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Designers find inspiration in the riding ring

  • The Washington Post
  • Published Sunday, Sep. 9, 2012, at 11:15 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Sep. 10, 2012, at 1:47 p.m.

Well before the Summer Olympics (and Ann Romney) focused world attention on the precision, privileged sport of dressage, prescient designers had translated the costumes of the riding ring to the runway. In a setting resembling New York’s Central Park, Tommy Hilfiger’s fall show trotted out uptown girls in quilted field jackets, silk dresses with bridle prints, and riding helmets. At Joseph Altuzarra, models sported harnesslike belts, jodhpurs and sweaters stamped with horses. So whether you’re a steeplechase tailgater or sophisticated streetwear seeker, here are suggestions for equestrian-inspired sportswear.

•  Socialite-turned-designer Tory Burch translates her to-the-manor-born life into her popular clothing and accessory line. These luxe leather boots with authentic-looking hardware give gams a slim, elegant silhouette. Would-be buyers need deep pockets, but riding experience is not required. Jess leather knee-high riding boots, available in black and dark brown. $525 at area Saks Fifth Avenue stores and www.saksfifthavenue.com.

•  When it comes to decades of designing equestrian-inspired fashions, including waist-defining jackets with suede elbow patches and figure-flattering pants with horsey hardware, Ralph Lauren has no equal. As shown, a silky, bow-tie blouse ideally complements this season’s stretchy jodhpurs. Palermo Hudson stretch jodhpurs, $298 at www.polo.com.

•  After seasons of chains, zippers and extraneous embellishments, handbags are having a minimalist moment. Dooney & Bourke’s refreshingly simple saddle bag with tongue and loop closure can accommodate what you need for a trail ride or all the electronic devices you need to carry back and forth from the office. Also available in black, brown, red and natural. Saddle bag, $365 at www.dooneybourke.com.

•  A horse is a horse, of course, of course, but when one is fashioned into a metal hook, it becomes a decorative, unexpected way to hang your hacking jacket in the hall or your towel in a bathroom. Horse bust hook, $28, at area Anthropologie stores and www.anthropologie.com.

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