cute scarves tied around the neck with the collar open.

Mark Sheridan – I would like to see neat, clean and well-fitted blouses for women and well-made saddles without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars on tack and outfits. I realize that many saddle makers and women’s clothing designers are cringing when they hear this, however, I am looking for the best rider and/or best horse combination and not the most expensive saddle or outfit. Besides, why do men get away with wearing a fifty dollar shirt and the women seem to need a five thousand dollar top? If it makes you feel good to spend that much money and you like it, then, by all means, go for it.

It is important to look good, and I do notice tasteful tack and clothes and most importantly a very well-shaped hat, and hair is done right with makeup and all, but I think at times, it gets overdone with the glitz. I recall years ago at the World Show when I had the opportunity to judge the Amateur Horsemanship, and a young woman won on all five judges’ cards with overwhelming scores. I remember she had a blue blouse, blue chaps, a nice pad, a very well shaped, high-quality plain buckskin hat, and a very simple basket weave well-made saddle. It was a very simple but clean look, but with not one bead or ounce of sparkles. I guess that is why I remember her for that reason. She simply out-rode everyone else in the class.


While fashion trends may come and go, there are undoubtedly some trends that we hope will never come back, and some that we wouldn’t mind coming back in style. All in all, wearing what makes you comfortable is the most important factor when it comes to style. Most likely, the craziest fashions have yet to be seen and we can’t wait to see how horse show style evolves in the future.


About the Author- Samantha Armbruster is a 22-year-old student from Sunbury, Ohio who is currently pursuing a degree in Public Relations from Franklin University. She currently shows her Quarter Horse gelding, Oops I Am Good, also known as “Hudson”, on the Quarter Horse circuit. Samantha loves being involved in the industry from lending a hand to the younger kids to learning from the top professionals. In 2016, Sam and her horse Hudson won an NSBA World Championship in Trail as well as a Quarter Horse Congress Championship in Showmanship.

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Source: AQHA