Bosley Brangier PREMIER EQUINE PUBLICATION FOR THE CAROLINAS [email protected] • 803-640-2339 In the hunt field and show ring, one of the most distinctive and signature elements is the neckwear known as the stock tie. Always white, it is worn with formal attire when foxhunting or with a swallowtail and/or a shadbelly in show rings or dressage competitions. It completes the appearance of the well-turned out rider, whatever the discipline, and lends the assurance that you are ready for whatever challenges you face on horseback. Stock Ties come in several forms, some of which are already shaped to be fitted to your costume. The traditional one for fox hunting is a four fold stock tie. When competing in the show ring or dressage, the same style carried over from foxhunting. Today the stock tie is Custom Hand Tailored Apparel The Stock Tie worn in the hunter show ring when the rider is wearing a swallowtail or a frock coat in a Classic, or an appointment class at one of the Hunt Nights. In dressage the stock tie is worn in most classes of the competition. Some of the lower levels accept a lady wearing a white show shirt with a choker. The four fold stock tie that men and women wear with their formal fox hunting and show coats is traditionally a piece of fine white cotton fabric, which measures two yards long by 10 inches wide. (Ladies may wear a tie that is eight inches wide.) To create the folds, you simply iron the fabric, and once the wrinkles are removed from the entire piece of fabric fold it in half lengthwise pressing a crease along the fold. Then, with Once the fabric is folded, find the center, or midpoint and place it, with the closed, or folded, edge up, at the front of your throat, over a shirt with a banded or stand-up collar or a turtleneck. After placing the center point of the tie at the middle of your throat, the two “tails” of the tie are wrapped around the back of your neck... Then tie a knot pulling the tails taught around your neck. Taking the top piece of fabric, unfold to its full width. The fabric is slightly bunched close to the knot. Pull the edges by this point creating a small pleat from right to left. Pin each corner to the shirt collar underneath using the small brass safety pins. The collar of your coat will hide the pins. A shaped tie can be tied in a similar fashion, taking into account it will not open the same way. Here is another method for tying a shaped tie. Some ties have a small button hole on the front inside as on the choker of a rat-catcher. If yours does not, place the center of the narrow piece at the center of your throat. Pull the ends to the back of your neck, if your stock has an opening in the neck piece put the opposing end through, crossing and returning to the front. Pull taught and make a simple knot. Fold each of the pieces to create small “rabbit ears”, one to the right, one to the left, each just off center overlapping half of each side. Make their height the same as the neckpiece. Place the stock pin in the center of the the fabric flat, fold each side to the center crease and press creating two additional creases. Now fold the fabric in half along the original crease and press a final time. These are the four folds making a four fold stock tie. The tie may be folded to a convenient size for storage. Tying the Stock Tie is easier than some may think. Before you begin, have a stock pin and several small brass safety pins on hand. The pin should not be a kilt pin. A ladies’ stock pin is 2 1/2” and a gentleman’s pin is 3” in length. The design of the pin should be simple and of solid or gold fill. The method I will describe of tying is a traditional English style. ...and crossed over and brought back to the front. Place the stock pin though the top layer, the center of the knot and out the other side. Always place the stock pin horizontally to prevent accidents. If it is pinned vertically there is a risk of the pin going into the throat or chin should the rider fall off. Pin the top piece of fabric in several places to preventing the ends from coming out of your jacket. knot. Use small brass safety pins to attach the ends to your shirt preventing them from riding up and out the front of your coat. While the traditional fourfold stock tie offers some practical advantages over the pre-shaped varieties, both represent the crowning touch to your formal riding attire. Bosley Brangier PREMIER EQUINE PUBLICATION FOR THE CAROLINAS [email protected] • 803-640-2339 Custom Hand Tailored Apparel Fox Hunting Style by Patricia Bosley Each discipline of equestrian activity has its own specific requirements for riders’ attire, and they vary considerably. For the purposes of this article, I am going to explain the correct terms, style and fit of Fox Hunting attire. While specific hunt clubs may issue individual modifications, there are generally acceptable standards. Cub Hunting Attire During cub hunting season the dress is informal – tweed hacking jackets worn with ratcatchers for women and shirts with neckties for gentlemen. A ratcatcher is a lady’s riding shirt with a standup collar with either one or two