Barn Garb

Dressing has been a bit of a struggle since COVID, and I seem to be taking full advantage of the fact that I don’t need to wear actual riding clothes when I go to the barn.

As it’s being discussed in the Off Course forum, I’ve decided to try and make more of an effort to look more presentable when heading to the barn. What does everyone wear, generally? Currently I’m wearing regular clothes to groom/drive in which seemed a great idea at first, but they then get absolutely covered in arena dust which isn’t ideal.

A combination of form and function would be great. Work-out clothes …? Leggings with a pocket for my phone and a loose top? Something that looks barn-y and practical, but put–together. Help!

I’m usually driving outdoors, so dust isn’t a problem.
I like wearing breeches to drive if I’m not in skinny jeans (yeah, I’m a Fashion Icon :smirk:).
I get the longest ones I can, not the fit-in-tall-boots “capris”.
Advantage if we go through water: they dry quick :grin:
Paddock boots for footwear, but also comfy sneaks*
*toe safety not an issue :woman_shrugging:
T-shirts for warm weather, collared poloshirt for a dressier top. Hoody for a warm layer.
Worn for a recent show. Gamblers Choice class:
Playday with my Driving Club:

I must be the one the other discussion is about! Ha ha No dress-up here, worn jeans, Arial paddock shoes, long sleeved, light weight shirt for sun protection or T-shirt with inside work. I do layers with sweatshirt if cooler. No tennis shoes ever, unsafe for the things I do. Slippery soles when stepping on things, no protection from things that might step or fall on my foot. Barn is in the backyard, no judging eyes to see me get dirtier as the day goes on. My clothes are about practicality here, for barn cleaning, carriage riding, tractor work. A hat with wide brim, sunglasses, sunscreen for outside work ALWAYS. Gloves on about 98% of the time for hand grip and protection.

I also do polos and better jeans when we go on picnic drives, good, wide brimmed helmet, still using the good Ariats on my feet.

I am a naturally dirt-attracting person. Not going to ruin my nice clothes doing chores or field work. Nice is not very practical around here. My work clothes are older, but no gaping holes, rips, or duct tape mending. Ha ha


I mostly wore jeans or capris, depending on the season, with whatever shirt I had on that day. In the winter, I did serious layers (thermals under a pair of jeans that were a little too big, thermal shirt, long sleeved T-shirt, down jacket). Regardless of the season, I wore boots to protect my feet from being injured by horse stepping on them. And, of course, I always wore my bright purple helmet. Gloves for me depend on the season. I like to feel the lines in my hands in summer, but in winter there was no choice but to wear leather gloves lined with Thinsulate. My fingers got cold anyway.



I have an unreasonably large collection of those collared sun shirts that can usually be found on clearance from SmartPak or Dover for like $25.

I don’t drive, so I wear them with riding breeches and a belt, but they’d also look great with a set of skinny jeans.


I shouldn’t be adding my 2 cents to any discussion about looking presentable. I do work out clothes. I’ve got to hike my leg in & out of a bike, jeans are not on the menu.

For the summer, I wear leggings and a tank top. Some days it’s shorts & a tank if it’s really hot. Always with my paddock/laced jod boots. If I know there are other customers there, I usually wear the black tights, if not, well I have some fantastically bad ones.

I found a fantastic tee for wearing with tights - long enough, but doesn’t look like a dress. I wish they had one with 3/4 sleeves.

In the winter I add sweatshirt(s). It’s Virginia, so it doesn’t get super cold. I have a great pair of gloves from Harbor Freight Tools. They are ~$5 and actually kind of warm. They are impossible to lose since they are so cheap.

I picked up couple pair of clearance sale breeches - with a non-skid seat. One of the things on my to-do list is to replace the seat on the new-ish job cart. The seat is ridiculously slick. We tried tub stick ons as a short cut, but not so great.

I came across something called Stop the Sweat that make-up artists use & it does exactly that. I’d call it a 75-80% solution. It’s not perfect, but it does keep the sweat from pouring into my eyes & blinding me on hot days.

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Thank you thank you for the input and links … also, I’m so relieved to know I’m not alone in looking like a slob at the barn :sweat_smile: @goodhors was that thread yours?! I didn’t even pay attention! People were recommending breeches so I kinda felt it wasn’t as applicable to me.

@red_mares I like that sleeveless tee, I may order one of those. I did a search for leggings last night and did find 7/8 length ones (cotton/spandex mix) from Old Navy that also have a side pocket for a phone, so I ordered two pairs each in black and blue. After packing on the pounds during COVID, jeans or anything with a non-stretchy waistband is not my friend :grimacing: Stretchy fabric allllll the way. Anyway, I think they’ll look nice with the Hunter clogs (or Blundstones in the colder weather) and a longer top. But now I need those longer tops!

I don’t drive, but on days I go to the barn and don’t ride (or go elsewhere, although during COVID even now, it’s mostly the barn), I like what makes me feel comfortable and presentable.

