To Bling or Not to Bling?

Show Me Style with Wendy Brown: Bling or No Bling? That is the Question

What is a show clothing company doing writing about the controversy of bling? Show Me Again was inspired during the Congress this year when Kristen Galyean took the arena, and the web, by storm by wearing a plain shirt during her pleasure class on VS Lady In Red. Galyean explained, “I love the comfort of it,” and she added that the focus should be on the horse. People sang her praises and the story went viral.

So is bling really necessary? One of our recent customers, upon returning to the show ring after a hiatus of twenty years, was caught off guard by how attire had changed. “I do understand, based on previous experience, plus simple knowledge of human nature, that, in order to be competitive, one has to “look the part,” said customer Charese Pelham. However, she wondered if spending thousands on each outfit was going to be required, or if she should just sell her western horse completely. More on that at the end.

Reasons to Keep It Simple

We offer both fitted shirts and bling at Show Me Again for a reason. There is a place for both, and here’s what we love about pieces like zip-front, fitted shirts with no sparkle.

Sophistication and clarity: Erin Bradshaw, owner of multiple World Champion Sire John Simon, says she likes bling, but also loves a great fitting shirt like Kristen wore. “You can never go wrong with a classic…that’s the foundation of fashion.”

Comfort, simplicity and affordability: Not only do many oxford shirts have stretch, but they are surprisingly affordable – just a fraction of the cost of high-end, World Show level garments. Showing in a button down or zip-front shirt certainly makes a show day less complicated, and often the shirt can be hand washed or thrown in the gentle cycle. Fitted shirts can now be customized and can be ordered in a variety of colors with accents and piping, so you can match a pad and have a sophisticated look for less than $500 at Show Me Again.

Trendsetting – and being yourself: If you truly think horse showing should be bling-free, continuing to show in unadorned clothing, and showing at your best, is the best way to prove your point without saying a word. “Thank you Kristin Galyean for representing,” said Kelly Curran Gross. “I’ve been showing at the breed level for years in a plain saddle and button downs and I’m pretty sure the judges don’t care. So refreshing.”

Another exhibitor, Pamela Britton-Baer, makes a very good point. She explains that bling isn’t really necessary, especially at a Level 1 event, and she points out that judges aren’t as mindful of the bling as some think. “I ride English. We all look the same and judges have no problem placing a class. The same judges use the same method of judging to place the western pleasure. They aren’t looking at the saddle and clothes; they are looking at the horse/rider. I wore a plain black jacket and pants to Level 1 in the showmanship three years ago. I was fifth out of 40.”

Why Wear Bling?

Of course, many exhibitors love bling, or it wouldn’t be so prevalent. Not only does it speak to their inner princess, they wear it because it makes them feel confident and wearing it, to them, is much like dressing up for a special occasion.

“Yes, bling!” exclaims, Amateur exhibitor Kathryn deVries Mitchell. “I love the glamour of it and I feel more confident in a ‘look at me’ type of outfit – especially at the larger shows. I will wear a plainer (cooler) shirt at some of the smaller shows that are outside when it’s hot – but even my plainer shirts have to have a little bling.”

Climate is another consideration, as well as the size of the show, as Kathryn mentions. Just as dinners or social events can be more formal, so can horse shows, and attire coincides with the tone of the event.

Former trainer Jack Atwell also makes an interesting observation about the presence of bling in the show pen. “Beautiful outfits are great, but it will never make you the winner. The glamour, however, adds a little show and glitz to a very lacking spectator sport,” he explains. While we are used to shows, for most non-horse lovers, shows can be rather boring. At a show in Arizona, one youth exhibitor’s aunt was overheard during the prep for a pleasure class saying, “The pageantry of this is really amazing.” Hmm – we hadn’t thought of it that way. Not to mention admiring the extensive handwork and artistry of each designer’s work. Where else would you have a chance to wear such a piece?

Another point of consideration: while Exhibitor Ora Sue Nagy is not for the glitzy look, she reveals that a basic black vest helps the over-50 ladies hide a few rolls. “Just can’t tuck in a shirt and be attractive anymore.” she says. “But if I was thinner, I would be sporting a basic shirt tucked in and a nice pattern pad. It’s so professional looking.” What an exhibitor chooses to wear can be dictated by age, weight, and more, and sometimes, a little extra fabric and flattering design with some bling drawing the eye upward is much more comfortable and desirable.