buttons. Usually the shirt is accompanied by a choker that is worn over the collar. They may be either plain colors or a variety of patterns. In more temperate climates ratcatchers and polo shirts without riding jackets may be allowed. A cubbing or hacking jacket has slanted pockets with a three-button front. Traditionally, women’s jackets had side vents and gentlemen had a center vent on their jacket, but today’s environment provides an opportunity for the wearer – man or woman – to choose what looks best for his or her body shape. If one has a pronounced backside, side vents are more aesthetically pleasing. When choosing a hacking jacket, select a color and pattern that is complementary to your build and coloring. Shirts can be any color and pattern that looks well with the jacket. A patterned or colored stock tie is sometimes worn during cubbing season. Tattersall vests may be worn, as well. The stock tie and vest are good ways of making the rider warmer as the days become cooler, especially during the regular hunting season. Riders wearing tweed jackets should wear dark brown, cordovan or British tan field boots, but black dress and field boots have become increasingly acceptable. The rider may wear three-buckle boots instead of the field boot. Both dress and field boots are tall boots, which reach to just below the knee; the field boot has laces at the ankle and the dress style has none. With either style, boots should be tall enough to hit just at the back of the knee when the rider’s leg is bent. Breeches are to be rust or tan; there are several shades of tan that are acceptable. Fashion colors and patterns on the breeches are not allowed. Young riders, usually riding ponies, wear jodhpurs and dark brown paddock boots with brown garters. Formal Hunt Attire During a formal hunt, a member of the “field,” (the general membership or guest, not the staff of the hunt) should wear a jacket that is dark in color. The jacket can be either a blue or black hacking jacket or a proper hunt frock. A frock coat has a tailored top, a waist seam and a slightly fuller skirt. The waist seam of a hunt frock sits at the top of the wearer’s hip bone. The skirt tends to be longer in length than a traditional riding jacket to assist in keeping the rider warm and dry in inclement weather. Traditionally women wear navy blue with plain buttons, men wear black. Charcoal gray is also accepted. Members of the field wear frock coats with three buttons and round corners. The huntsman, whippers-in and field masters generally wear scarlet coats, sometimes known as “pinques,” with the hunt’s colors on their collars. Some women field masters have decided to wear navy blue frock coats with brass buttons. For many years women were not allowed to wear scarlet or brass buttons. Canary breeches are the traditional color for scarlet and formal coats. Today it is difficult to find this color, often white breeches are substituted. All staff and any members of the field who wear scarlet coats should also wear black dress boots with tan or brown tops. (Women members who have earned their colors should wear black dress boots with black patent leather tops.) Buttons and the shape of the front corners on a frock coat inform other riders who the wearer is in the hierarchy of the hunt. This identification system goes back to English military uniforms. A coat with five brass buttons on the front and square corners is the huntsman. Only the huntsman wears this many buttons on the jacket. Whippers-in and field masters wear four brass buttons and square corners on their coats. Other members of the hunt who are allowed to wear scarlet coats are men who have earned the privilege to wear their hunt’s colors and engraved brass buttons. Women members who have earned their hunt’s colors wear the colors on the collar of their navy or black coat with engraved black plastic hunt buttons. The fabric of formal hunting coats is determined by the type and amount of abuse that the jacket will undergo, be it from terrain or hounds and the climate. Traditional fabrics are cavalry twill and Melton wool. Cavalry twill is available in many weights up to 32 ounces, which is very heavy. Fabric is weighed by the yard, there is an average of two and a half to three yards in each riding coat. Under the formal coat the rider often wears a canary vest. This vest can have brass buttons, plain or engraved. It may have wool front and back or it might have a satin type fabric in the back. This is determined by how warm the rider needs to be when hunting. Generally a shirt with white cuffs is worn under the vest for formal hunts. A white stock tie is placed on top of this. A four fold stock tie is traditional. This style goes back to the beginning of fox hunting. Those who either do not want the added bulk, maintenance or feel it is too difficult to tie, wear a version of a shaped stock tie. Unfortunately the shaped ties do not have the extra benefits the four fold offers. The four fold stock is a piece of white fabric that is ten inches wide and two yards long. In addition to its use as an article of clothing, the