Here are some additional show apparel tips for plus size riders:
- Dark colors minimize, light colors maximize. This means that darker chaps will make thighs of size less noticeable...but think about the contrast: if you have a very light colored saddle, black chaps may actually show up more than a medium color.
Also, consider wearing a light hat. It will add light and interest around your face, and create the illusion of height and slenderness by making your figure lighter at it gets taller. A light hat draws the viewer's eye upwards and makes you look more alert, without dark shadow over your face.
- Vertical designs add length, horizontal designs emphasize width. Don't create a strong color contrast at your waist–it will draw attention to that area. Consider for example chocolate chaps and blouse, with a lighter cream yoke on the shirt and cream hat for a look that’s slenderizing at your middle, and flattering around your face.
- Trust your instincts. You know what makes you feel most comfortable and most confident. Your clothes should always capture your personality and help you feel like you belong...so don't do something crazy just because a trainer tells you too (unless they whip out their credit card to pay for it, then you might as well give it a shot!)
- Comfort is king. You know when things fit nicely that you feel comfortable, but when something is a bit too tight it makes us very self-conscious. Show apparel needs to be shapely to create a nice trim silhouette from a distance, but it shouldn't be so tight that you need to tug at it, or so there are gaps and strains on the fabrics. For this reason, Plus riders may be more comfortable in garments with some stretch to them. Be realistic when you shop: buy things that will fit when you need to show, not after the Big Diet. If you melt away, then darn it, you deserve a new wardrobe!
My last special suggestion is to get a great pair of chaps. If you go to a good chap maker, you should have chaps that look just as nice on you as a skinny kid... they need to be just right, and are worth splurging on, because they cover more than half your body when you show, and they will last for years and years. Good chaps- like a saddle - are not an expense, they’re an investment in your success in the show ring. It's foolish to spend so much money on horse, training, tack, trailer, and so on, and not feel that you are wonderfully turned out when you are in the arena. You get what you pay for, so always buy the best within your budget.