One thing agreed upon by many exhibitors: don’t take the bling too far. Sparkle should be done in a tasteful way. “My take on the bling is it’s beautiful until you take it to the point that it looks gaudy,” adds Erin Bradshaw. (pictured left)

We’ve even heard some clients say, “I haven’t earned that much bling yet; I’m just getting started in the event so I don’t want to draw that much attention to myself.” Yet, another perspective to consider is bling being the reward for progressing in a new class as confidence soars.

The Rule of Thumb

We can all agree with Kristen Galyean that the horse should be the focus, and many praised her for being confident enough to proudly display this look. The Show Me Again philosophy: You should wear what makes you feel most confident, and there is no one right or wrong way to dress. Being unique is prevalent.

Some women like basic street clothes, while others love colors and accessories, and it’s no different in the show pen. If you feel like a million bucks in a plain black fitted shirt, then that is what you should wear; if you love the crystals, then by all means, show in them. How you feel in your clothes, and being you, will translate into confidence in the show pen. If we were all meant to look the same in the show pen, then that requirement would be in the rulebook. We are also in favor of choosing clothing to fit the event.

So what did our CEO, Wendy Brown, tell the customer who was appalled at today’s prices? “While it is more trendy to ‘look the part’, how far each individual takes this is completely by preference,” she explained. “If your preference is to go bling free, you are free to do so, and it cannot be held against you in scoring. In fact, at Show Me Again, we sell many inexpensive, fitted shirts and vests for this reason, and the entire basis for the formation of our company 17 years ago was to provide competitors an avenue to sell and purchase pre-owned, decorated clothes without having to break the bank; and recoup some of your investment for the pricey pieces. So perhaps you may want to start without bling and possibly for a larger show you want to dress up a bit more (or perhaps not)”

When Kristen stepped into the ring in a fitted shirt, it wasn’t that bling was going away from the show pen, for those of us who like it, it proves the point that it’s all about how you shine on your own. Kristen may have said it best in her confident, to-the-point manner: “I believe in wearing what makes you feel good.” Or perhaps the famous line from Legally Blonde, spoken by character, Elle Woods, can be the perfect gauge: “Being True to Yourself Never Goes Out of Style.”

To find an outfit that fits your style, go to www.showmeagain.com

Nine Tips on Shopping at Congress

“While you shouldn’t get wooed by the first gorgeous jacket you see, you have to find a balance between what gives you that unique feeling and your budget,” Wendy Brown states.

Are you planning on going clothes shopping at the Congress? The month-long show is described by many to be like a circus and state fair all rolled into one. Shopping at all the multiple vendors can be just as overwhelming. Don’t go in cold, as much as the bling may draw you in. Here’s a quick guide to help you shop while you’re there.

1) Wear a tank top under your clothes

Sometimes trying something on at the spur of the moment is the best decision you’ve ever made for purchasing an outfit. If the dressing room is busy, a tank top allows you try on a jacket, vest, and more without a lot of hoopla.

2) Take or wear your show undergarments

How you fit into a garment with your particular figure can change slightly if you’re wearing your shapers, or your favorite sports bra, or what you love to wear underneath your show clothes. And if you’ve shown for a while, you know a slight difference can matter when it comes to fit. Taking those items or remembering to put them on before can save you a lot of time and headache (or heartache). Some shops carry shapers you can use, but you’ll want your favorites if possible.

3) Don’t be afraid to shop alone

But be prepared to share your favorites with your trainer, or your friends and family, and also be prepared to make another trip back to try it on the second time. It’s fair to have the trainer look at it and incorporate other sets of eyes on it, and you do want to make sure it feels just as good the second time. Just keep in mind that it’s something akin to shopping for a wedding dress. Ultimately, it’s you who has to wear it (and buy it), so how you feel in the clothing, which will reflect how you show, is the ultimate factor.

4) Take your phone

Taking photos of yourself is usually encouraged, but how you take a picture of something you’ve decided you love is important. Taking a photo in the proper light and from a slight angle (women should never face the camera straight on) makes a difference in how your outfit, and you, photograph. Most vendors/designers are okay with photos, but understand if they are not; unfortunately, there have been instances of one-of-a-kind designs being copied with lesser quality and cost.

5) Know the market and the trends

By following your favorite designers and show clothes stores on social media, and by checking their websites frequently, you’ll have a better idea of what is a standard price for the amount of work put into a jacket, vest, or shirt. Workmanship and quality matter, as well as work by a designer who has stood the test of time. Be open to new, talented designers, and pay close attention to pricing.

6) Comparison shop

We know the drill – most will shop around to all vendors to see what is available before making a decision, and that’s fair (and smart). While you shouldn’t get wooed by the first gorgeous jacket you see, you have to find a balance between what gives you that unique feeling and your budget. You also need to consider practicality – if your budget is set for a while, or you are purchasing a new horse, you should find a look you want that will last you for more than one show season.