stock tie has many other potential applications. It can be used as a bandage for animal or human, being white one did not have to worry about any dye leaking into the wound. Broken arms and collar bones were common injuries while chasing the fox, making this piece of fabric handy as a sling or as a figure eight bandage. It can be used as an extra rein if a leather one breaks. And it can be used to lead an errant hound. The stock pin ought to be a simple safety pin design in brass or gold. It is always placed horizontally. If used in a vertical position the wearer takes a chance of jabbing it into the throat if an accident should occur. This pin may be used to fasten the fabric when used as a bandage. Many riders enjoy the comfort of gloves. They are worn to protect hands from weather or rough reins and to improve the rider’s grip on the reins. During warm weather a glove with a crocheted back and leather palm is recommended. Formal hunts require either white string gloves or dark leather. For formal hunting, most hunts require black dress boots, although some hunts are now willing to accept black field boots. Because most riders acquire their boots ready-made from stores or catalogs, the selection of styles and finish details are serviceable but somewhat restricted. If you decide to have your boots made to your own specifications, there are several key considerations. For foxhunting boots, the best leather has the rough side out. This does require a bit of extra work on the part of the person polishing the boots. One must have an old bone that has been properly prepared for such work. Boots with the rough out are handy for they hide all scratches and small tears due to brambles. When the polish is applied to the leather it is rubbed into the leather with the bone, thus eliminating the scratches and scuffs made during the hunt. Shirts have the collar and cuffs that are snug enough to eliminate the possibility of cold air to flow down the neck or up the arm. A snug arm hole eliminates the bat wing effect. This allows the jacket to fit more comfortably and reduces the annoyance of the shirt pulling out of the breech’s waistband. Vests are to be long enough to cover the small of the wearer’s back and their belt buckle in front. Once again a trim fit is recommended for comfort and aesthetics. A properly fitted jacket has a trim silhouette on the body, this does not matter if the person is small or large in size. Along the shoulder blades there is to be enough room to move the arms forward when jumping over a fence. The sleeve length allows for a small amount of cuff to be visible when the arms are bent at the elbow holding the reins. The back of the jacket is to fall at the crease in the top of the thigh where it joins the buttocks. As you plan your foxhunting wardrobe, you have many options to prepare to “ride to the hounds.” A few options are your local tack stores, online and direct mail specialty catalogs and consignment stores specializing in the needs of the foxhunter. For those who desire more selection there are custom tailors and boot makers. In the case of both boots and clothes, the expense can be greater when purchased as items made to your specifications, but the end result is a garment that fits you better and lasts longer. It can be well worth the investment, both in terms of quality and in the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are every bit as well turned out as your mount. About the Author: Patricia (Trish) Bosley is the President of Bosley Brangier Custom Hand Tailored Apparel located in St. Michaels, Maryland. Founded over 12 years ago, Bosley Brangier specializes in custom-made business and equestrian clothing for both men and women. In addition, Trish provides individual wardrobe consulting advice to business professionals throughout the MidAtlantic region. PREMIER EQUINE PUBLICATION FOR THE CAROLINAS & Bosley Brangier Custom Hand Tailored Apparel [email protected] • 803-640-2339 The Shadbelly To most people, the terms “swallowtail” and “shadbelly,” may conjure images of endangered birds or an exotic species of fish, but for experienced riders, they represent the epitome of elegance in proper attire. The famous English gentleman’s fashion designer, Beau Brummel, popularized the shadbelly and weaselbelly tailcoats in the U.K. as daywear during the late Georgian/ Regency period. Weaselbelly is the term for a man’s shadbelly. These tailcoats became strictly formal wear by the 1860s. European Royalty adopted the formal coat for everything from portraits to horseback riding. Today many equestrians use the terms swallowtail and shadbelly interchangeably when referring to their formal tailcoat when riding in important events. The following is a “How To,” to show you off to perfection in the dressage arena, the fox hunting field and the hunter show ring. While they are similar in many ways, swallowtails and shadbellies are distinctly different long-tailed coats intended for different purposes. Although many clothing manufacturers have compromised the features to create a combined coat that may have become acceptable