If your friend, who also owns a high end mobile tack trailer, ever says “You should try this on!” – be wary. If she also uses the word “amazing” while describing said item (especially if she’s even pickier and harder to please than you are), just go ahead and set your wallet on fire. You’re at the beginning of an addiction that will quickly spiral out of control.
Winston Exclusive Show Jacket
In my case the gateway item in question was a jacket made by Winston Equestrian. Some of you who read this blog regularly might remember the Brand Spotlight/Giveaway post that I did on Winston this past winter, where I mentioned the purchase. Now that I’ve received the jacket and have even picked up a few more Winston items, I figured it was time for a formal review.
I resisted trying on the coat at first, having been a self-proclaimed lover of tech fabrics and hater of wool for so long. The Winston coats are wool, so the first few times I saw them I didn’t really bother to take a closer look. When I finally acquiesced and tried one on in Luxe EQ, I was instantly sold.
Yes the fabric is wool, but forget whatever negative notions you might have about old-fashioned wool coats. This is not the hot, stuffy, stiff, dry-clean-only wool of yesteryear. It’s very lightweight, stretchy, washable, and still holds its structure well enough to be super flattering. Those of us who have a little bit to spare around the mid-section are well aware of how the modern tech fabrics can sometimes turn into sausage casings if the fit or fabric is just a tiny bit off. Wool offers a little more leeway, and can do a lot to help smooth out a midsection that really enjoys queso and donuts (raises hand). Winston has done a brilliant job of finding a fabric that gives you the flawless silhouette of wool but still has the same comfort level of a tech fabric; the best of both worlds.
Because I’m a crazy eventer and have to have everything in my colors, I ordered a custom Exclusive in navy with yellow piping to match my Samshield. While they do offer several off the rack styles, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to customize a coat to my exact specifications. I even got to pick the buttons (it’s the little things…)! When the coat arrived from Belgium I was not disappointed. The fit is perfect, the quality is high end, the finish is flawless, and it’s incredibly comfortable. Honestly, it’s lighter weight and more breathable than my Equiline tech fabric coat and I think it looks classier. Absolutely love it.
Vienna Show Shirt
I always keep an eye peeled for show shirts that are a little bit fun/unique without being overt (no fluffy ruffles or collars covered in rhinestones please). My other big requirement is that they must be lightweight and cool. This is Texas, it’s hot at 90% of our shows. It also has to be cut well, because no one wants a boxy show shirt with a mile of tail to tuck in.
The Winston Vienna shirt has turned out to be the perfect combination of all those things. It features a strip of navy and white striped fabric trimming the top of the collar, the two chest pockets, and the bottom of the sleeves. It’s a small detail that gives the shirt a little something special, but it’s subtle enough to not be super noticeable or flashy. The fabric is a really nice, lightweight, slightly-stretchy cotton that somehow manages to be significantly cooler and more comfortable than even my Tailored Sportsman Icefil shirt.
The icing on the cake is the cut and fit of Winston’s shirts – they’re flattering on the female form without being tight or uncomfortable.
The Winston breeches were the latest addition to my collection. I went to Luxe EQ looking to try on some white breeches, and since I was so happy with my Winston jacket and shirt, my curiosity got the best of me. Seeing as how they’re priced around $300 I normally wouldn’t have tried them on, but given how much success I’ve had with the rest of the line, I just couldn’t resist. And of course – they fit me perfectly, and when you find perfection in the form of white breeches, you buy it (on the bright side, at least the $450 Animos didn’t fit!).
As someone with a smaller waist and larger hip/thigh, I have a hard time fitting into a lot of the breeches that are cut more for the junior rider build. Usually they’re a little too straight for me and end up either gapping in the waist or strangling my thighs (an especially horrifying thing when it happens in white). Winston has managed to make a pair of breeches that fit a curvier shape impeccably.
The fabric is a really nice mid-weight, and the cut is low enough to be comfortable while still being high enough to contain all the important bits and wrangle the waist pudge. The sock bottom is excellent (death to velcro) and I especially appreciate that the whites have some contrasting gray stitching around the top and silver piping on the pockets. It gives them a really nice yet classy bit of flair.
Overall the Winston line has yet to let me down – besides riding clothes I also have one of their sweaters that I wear to work a lot. My only real complaint is that I’m too poor to buy mass quantities of it. It’s high end, for sure; the pieces are all extremely well constructed and made to last, and the fit is second to none. No cheap fabrics, loose stitching, or questionable fit here – it’s obvious that a lot of thought and effort goes into producing the line (which is made entirely in Europe from European fabrics).
While the price tags on higher end clothes like these are a lot for the majority of us to stomach, they’re the kind of “grown-up” garments that can be wardrobe staples for many years to come. They aren’t the shirt that you wear for 6 months and sell, or the breeches that last a season before popping a seam. I’ve owned lots of those. It feels good to know that now I’ve got some really high quality pieces in my wardrobe that are timeless, comfortable, and classy. Almost makes me feel like I actually have a handle on this adulting thing…