~Excerpt of Article as published by the NRHA Reiner
+1 Fashion: Trends and Tips For A +1 Look In The Show Pen
Is one of your New Year's resolutions to get noticed more in the show pen? If so, consider updating your wardrobe. While fashion certainly can't replace time in the saddle, it can add to your overall eye-appeal and make not only a great first impression, but a lasting impression.
"Reining is all about the horse and maneuvers, so I always make my horse the focus. Fashion is simply the accent," says Ginger Schmersal, a non pro rider, wife to NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider Craig Schmersal and the owner of the Schmersal Tack Store.
NRHA Professional, Judge and Chair of the Judges' Committee, Jody Brainard agrees. "From the judges' standpoint, the focus is always on the horse and maneuvers. However, you still want to look as professional as you can when you show. The first impression when you walk in the pen says a lot to a judge."
Although the NRHA Handbook doesn't include an option for earning style points, there's no denying the importance of that first impression.
"When you walk in the show pen looking polished, it gives the judges a good first impression. It says that you're ready to perform to the best of your ability," says Taylor Larson, the 2014 Cinch NRHA Non Pro Futurity Level (L) 3 and L2 Non Pro Champion. "It's not necessarily going to give you any points, but its sets you up for the best that you can do, gives you confidence as a rider and gets the judges attention."
So where do you start with putting together that great, first impression? Right here. The NRHA Reiner talked with some of the best in the industry to find out how to put together a +1 outfit. And you may be surprised that you don't need a million dollar budget to do so. But what it does require is intentionality. Create a look that fits well, shows your personality, and coordinates with all the elements of your outfit, including your horse.
Many agree that a well-fitting and well-shaped hat is the most important wardrobe element. "Hats are incredibly important because it's one of the first things that we see as judges," says Brainard. "It doesn't have to be an $800 hat, but it has to be fitted and shaped properly."
Shorty's Caboy Hattery of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, leads the way in creating custom hats that stand out in the show pen. Over the past 26 years, Lavonna "Shorty" Koger has taken Shorty's Caboy Hattery from a local hat cleaning and shaping company to a worldwide, trend-setting, custom hat-making company. Shorty agrees that the fit and shape are the most important.
"We do a head-shape on each of our customers to get their measurements. Then we build the hat to fit their facial features and body type," describes Shorty. In addition to measurements, Shorty also relies on her expertise and eye to create the best had for that individual. "I've just had a knack for looking at people and knowing what looks best on them when it comes to crown-height, brim-width, colors, and designs. My hope is that their hat fits perfectly and that they love it as much as I loved making it for them," says Shorty.
Secondary to fit and shape is color. Shorty recommends taking the color of your complexion, outfit and horse(s) into consideration when choosing a hat color. Dark grey and pecan are the best-selling colors for both men and women and she predicts they will continue to be popular in 2015.
While black can be a classic color for hats, Shorty often encourages people, especially women, to try a dark grey instead. Black hats tend to create dark shadows on your face and make you look shorter.
Want to add more personality and style? Shorty's specializes in customizing hats with details such as beadwork, embroidery, crystals, or buck-stitching on the brim, exotic hides on the brim, leather laced brims and laser designs beneath the brim.
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