7) Look for customer service

You should expect to be greeted and offered assistance, particularly if the rep or designer is not busy. Your rep should be knowledgeable and helpful, not only for fashion and appropriateness for your event and age division, but of any sales or consignment policies. If you ask just to browse, that should be okay too, but do ask for/expect a few pieces of information as you start so you can find what you need. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want just because you don’t want to be pressured. Good customer service isn’t about sales pressure, but about helping you find the right fit and the right garment. And your rep may have ideas worth taking a chance on.

8) Think about value

Can you wear the jacket you’ve fallen in love with in more than one event? It’s terrific to have an outfit for each discipline, but if that’s not in the cards for you, see if the jacket you love would work for both showmanship and pleasure or trail, for example. Some jackets can do double duty if they’re not too long when you sit in a saddle (which is also a good idea when trying on) and if they’re long enough for your body type for in-hand classes. If you’ve never tried vests, they are also a smart way to get more than one look because you can change the shirt underneath.

9) Shop from afar

Can’t be at the show? Look for a show clothes company that caters to everyone, including those who need to try an outfit at home. Show Me Again, for example, offers a 7-day trial period on credit card authorization with a generous return policy. If it doesn’t fit, your end cost is the shipping. Show clothes are a significant investment, and they should fit your body and your budget, as well as your taste, impeccably.

Want to learn more about our return policy, and view our vast new and pre-owned consignment inventory? Visit us at showmeagain.com and follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

Pre-Shop Congress and World

Pre-Shop Congress & World Here
Many Brand New items from Silver Lining and Nancy Rose have been Just Added to our website, and we are super excited about the new pieces arriving on a daily basis for your pre-Congress and World shopping enjoyment. We will be posting online as soon as possible and displaying them at our upcoming shows, so please call if you are looking for something in particular. Many items will not arrive until right before our September show line up.

By popular demand, we are carrying a larger selection of BRAND NEW clothing, fitted shirts, pants, scarves and all price ranges of new show clothing direct from designers available for purchase. Scroll to bottom for special offer!

Below are just a few Sneak Peek’s of Brand New Julie Ewing Originals that will be arriving soon and available for purchase. We are over-the-moon that Julie Ewing is back to creating  her off-the-rack originals available exclusively at Show Me Again.

JE JE2

Bringing Show Clothes to Life 
Voted the 2017 BEST show clothing consignment company, but we continue to improve our services to our consignors and customers. You may have noticed that we have implemented video along with the photos in the product listing on our website on many high-end pieces. We have been hard at work on our award-winning, state-of-the-art website and are thrilled to see it come to fruition. As consignment innovators we are proud to be the first to offer this service to you. We are currently accepting designer consignments, so if you would like to see your piece featured in this way do not hesitate to contact us. We have a specialized audience directed towards buyers, not just enthusiasts, that translate to sales and money in your pocket.

SPECIAL OFFER
TAKE 
20% OFF YOUR FITTED SHIRT ONLINE PURCHASE. Coupon Code: Fallshirt

Includes in-stock, brand new Platinum Show Apparel fitted shirt online orders and custom orders 

placed by 9/4/17. Act Now!

Non-refundable, may only be exchanged for a different size or store credit.

Deposit required for custom orders. 4-6 week delivery time.

Limited Time Offer Expires 9/4/2017. No rain checks. 

Expect The Vests

Show Me Style Blog

With Show Me Again’s Owner & CEO Wendy Brown and Sales Representative Delores Kuhlwein

 

Fall 2017 Show Pen Style Alert:  Expect the Vests

Aren’t vests amazing? The perks are countless, but one of the best benefits:  changing the shirt color underneath!  It’s almost like getting several outfits for the price of one.

Then there’s the added benefit of having a secure bodice while your arms are free to move, and who doesn’t like that aspect when showing?  It’s also a look that a rider of age, division, size, or budget can pull off. They are flattering and work as a body shaper to create a slim silhouette.

 

Shown in the photo is a bolero style vest and shirt set by Platinum Show Apparel sold at Show Me Again.

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One of the biggest complaints we hear about show clothing is that they are so hot! We know your comfort is important, and while it can be impossible to stay cool wearing a long sleeved, collared tops in the dead of summer, vests definitely help with the weight, breathability and overall comfort during the hottest summer months of showing.

Pictured is a lightweight Lycra shirt and Lycra vest without crystals by Platinum Show Apparel available exclusively at Show Me Again. Best of both worlds. Relief from the heat and budget friendly at $398 for the set.