For non-riding barn days, that is usually leggings and a T shirt, sometimes with a chambray or plaid shirt over it or loose-ish boyfriend jeans and a top. I like sun dresses, but I wore one to the barn a few weeks back for a vet visit and it wasn’t really ideal barn wear (even though it was great for ventilation on a hot day) and a horse spooked at me twice even though it wasn’t flowy! Maybe it was the stripes? The lack of legs?

I aim for dark colors to hide stains, but don’t always succeed.

For feet, I always wore paddock boots or combat boots as I had been drilled since childhood that only boots were acceptable around horses… until recently. My go-to the last two weeks has been a cute pair of slip on Vince sneakers that make me feel “hip”.

@Bebe_Falcon1 No I did not start the other thread, just was guessing it was about how to stay cleaner looking, which seems beyond my abilities. Ha ha sounds like others have similar problems. Lots of interesting ideas and sites to find clothes, sunglasses at. I have not tried sun shirts yet. My brother wears them all the time riding his motorcycle, so there could be a useful idea for me!

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I have no one to impress other than the horses so it’s pretty casual. OK, casual died a painful death a long time ago. It’s comfortable.

The biggest concern I have is securely stowing my phone so it doesn’t fall out (it will fall out of jean back pockets when I am seated in the carriage so I typically wear yoga capris or yoga pants with deep side pockets for as long as the weather permits (it’s GA, that’s most of the year). Once it is jacket season the phone can safely go in a jacket pocket. The tweener time is the most annoying but since it means the weather is perfect, I can deal with it.

Driving is mostly in sneakers, although I have ariat H2O all terrain boots for winter because I don’t do cold feet. But I tried driving in paddock boots and they were annoying when trying to move on and off and between the brake pedals, so I compete and mostly drive in sneakers. My gator prefers them for grippiness on the backstep as well (it doesn’t matter what you wear, your feet will be soaked at the end!)

All winter driving jackets tend to be at least mid thigh and waterproof for the GA default setting in winter: 40’s, humid and icy cold rain. I also have a mid calf thermal jacket that is designed like a duster for riding which works out really well for super cold days. When you live in GA and compete in Florida in the winter you just have to suck it up and do fitness sets in some less than optimal weather, and you just NEVER really warm up trotting up and down the road doing fitness sets, so I have quite the jacket collection.

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I always kept my phone and ID in a front pocket. Even if I was wearing a jacket, often I would get warm and take it off and tie it to the cart. I never wanted my phone to possibly be unattached to me. I had visions of parting company from pony and cart, and watching my phone run off into the sunset.

It was a real pain when I was on call for work. Our on call rotation lasted an entire week, with the emphasis on nights and weekends. That meant carrying two phones, one of which I had to answer. My ponies were good about stepping over to the side of the road and having a short nap while I was handling a work call. What I really, really hated was when a call meant I had to get back home quickly and log in. I always had my husband standing by to head the horse if I needed him; I would never have time to unhitch/unharness/groom if I had to log in.



Yeah, I’ve tried the front pocket thing, but I really really hate it with the big phone. That’s where it ends up when I absentmindedly get in the presentation carriage with it still in my back pocket (until I feel it slipping out). Fortunately it still stays in the seat behind me if it slips out when I’m in the marathon vehicle, although that’s not ideal either.

I have about 3 phone holders at the barn and I hate every last one of them but in a pinch …

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@DMK Whew! Thanks for the Vote on sneakers for Driving.
So far {knockwood} no stepped-on toes either driving the mini or in the barn :pray::four_leaf_clover:
I do wear paddock boots driving too & have some dressier flats (with grippy soles) for shows.

I keep meaning to get one of those crosschest phone holders for me to wear in the cart.
I have just 1 pair of jeans that can hold my pieceoftoast phone.

I like Wal-mart’s performance leggings. They are ~$15 and a lot of bang for the buck. It surprised me how durable they are.

The real challenge for me is horse shows. I need to be presentable AND comfortable. The bottoms are OK, the tops, not so much. :laughing: I found some ‘work shirts’ online, polo’s with color blocked sides, which at least make me look thinner from the front. Everyone always suggests polo shirts - I look terrible in a polo shirt. My other option is a black tunic type tee. I usually end up doing the brass on 2-4 sets of harness multiple times; the black tee hides the tarnish marks on my shirt.

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That’s a good point about the bigger phones. I forget that not everyone is as anti-phone as I am. I buy phones for ability to fit in front pockets of jeans (and all my jeans and capris have decent size front pockets). I mostly use my phone for occasional talking and texting (texting only when I’m forced to) as I have rheumatoid arthritis and have a lot of trouble with the phone keyboard. Everything else I do on line (which is a lot), I do on my laptop since the keyboard is a good size.



I hadn’t thought of Wal Mart :thinking: My Old Navy order arrives today and I’m hopeful something pans out, I kinda went nuts and ordered multiples of things in various sizes. This long sleeve blouse - sans collar - looked like it could be a winner for wearing to events (and another similar but with stripes):

But just for kicking around the barn, I think leggings-with-a-pocket and a tunic are going to be the winning combo…?