Monday, 6 January 2014

In which you shouldn't look like you belong on a horse unless you're on a horse


Not a practical outfit for
poo-picking the field

Just before Christmas, the Telegraph's fashion section ran a guide to looking the part for the Boxing Day hunt.

On this, several thoughts, to wit:

This is possibly THE MOST Telegraph-cum-fashion story ever in existence. I'm not sure there's anything that falls better into the very tiny section of that particular Venn diagram than what to wear for the Boxing Day hunt.

Now, it's lovely that enough people feel like they want to get involved that a national paper provides guidance on dress code. BUT… if you're involved enough with horses and / or the countryside that following the hunt is something that takes your fancy, you know what you're wearing anyway. Because it goes along the lines of: warm, practical, and something you don't mind getting muddy / covered in enthusiastic paw prints. Basically whatever you wear to walk the dog in.

But this clearly wasn't a guide for those thinking it might be nice to go and watch the hunt set off. The first clue was that it didn't list "warm jacket, scarf, wellies." It wasn't even for people who will be participating in the hunt - because at the point you've decided you're getting stuck in, either you know what you're wearing, and have battled the stock tie enough to prove it; or you're a bit unsure, at which point you call the hunt secretary. This - featuring full skirts from Temperley, various kit by Hermès, and red lingerie (rather than a sports bra) - is a guide firmly for those who simply want to look like they hunt, rather than go anywhere near an actual horse (although I've never seen anyone hunting in a Temperley skirt...).

If you wish serious hunters to take you seriously, you're better off buying from equestrian specialists, the piece says. If you want them to take you seriously, you're better off not dressing yourself up in the clobber making it look for all the world like you're suited more to a Thelwell cartoon in which you've lost your mount, to be honest.

I don't understand the fascination with wanting to look like you're horsey. Well over a year ago whilst walking to the office, I saw a woman in jodhpur-style trousers, riding boots, and a hacking jacket - all of which would be fine if she'd been actually on a horse, rather than the South Bank, and if the entire outfit hadn't quite clearly come from Zara. I don't play football, I don't hike, and I don't sail (the week sailing round the Greek islands doesn't count, given I did more lazing on deck in a swimsuit than the actual act of piloting the boat) - so I don't dress to look like I do. The whole concept of dressing up to make it look like you do a hobby that you don't really is quite bizarre.

And anyway, as we all know, there's only one sure fire way to look properly horsey, and it's one I very much doubt the fashionistas would ever countenance: a thoroughly practical (and not necessarily stylish) jacket, sensible boots that bear the scars of several hundred trips to the field where the gate stands in a muddy quagmire, and all over or at the very least on your sleeves and thighs, patches of variously-aged, unidentifiable patches of greenish slime and slobber. But for some reason, that was missing from the list.  

5 comments:

Rebecca said...


















Our family 10 year old just had her 1st riding lesson yesterday, but her outfit was slightly different. It ran more to pink cowboy boots and a black leather jacket, topped by a cowgirl hat. But her instructor wants to start her on show jumping, so she'll probably soon be trying on hard hats and jodhpurs. I don't think she'll give up the pink boots until she absolutely has to, though.

Marcheline said...

The designer fashion industry has always been fairly ridiculous, making clothes that only the super-rich could ever afford, and only the super-delirious would ever want to. They live in a fantasy world where women only come in size 0, so it's no wonder they indulge in hobby fantasy as well. I've also seen runway girls wearing outfits made of what looks like black plastic garbage bags... for the rubbish collector's ball, perhaps? They're so far from the real world - sort of like aliens coming to earth and trying to pretend to be human, only having no clue what real people are like.

em said...

Before Christmas a jumped up little kid in the skate shop in the complex I work in asked me why I was wearing the snowboarding jacket I had on. My response should have been 'because it's raining' instead I felt like I had to justify myself with a 'I've been snowboarding longer than you've been alive' comment....But I also remember getting all confused when scallies started wearing £300 sailing jackets to ride the buses in Sheffield. Sports 'fashion' is a funny thing isn't it!

Jo Crisp said...

I think the same about Stella McCartney for Adidas stuff even if it is actually designed for sport. I'm in a running club and I'd never wear any of her stuff for running in, it's the sport equivalent of Per Una, overdesigned with all sorts of extra flaps and bits. I've never seen any serious/semi-serious runner/jogger in any of her stuffso who buys it?

Ingrid Huibers said...

very funny! And yes, the woman in the picture looks utterly ridiculous...

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