to some Masters and judges, it is worthwhile knowing the differences as you select just the right clothing to achieve perfection in the ring. It is possible to purchase these coats from some off-the-rack clothiers, usually available through your local tack shops, but they are becoming increasingly expensive, and you may want to consider having this particular item in your riding wardrobe made especially for you. In foxhunting, the swallowtail coat is for women or men who have earned the hunt’s colors, although relatively few men wear swallowtails in today’s hunts. These coats generally are worn for “high hunts” such as Opening Day, a holiday, or a special joint meet with other fox hunting clubs. While men’s coats are scarlet, women’s are navy or black. (Junior riders, under the age of 18, are not generally allowed wear a swallowtail in the hunting field.) The buttons on a swallowtail have the hunt’s insignia and the colors of the hunt displayed on the collar. Ladies’ buttons are black plastic with engraving that has been filled with white; men’s buttons are engraved brass. To withstand the rigors of riding through brambles and woods without snagging, and to protect the rider from the cold, the fabric is generally medium to heavy weight. It should let go of dirt and mud easily with a good brushing after airing out a day or so. Among the preferred fabric choices for the swallowtail are cavalry twill, whipcord and covert. Many fox chasers choose to line their coat tails with leather making them easier to clean after a long day Swallowtail A Picture of Elegance of hunting. Goat leather is a good choice due to its color availability; it is durable, lightweight and pliable. Foxhunting riders who wanted to show off their horses in more competitive ways originated show hunter competitions; these riders wore the same swallowtail coats from the foxhunting field into the show ring. Today’s show riders’ coats are sewn from a much lighter weight fabric to improve comfort and maneuverability in the show ring. Going back to their origins in Victorian England women wore black only when they were in mourning. So, in historically correct terms, navy blue is the correct color for a woman to wear. In practical terms, due mainly to mass production, many of today’s swallowtails are black, despite the funereal connotations. Those who are willing to go to the extra step to have a coat cut and sewn specifically for their measurements have the option of choosing a nontraditional color, generally charcoal gray or dark green. These coats are strictly for the show ring. Special linings can be chosen specifically for the coat that is custom designed. For example the body of the coat can have a wild and bold pattern with a conservative lining on the tails. Conservative does not necessarily mean a solid dark color, only something that is not too garish. The tails on the swallowtail are of a length where they can fly behind the rider as their horse jumps. Before these coats were manufactured for the masses, the tails would cross at the bottom to imitate the actual bird’s tail. The buttons often are covered with the matching fabric of the coat. Under the swallowtail the rider should wear a vest whose points show beneath the front of the coat. Women in the show ring now tend to wear only vest “points” attached to the front by buttons or snaps, creating the effect of a vest without the added bulk. For fox hunting, the vest is either canary yellow or the colors of the hunt. In either case, a tattersall vest is inappropriate because this is a formal coat. In the show ring, riders have another opportunity to display a little individuality in the choice of fabric and color when selecting their vest points. Many are reversible, a traditional canary wool on one side with a variety of other choices on the other side. Some extremes are double layers of brocade silk to coordinate with a fancy lining on the tails. Also in the show ring, linings in swallowtails tend to be bolder than in the fox hunting field or the dressage arena. Sleeves should be a length that allows the arms to extend fully, still showing 1/4 to 1/2 inch of shirt cuff, even (and especially) over a jump. Some riders require more sleeve length than others due to their particular riding style. Above all, it is essential to remember that this is an athlete’s garment, not simply a fashion coat. It should be made well enough to permit all of the movement that is characteristic of the activity in the hunting field or the show ring, without restricting the rider or bagging out and stretching after repeated uses. At the same time, the swallowtail coat should show off the rider to her (or his) most elegant effect. In terms of the impression it should create in ring or field, it is well worth the extra time and trouble it may take to find just the right garment. To complete your elegant appearance, the rest of your outfit should match the formal look of the swallowtail. This formal coat is worn with dress boots not field boots. Breeches are tan, beige or canary – not white, with a traditional fit. White shirts and stock ties are