Anyone who reads this blog with any kind of regularity knows that I’m always looking for nice, pretty, unique and modern riding apparel. But I also am pretty picky about fabrics, fit and features, so it’s tough to find a lot of things that I really like. When I saw the Monochrome Luxe shirt at Aztec Diamond, I was intrigued.
It’s short sleeve, which I wanted… I have several long sleeve shirts but nothing short. It’s white (necessary) but it’s got just enough unique features to keep it classy and interesting instead of being your run of the mill everyday white show shirt.
First – the fabric is Scotchgarded. I don’t know why all show clothes don’t have that. Brilliant. The closures are on the back of the neck – a row of snaps. I was pretty hesitant and skeptical about that feature because I’m really weird about having stuff touching my neck all the time, but I found that this didn’t bother me and was easy to fasten up. It’s not too tight and it doesn’t come up too high, so I didn’t really even notice the collar when I was wearing it. I like that it looks SUPER clean and elegant from the front with no buttons or snaps.
The other main interesting design feature is the slight puff sleeve. Admittedly, I’m not a puff sleeve fan, but this one is small enough to not bother me much. I found the shirt to fit well (body skimming without being body strangling) and be comfortable to wear. The fabric has enough stretch in it to move with you, and it’s thick enough to not be super see through but not so thick as to be hot.
The real test was when it came to washing. At one point after a show I let this poor shirt sit on top of my dryer under a pile of saddle pads for TWO MONTHS before I washed it. It had horse snot, horse slobber, and various other pigpen-type filth on it for that entire time, getting more and more baked in by the day. I threw it in the wash thinking there was no way it’d come totally clean. Guess what? IT DID! I couldn’t believe it… it was bright sparkling white, just like new. I wish I could say the same thing about my Tailored Sportsmans, they did not fare so well.
It’s priced at 45 GBP which is about $70 US right now. I’d call that mid-range for a show shirt, and think that this is a good buy for the price. It would be especially well suited to dressage or jumper riders – it’s easy to wear it with or without a coat and still have an elegant formal look. I also wore it for our eventing derby and thought it transitioned well throughout the day between disciplines. As for Aztec Diamond the brand – I am still madly in love with my Houndstooth breeches and have had nothing but fantastic experiences with their customer service. Their website is also now set up for international orders, which makes it super easy for those of us overseas. Someone get me the Luxe Technical Gillet, STAT! I can’t wait to see what new designs they’ve got coming up for 2015.