Packing, Part II: My Weekly Wears of WEF
Marina is a guest blogger for Hunt Club chronicling her adventures at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival. She has been riding for twelve years, currently competes in the jumpers, and recently graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Follow along as she captures what it's like to be a snowbird at the winter show jumping capital of the world. Joining her is her super-pony mare, Capri, who will be giving her input for many of the blog posts as well.
In addition to being a twelve week showjumping circuit, WEF is also a lifestyle destination. While a majority of my time down here is spent at the barn and horse show, there are plenty of other occasions that I need to dress for. Just when you thought Capri's tack trunks were bursting at the seams, my suitcases might just take the cake. Below, I discuss some staple outfits that are necessary for a winter in Wellington.
Some Key Essentials: I had a revelation a few years ago, when showing in trendy-brand boots and half chaps was becoming an acceptable fashion statement, that I would really never need a pair of tall boots again. Thus, I now ride in boots and chaps everyday. I show in them too, and I love it. They are very functional when doing barn work, and in my opinion, last longer than tall boots. I also always pack a pouch with my spurs, Capri's information, hairnets, etc, and keep this handy when I'm back and forth from the ring. The WEF 2017 prize lists where just released, and I have obtained one that will be carried with me everywhere I go for the next three months.
Schooling Days at the Barn: Our day to day at the barn tends to be relatively casual. I like to wear either a button down, sweater, or a t-shirt of some sort, be it either flowy or crisp. Sometimes, I tuck the shirt in all the way around, or just behind the belt buckle. I typically buy my breeches in neutral colors, such as navy, black, or beige. These colors are timeless, classic, and match almost everything. When I don't have my boots and half chaps on, I will mostly be wearing a pair of loafers to complete the look.
Show Days: These are the highlights of the week. I like my outfits to be trendy, but classic. I don't mind bling if it's not overdone. I have shirts that have some sparkly collars, and some coats with shiny accents... I like to use the fact that I have a little jumper mare to my advantage when justifying my sparkle usage. However, I try to only allow bling on one part of my part of my body at a time, meaning if I have same on my jacket or shirt, you won't find it on my belt or anywhere else. Most of my show clothes are mix and matchable, so I can efficiently create as many outfit combinations as possible across multiple weeks of showing.
Weeknight Activities: Weeknight activities can range from trivia at the local sports bar to having a fancier dinner at a sushi restaurant. Similarly to my choice in colors for breeches, I tend to wear a lot of neutrals outside the barn as well. The weeknight outfit is casual, but chic. Most of my clothes are interchangeable, and I don't usually wear that many patterns unless I'm going into Palm Beach (this outfit feature is coming up).
Saturday Night Classes: Saturday Night Lights is a highlight of each of the twelve weeks of horse showing at WEF. These nights hold a featured class which is typically a grand prix, but can also include some fun events like the Great Charity Challenge and Battle of the Sexes. It can get a bit chilly in the evening, so I tend to pair pants with a nice top, or a long sleeve dress. The Gallery is an on-site nightclub, so this outfit should serve two functions: be comfortable for watching the class, but chic enough to wear out after. I always add a pair of heels suitable for walking the course with my trainer before the class and appropriate for dancing after.
Questionable Weather Days at the Horse Show: I try my very best not to complain about the weather here, but sometimes, just sometimes, it's a bit unpredictable. In turn, it's necessary to bring outwear for all seasons: rainwear, down jackets, sweatshirts, sweaters, vests. Anything you can layer and take off easily is ideal. As a person who absolutely hates being cold, I have no problem with dedicating an entire bag to coats.
Sunday Nights: Sunday nights are what close the busy horse show week. There are two nightclubs in Wellington that are mostly attended by horse show people. These venues are pretty dressy, so I pack an array of dresses and rompers and fancy attire to wear out. Matched with a pair of heels and a bag, this outfit should be comfortable but photo-ready. I love wearing capes, so I will gather as much clothing that pairs fabulously with a cape as humanly possible.
Mondays in Palm Beach: Mondays are days that are either spent in bed, or spent trying to be productive and explore life outside of the horse show. I try to get up early and do some "normal" errands, like grabbing breakfast and going to the supermarket. In the afternoon and evening my friends and I like to go to Palm Beach for a nice dinner. If we are there in the afternoon, it is not uncommon to stop at the beach as well, so I like to try and wear an outfit that is cute enough on its own, but also functional enough to hide a swimsuit under it. Wearing a Lilly dress is most likely the only time you will see me in a pattern this vibrant.
All of these outfits for twelve weeks takes up a lot of suitcase and closet space. Luckily for Capri, she has a relatively strict uniform that does not change on her trips to and from the ring. However, my outfits vary a bit more, and I would say that the packing struggles of what to bring to Florida are greatest for me. I consider myself quite the "clothes horse" though, and love digging through my closet and discovering that I brought clothes that I forgot I even owned. It's always good to be prepared, because you never know what kind of occasions you are going to need to dress for down here!