correct. They are to be a neat, smooth addition to the outfit. Many women enjoy wearing French cuffs with these formal coats. For fox hunting and in the show ring a protective helmet is worn with the swallowtail, since the horses and riders navigate over jumps and other potentially dangerous obstacles. The helmet matches the color of the coat, navy or black. Often riders don a “Topper” at the Hunt Meet and change their headgear just before the hounds move off to begin their day of fox chasing. In the Dressage ring, top hats are worn with the shadbelly. The hat matches the color of the coat, either black or navy. In Dressage competitions, the rider wears a navy or black shadbelly which, while similar to the swallowtail, has some very distinctive differences. Unlike the swallowtail, the tails of a shadbelly are squared at the bottom, a detail left over from the military uniform from which these coats were derived. For men, the shadbelly has brass buttons, and fabric-covered buttons are accepted on ladies’ coats. The buttons are plain without engraving or decoration. The tails are weighted keeping the tail close to the rider’s leg, adding to the visual elongation of the rider. Some dressage riders will add leather on their shadbelly tails to add to the weight. The fabric for this discipline does not have to be as durable or heavy since the coat is worn in a controlled environment. Barathea is a formal weave that holds its shape well. Gabardine is another good choice of weave for shadbellies, when the wearer wants a small amount of sheen. The fabric is generally plain; a subtle woven stripe or herringbone pattern is acceptable. Since Dressage is a very traditional discipline, there are no options in the color of the vest points – they are canary. Often they are sewn into the coat rather than being detachable. It is important the waist seam sits on the top of the hip. When the front of the coat is the proper length, it creates a clean transition from the vest points to the breech – your shirt and belt should not show. The vest points cover the belt line. These coats need to be functional as well as elegant. There should be room in the back so the rider may extend her arms comfortably. A wellmade, well-fitted coat will offer a little extra room tapering from the armhole to the waist to furnish the rider the necessary comfort and flexibility. When a rider in any equestrian discipline wears a correctly fitted shadbelly or swallowtail, he or she shall be a picture of elegance and grace. About the Author: Patricia (Trish) Bosley is the President of Bosley Brangier Custom Hand Tailored Apparel located in St. Michaels, Maryland. Founded over 12 years ago, Bosley Brangier specializes in custom-made business and equestrian clothing for both men and women. In addition, Trish provides individual wardrobe consulting advice to business professionals throughout the MidAtlantic region. Bosley Brangier PREMIER EQUINE PUBLICATION FOR THE CAROLINAS [email protected] • 803-640-2339 Custom Hand Tailored Apparel Caring For Your Riding Apparel by Patricia Bosley Whether you buy your clothes ready-made or have them created for you by a custom tailor, you can take a few simple steps to insure their longevity. Given the hectic pace of today’s life, it can be tempting to send everything to the cleaners each time you wear them, but this can lead to premature aging or disintegration. A few precautionary measures can add years of useful life to all your garments. A Few Tools • A quality clothes brush, preferably with real hair bristles that are stiff enough to loosen up any dirt or mud that might set up on the surface of the fabric of your coats. • A steamer, which you can use to remove wrinkles and the occasional dirt or stain that has worked its way into the weave of your fabric. These are now readily available at local stores and are reasonably priced. • Properly sized clothes hangers, preferably of wood, make all the difference in maintaining the correct shape of the shoulders in jackets and the drape of pants and trousers. The frame of a good hanger should stop at the top of the sleeve head where the sleeve joins the shoulder of the jacket, and it should have a slightly bowed or wishbone shape to accommodate the natural drape of the jacket or shirt. Some Habits of Care This is simply a matter of getting into a few basic routines each time you wear any garment. • At the end of the day hang your jacket on its hanger where air can circulate freely around the garment (often the shower rod works nicely). Do not hang it in the closet until it is fully aired out. • Trousers and skirts should be treated the same way. Hang them from a hanger that has clips to hold the trouser either from the waist or hem; skirts should be hung from the waist. • Drape sweaters across a shower rod or the back of a wooden chair – wherever air is able to circulate through the fibers, allowing odors picked up from the body and the environment to be released. • The next day, brush or shake the garment to loosen any remaining dirt. Use the steamer to freshen and release any lasting odors and wrinkles