 

Red Paisley Vest by

Platinum Show Apparel

 

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Vests returned to the arena in a big way a few years ago, but the show ring enchantment with them hasn’t faltered.  In fact, designer creativity appears to be hitting an all-time high because of the versatility of vests!

 

Show in the photo is a vest by Silver Lining. Photo credit Silver Lining Show Apparel.

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So if you haven’t tried them yet, or if you’re ready to dive in for a fresh look, here’s some examples of what you’ll be seeing hit the show pen this fall.

Pictured is a brand new vest by Cachet Cowgirl Collection, available exclusively at Show Me Again.

Cachet Cowgirl Collection Motorcycle Vest

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Boleros

Bolero style is associated with a cropped, shorter jacket, and the concept, luckily for us, was applied to the show vest!  Boleros lend themselves to highlighting the areas you want and drawing the eye upward, so don’t be wary if you’re unsure they will work for you – trying them on is crucial so you find the correct length and style.

 

Shown in the photo is a bolero style vest and shirt by Platinum Show Apparel available for purchase exclusively at Show Me Again.

 

Bolero Vest by Platinum Show Apparel

Black Lycra Fitted Shirt

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Boleros can be classy with neutral bases and subtle design, edgy with color and creative elements, or sassy with fringe and details like conchos and rawhide.  Boleros offer another feature, too – they can be matched to a horsemanship and worn over the top for pleasure for a fuss-free western day at the show! The possibilities are endless.

 

Shown in the photo is a coordinating horsemanship top and bolero style vest by Silver Lining. Photo credit Silver Lining Show Apparel.

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Symmetry

Nothing beats balance and symmetry, the latest look in show ring attire.  Vests offer a terrific canvas upon which to display symmetry since it’s a look on your upper body.  Keeping your shoulders and torso balanced while you’re in the saddle is priceless, and a well-fitted vest does it like no other. Some of our favorite symmetrical designs are picture here!

Shown in the photo is a symmetrical style vest by Diane Olsen available for purchase through Show Me Again.

 

Diane Olsen Vest

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Color

While black is still the most popular base for most amateurs, a vest allows you to add colorful accents to that base, or you can experiment with a color you like by choosing a vest in your chosen color.  More importantly, the color is on the torso where it’s the least distracting, since your movement will be most subtle there.  Furthermore, you’ll have the ability to highlight various colors in your vest by swapping shirts underneath, and playing with the type of shirt.  You can additionally choose a shirt underneath that has been customized to match, or a shirt with accents on cuffs and collar, or a plain zip or button front shirt.  Vests are a safe way to play and experiment with color!

Pictured is a pre-owned vest with coordinating shirt by Kevin Garcia available for purchase through Show Me Again.

 

Kevin Garcia Vest Set

 

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Fringe

Fringe:  you may love it or hate it, but if you haven’t tried it on a vest, you might be missing out.  One of our favorite looks is leather or beaded fringe at the bottom of a vest!  Depending on your vest, it can be playful, or it can add a touch of femininity.  What we also love about fringe at the bottom is the coverage it provides disguised as a fashionable accent.  We’ve even seen removable fringe, the best of both worlds!

Shown in the photo is a vest by Trudy Black Label sold through Show Me Again. Photo credit Show Me Again.

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Vaquero Style

When ranch classes became one of the fastest growing disciplines at the shows and western style appeared on the runways, a nod to our western heritage appeared in jackets and vests.  Western shapes, elements and findings like conchos, rawhide, fancy stitching add touches that allow us to celebrate the western look without overwhelming a sophisticated look.  Vests are the perfect place to recognize and honor our Western beginnings!

Shown in the photo is a Vaquero Style vest. Photo credit Ali Grusha Photography.

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Budget Friendly

Usually vests are less expensive than jackets because there are no sleeves to create and embellish; instead being paired with one of the cotton or Lycra zip front shirts, which can also be worn alone. Show Me Again has seen a very high demand for the new Lycra shirts available at their online store because they are more comfortable, wrinkle free and cooler than cotton shirts, as well as available in a variety of fun colors. Those who wish to experiment with colors can do so inexpensively by trying out a Lycra or cotton shirt.

 

Another recent development includes the “BYOB” (Bring Your Own Bling) vests. These are becoming popular amongst those who are boycotting the dripping crystal craze, or those who want to express their own creativity by decorating their own vests. Show Me Again has Just Added several new patterns in these affordable vests by Platinum Show Apparel and for as little as $389 you can have a stylish, casual brand new vest and shirt for a weekend show, rainy day or when it’s just too sweltering hot to bring out your heavily embellished show clothes. Another bonus: both shirt and vest are machine washable and made in the USA.

