I'm sure I'm not alone in admitting that for my preteen self, horses were a big part of my life. Looking back, it was a surprising obsession for a girl who grew up in the ‘burbs and had encountered a horse exactly once in my life. But neigh-vertheless, my love of hoofed mammals grew with every Saddle Club after-school viewing and virtual pet horse I fostered through iPod touch apps.
Like other comfort aesthetics (hello, coastal aunt), the ‘horse girl’ has returned. Back in its heyday, horse girls were shunned and cringed at. But French braids and plaid shirts have been swapped out for polished, tailored and understated alternatives. Horse girls have grown up and so has their style.
She’s trotted back into the fashion world thanks to a few high-fashion nods. Earlier this year, Chanel's Paris Haute Couture show opened with Princess Charlotte Casiraghi on horseback, wearing knee-high rider boots with a signature Chanel jacket. During Paris Fashion Week 2022, Hermes channelled the equestrienne trend with its sheer blouses and shrunken bomber jackets styled with silver hardware leather belts and high-rise saddle boots.
According to Depop’s Trend and Category Manager Agustina Panzoni, this trend is made for spring. “I like to think of the equestrienne trend as comfortable, bold, and unique,” she tells Refinery29 Australia, adding that many key pieces of the aesthetic might already be found in your existing wardrobe rotation.
“Think [a] polo shirt, a structured a-lined skirt, a skinny belt and knee-high boots, topp[ed] with a light quilted gilet or vest,” she says. “On Depop, we spotted a 33% spike in searches for ‘quilted gilets and vests’ and a 204% week-on-week increase for ‘skinny jeans’ which makes it safe to say these searches are only going to increase now that celebrities like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner continue to showcase their equine looks.”
Depop searches for Barbour jackets have risen 246% week-on-week and polo shirt searches have risen 57% (with people particularly looking up Ralph Lauren).
“To master elevating this look on a night out, style your knee-high boots, a polo shirt, a fringe shift jacket or a quilted coat with a saddle bag.”
Among Panzoni’s wider fashion aesthetic trend predictions are ‘athleisure' adjacent trends like easy jock and summer camp.
“Much like athleisure, the equestrienne trend is all about utility and functionality with an injection of versatility,” she says, pointing to the rise of jodhpurs and wearing leggings as pants. “No longer just relegated to loungewear, they have become a statement piece with brands like Mugler, Balenciaga and Burberry putting the figure-hugging style back on the map.”
For more low-key interactions with the equestrienne trend, Panzoni suggests horse-bit loafers (“it’s all in the name!”) and oversized blanket scarfs ("can be styled in multiple ways!”).
The equestrienne aesthetic is a close cousin of preppy fashion. Will you be galloping towards or away from it?