In January, model Charlotte Casiraghi opened Chanel’s Haute Couture runway show wearing a black tweed jacket, fitted black pants and black boots. The look wouldn’t have caused much buzz had it not been for the fact that Casiraghi wore it while perched atop her horse, Kuskus. Spectacle is often the name of the game when it comes to Chanel runway shows (Karl Lagerfeld once flew in an iceberg to serve as runway backdrop), and a horse trotting its way around seated showgoers was no exception. Taking cues from the runway, horse girl fashion is in this fall, with many designers adding sporty and preppy flourishes to their collections that feel reminiscent of the equestrian outfits worn by riders.
High fashion has always maintained a tie to the equestrian world. Hermès began as a saddle-maker, while Gucci products have long been adorned with the brand’s signature horsebit. More recently, a new era of equine enthusiasts have emerged in the industry. Model Bella Hadid often shares videos of herself riding on Instagram, and designer Hillary Teymour of Collina Strada has channeled her equestrian childhood into her recent runway collections. The message: horse girl style may be considered preppy, but it’s not just for those who frequent the riding club.
Amelia Diamond, writer and head of creative brand marketing at AYR, who is also an advisor for Calling All Horse Girls, explains that there are three main categories when it comes to the look. First is the just-left-the-barn, “hay in hair, a woodchip somewhere, manure on boots, slobber on shoulder.” Second, is equestrian-inspired. The third is horse iconography—“having actual horses on your clothes.”
All of these iterations of horse girl style—literal and whimsical alike—relate back to the larger appeal of fashion that’s grounded in comfort and simplicity. “Equestrian fashion cycles frequently, especially at times of uncertainty,” says Susan Glynn, Ariat’s VP of apparel design, of the renewed interest. “People are drawn to comfort, nostalgia, and connection. The human-horse relationship is powerful and beautiful. It helps us feel rooted and connected.”
This fall, look to the trend as a way to incorporate sleek yet preppy pieces into your collection. “The wonderful thing about equestrian fashion is that unlike other trends, the ‘look’ and pieces are so timeless, classic and functional,” says Glynn. “You don’t ever have to recycle. They can stay in your closet forever.”
There are always the formal English riding staples like field jackets and polos, but you can also add touches of trendiness by way of Western details. “I grew up riding English, so if I’m really wanting to lean into my horse girl roots outside of the barn, I’d wear an oversized blazer of some variety (traditionally, you’d wear a much more fitted one because you don’t want excess fabric getting in the way) with jeans and a button down oxford shirt,” suggests Diamond. Plus, she emphasizes, “you need a great leather belt.” To touch on the western side of things, an updated cowboy boot worn with a sleek slip dress embraces the aesthetic without being too literal.
And while there are many notable brands bringing equestrian fashion to the forefront this season, Diamond’s recommendation is to keep an eye out for used gear on Etsy or Ebay, which she notes always looks better. “You know that scene in The Philadelphia Story where Katherine Hepburn tackles her fiancé at the barn because his riding clothes are too new, and she wants to get dirt and barn dust all over them? There you go.”
Ahead, shop 14 pieces to help you pull off the look this fall, whether you’re planning to hit the stables or just embrace the look from home.
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Alex Mill Easy Ruffle Shirt in Paper Poplin
The slight pomp of this frilly top has just the right fanciful touch. Style it back to sleek trousers and boots for a sense of balance.
Buck Mason Ridge Twill Rider Pant
Inspired by the rise in western wear for fall 2022, these slim twill pants will look just as cool on the streets as they would while riding.
Toteme Riding Boot in Black
A sleek European-style riding boot doesn’t have to be reserved for pairing with slim pants. Try styling with a maxi dress for fancier occasions.
Tory Burch Cotton Poplin Eleanor Dress
A mix of minimalist and preppy, this cotton poplin dress has a subtle western touch while staying firmly away from costume territory.
Dôen Joliette Top
Meet the perfect lightweight top for fall. Wear it alone, or style it under a sweater vest or quilted jacket.
Khaite Nirva Dress
This sleek and shiny design from NYC label Khaite may not be practical for riding lessons, but it embodies the lustrous and lithe equine attitude.
Cawley Studio Avis Sheepskin Jacket
You’re sure to be cozy dressed in this luxe sheepskin coat. Style it back to slim jeans to embrace the aesthetic.
Hermès Regate 24 Belt
Hermès has a storied history not just as a fashion house, but also as a manufacturer of saddles and riding equipment. This belt is a subtle nod to that heritage.
J. Crew Quilted Downtown Field Jacket
Coat weather is quickly approaching, but take it as an opportunity to play with layering in fun and unexpected ways. This preppy-meets-sporty coat will lend itself to your sleek styling needs.
Aeyde Ariel Leather Cowboy Boots
If the western wear end of the spectrum is more your style, try a pair of fashion-forward cowboy boots. You can just as easily pair them with jeans as you can with a cotton dress.
& Other Stories Jacquard Motif Knit Sweater
If you want to get literal with the trend, there’s no better way to showcase your love for horses than with this monochromatic knit. Try styling with trousers for a cool, seasonal take.
Loewe Gate Mini Leather Shoulder Bag
This saddle bag-inspired design from Spanish label Loewe is a practical everyday bag with a high fashion twist.
Ariat Prix 2.0 Polo
A sporty polo will serve as a layering piece that works just as well at the barn as it does for running errands.
Rhode Ester V-Neck Midi-Dress
While you’ll want to skip a dress if you’re planning on doing any riding, this playfully printed style is a great way to put your interests on display for fancier occasions.