 

Pictured is a Platinum Show Apparel vest with 2 different colored shirts, which dramatically changes the overall look of the outfit. Vest and shirts available exclusively at Show Me Again.

BYOB Vest by Platinum Show Apparel

 

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Ready to try a vest?  At Show Me Again we always have a terrific selection of brand new and preowned consignment vests for your shopping convenience for all sizes and budgets!

You may also shop for brand new vests and shirts at our showroom during High Roller Reining Classic 2017 at South Point in Las Vegas September 8-16, or at Arizona Fall Championship at WestWorld of Scottsdale September 19-24, 2017, or you can “Try Before You Buy” at www.showmeagain.com.

 

Drawing the Line

Style Scenes from the 2017 APHA Zone 2 Zone-A-Rama with Sales Representative Delores Kuhlwein

We love sparkle!  So you do, apparently – we had a terrific show last week at the APHA Zone 2 Memorial Day Zone A Rama and UPHC POR, and our showroom’s shine could be seen all the way across the beautiful venue in South Jordan, Utah.

But we want to stop you right there.  No matter what trend you see, with lots of bling or just a tiny bit, one of the clear messages you’ll hear from us involves a long, clean line, and a well-fitting outfit that draws the eye upward.  And that eye-catching look was apparent everywhere we turned, from our Show Me Again customers to many of the tough competitors in the show ring.

Memorial Day Weekend’s Zone 2 APHA Show, the largest Paint Horse show in the U.S., was jam-packed with flattering designs that provided a silhouette or clean line from shoulder or hip to toe.  These ladies know how to dress!  Of course, we were happy to help contribute to the beauty in the pen.

IMG_0210Return customer Kathy wanted a sophisticated look for the Master’s horsemanship, and that’s exactly what she purchased:  a dynamic, modern horsemanship shirt that emphasized her body position and provided light to her face under a black hat.  She won the horsemanship, and though she credited the shirt, we declared that the shirt gave her the final piece of confidence to get it done!

Customer Kellie purchased a beautiful preowned teal and black Paula’s horsemanship shirt from us at AQHA Silver Dollar Circuit in March, and she rocked the show pen on her newly acquired horse here at the show!  What a nice pop of color with a pattern that carried the neutral base in her chaps all the way through to her collar. IMG_0185

Both ladies had very different price points and body shapes, and both were able to create a smart impression on their horses in a class where the rider’s body position is definitive.

IMG_0248Next, let’s look at the pleasure pen.  One of Madison’s favorite events is Western Pleasure, but she often has trouble finding something diverse enough to complement both her and her horse, in addition to her black saddle. Her Silver Lining vest with several options for shirt colors gave her tiny frame great length and poise with the color and presence she wanted.

Brenda, who has a fabulous roan pleasure horse, started out the show in a gorgeous vest (below, left) that matched her horse beautifully.  She was ready to invest in a pleasure jacket, so we worked with her to coordinate the warm colors she wanted. Notice her new but preowned ensemble on the right, which creates a flattering line pulling her base color from head to heel while celebrating the warmth of bronze, gold, copper and the pop of turquoise.

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Blending your look with your horse definitely worked for customer Megan, who had changed horses recently.  Despite her easy going nature, she loved the edgy and monochromatic appeal of her new black and silver Sweet Magnolia jacket on her new black horse.  Can you see (below, right) how the design almost points to her tiny waist and makes her look long and lean? IMG_0253

 

It’s not just about black or dark colors, however.   Even though this amateur rider’s base is black (below, left), the slimming effect of the black up her side paired with a stunning Kelly green is dynamic.

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Lastly, repeat customer Shari had been searching for a comfortable look that accentuated her light complexion and presented a streamlined look to coordinate with her horse’s slow, soft legs.  The warmth of the copper enhances her complexion, the airbrushing offers a softness, and the black base brings the eye all the way up to her hat.

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All in all, no matter the color you wear, whether it’s black, purple, green or pink, think about carrying the color throughout your frame to present an elegant and modern line on your body.  Whatever your budget or body type, Show Me Again is here to help you present the best picture so you can relax and enjoy the ride.

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of the Show Me Again Style blog, published exclusively on GoHorseShow.com. Please check back frequently for updates.

To receive the latest Show Me Again updates, coupons, and to see our continuously revolving inventory of brand new and gently used designer show clothing, please consider joining our Just Added Club for an occasional email. You may also follow us on Instagram and on Facebook for more frequent updates.

 

 

Photo permission for Blog only – Don Trout.