in the fabric. Storing Clothes • When hanging jackets, leave them unbuttoned and, when it’s necessary to cover them, try to use cloth covers. Plastic and vinyl bags are great to use when traveling because they keep any liquids from reaching the clothes, but for l o n g e r- t e r m storage, they are not as desirable. If you have to use them, leave them open or unzipped to ensure as much air circulation as possible. • Cotton shirts, especially if you don’t want to wash and iron them yourself, are best laundered without starch. Fine cloth will age and disintegrate at an accelerated rate when its pores are filled with starch. One of the beauties of cotton and linen is how they breathe, keeping the wearer cool in hot weather. • Silk blouses and shirts should be hand washed or dry cleaned only when they require more attention than a steamer is able to do. • Gentlemen’s neckties should only go to the cleaners as a last resort; there are establishments that hand wash ties, but you can make most spots and stains disappear yourself using your steamer and/or some careful cold water “blotting” techniques. Tailored Garments and Dry-Cleaning Most better-quality men’s and women’s jackets are constructed by attaching the jacket fabric to an interfacing (either a canvas or other woven fabric) that gives shape and body to the garment. In some garments, this is done by fusing the two materials together by using high pressure and high temperature. In other garments the two materials are actually attached to each other by stitching them together. When these garments are “dry-cleaned,” the heat and solvents that are used may cause the interfacing to come away from the jacket fabric and create a puckering effect. This usually happens when the cleaner either uses too much solvent in the cleaning process or too much heat in drying the garment. With a garment from a mass manufacturer, this puckering problem can almost never be corrected. On the other hand, while most custom made jackets do not have this problem, the tailor can fix it if it occurs – one of the “hidden” benefits of custom-made clothing. A Word on Feet Or, more precisely, footwear. Leather footwear requires its own special maintenance to keep it healthy, especially the boots that traipse through manure and urine. It is important to clean leather as soon as possible after your activity. It is equally important to let the boots dry at normal room temperatures. Clean the leather with a pH neutral product. This limits the damage from urine and sweat. Be especially careful to clean along the area where the leather “upper” joins the sole of the boot. Once the boot has dried overnight, you should apply whatever combination of conditioner, polish and oil that your bootmaker – or your own experience – suggest. If you are not riding regularly, it is a good idea to use a conditioner followed by a paste wax polish approximately once a month, depending on the amount and conditions of wear. If using a creme polish, it is not necessary to use a conditioner, since it is part of the polish. When boots are new, rub mink oil into all of the leather and then more frequently along the joining of the sole and the boot. For those who ride in the elements and those who want to achieve the highest possible “gleam” in the show ring or dressage competitions, waxbased polish provides the dual benefit of protection from damp conditions and a relatively high shine. But the key to longevity for all of your leather footwear is to keep the underlying leather properly conditioned and shaped. Wherever possible, use wooden “trees” for all of your boots and shoes. There are many types of trees available. Some bootmakers still supply wood trees at the same time they make a pair of boots, but this is becoming increasingly uncommon. So, even if you have to resort to commercially available trees, they are still far superior to plastic trees or the rolled newspaper solutions we have all seen. Newspaper causes mold by absorbing the moisture, creating a wet environment inside the leg of the boot. Plastic trees are spring-loaded and can cause the leather to be pushed out of shape. The relationship between wood and leather is symbiotic. Wood absorbs the excess moisture from the leather keeping the wood from drying out and allowing the leather to release the proper amount of moisture to keep it healthy. Perhaps even more than with your clothes, quality footwear is an investment. If you purchase high-quality boots and take reasonable care of them, they can last for many years. But, just as with your clothes, they will serve your needs best if you give them the kind of care they need. About the Author: Patricia (Trish) Bosley is the President of Bosley Brangier Custom Hand Tailored Apparel located in St. Michaels, Maryland. Founded over 12 years ago, Bosley Brangier specializes in custom-made business and equestrian clothing for both men and women. In addition, Trish provides individual wardrobe consulting advice to business professionals throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
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