Battle of the Winter Warming Shirts!

I hate the cold weather, so anytime I find riding clothes that advertise they will keep me warm using some type of thermo-technology, I am up for trying them. This year I have tried three different shirts that all claim to keep you warmer in the cold winter weather: the SmartPak UnderArmour Coldgear Infrared Crew, the EIS Heated Shirt, and the Asmar Equestrian Active Compression Top.

I am going to rate the shirts on a scale of 1 to 3 stars, with 3 obviously being the best.

EIS Heated Shirt, available in adult and youth sizes.

EIS Heated Shirt: This is the one I liked best out of the bunch. EIS just released this shirt, and it has heating and moisture wicking properties. It is advertised as keeping your body 5 degrees warmer which is awesome when it comes to winter weather. The shirt itself only comes in black and has a different material on the underside than the other EIS shirts. I wore the shirt on an extremely cold day, and it definitely kept me much warmer than a regular shirt would have. I also wore it during a riding lesson to test out its odor wicking properties, and those did not disappoint either. I didn’t feel like I smelled bad after riding (though I do also wear deodorant), and I also didn’t get that icky feeling when I’ve cooled down from the lesson and realized how sweaty I am, thus making me cold. If you are going to get just one of these shirts, I would definitely purchase this one. Also, this is not a shirt you can wear alone on a 15 degree day. It keeps you warm but not that warm. That being said, this plus a good jacket will keep you warm, cutting down on the bulky layers.

Pros: Definitely keeps body warmer; wicks away sweat and prevents that icky cold feeling after you’ve cooled down.
Cons: Won’t keep you toasty on a bitter cold day, but will decrease the layers needed.
Rating: 3 stars

 

SmartPak UnderArmour ColdGear Crew

SmartPak UnderArmour Coldgear Infrared Crew: This shirt uses special technology to reflect your body heat and keep you warm, much like the Back On Track products (except without the ceramic particles). I really love this shirt. It’s very flattering and warm. It is also a great layering piece. In terms of warmth, it takes second to the EIS. I found myself needing more layers with this and not staying as warm in colder weather if I didn’t have those layers. The good thing is this shirt is not bulky and fits very well under or over other clothing so it does not add to any bulk. The shirt also has moisture wicking properties, which I found to work but not as well as the EIS. However, it does have anti-microbial technology that helps keep the shirt fresher, longer, which I have found to be very effective.

Pros: Flattering fit; not bulky; moisture-wicking; don’t need to wash as often.
Cons: Not as warming as other shirts; still need to layer.
Rating: 2.5 stars

Asmar Equestrian Active Compression Top.

Asmar Equestrian Active Compression Top: I love this shirt. It’s very flattering and fits extremely well. However, I found it to be the least warming of the winter shirts I tested. It is a compression shirt so it is supposed to keep muscles warm while exercising, which it did, but the material is thin, and I personally would never wear this without layering. The material is stretchy and soft, but thin and not enough to withstand bitter cold. The thumb hole is great for covering your hands, but I found it actually irritating to ride in with gloves over the hand part. I definitely love the shirt, and it did serve its purpose when I was riding by keeping my muscles warm, but I had to layer a lot, and I could never wear this alone in the bitter cold – unless I had an indoor, maybe. It is flattering, and it does keep you warm, but only while riding. I like shirts that will be effective before, during, and after riding. I spend a lot of time at the barn, riding or not, so if I choose this as my outfit, I better be prepared to layer or bring my heavy winter jacket.

Pros: Very flattering fit; made of great material; does the job when you’re riding; not bulky.
Cons: Doesn’t keep you very warm while not riding; material is very thin; thumb holes to keep hands warm can be irritating.
Rating: 2 stars

Overall, any of these picks are a good fit depending on what it is you’re doing. If you want to be warm before, during, and after riding, then the EIS Heated Shirt is probably for you. Looking for something to keep you warm, but don’t mind layering? SmartPak UnderArmour ColdGear Crew! And, if you’re just riding and that’s it, the Asmar Active Compression Top will definitely do the job.

Have you tried another similar type shirt this winter and loved it? Let me know in the comments below!

Must Have Equestrian Fashion Items for Fall 2014

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Le Fash Central Park City Breech.

1. Le Fash: I finally bought my first Le Fash shirt last year, and I am IN LOVE with it. I since have picked up three Le Fash long sleeve show shirts. I also own one of their short sleeve show shirts and two of their sport polos. Their Spring 2015 collection is being rolled out this month, and their new City Breech colors are already on the website. One of the greatest things about the brand is that their clothes are able to worn in day-to-day life. You could wear one of their shirts to work and only have to change into breeches when you get to the barn (I have personally done this – it works flawlessly). I love the versatility of the brand, and the designs are gorgeous. Le Fash clothes are 100% show appropriate and have already made their way into the show ring with sponsored riders Jennifer Alfano, Maggie Jayne, and Hunter Holloway. The Spring 2015 City Breech colors are to die for, and I will be purchasing the Central Park hunter green for myself. The new show shirt colors aren’t up on the website yet, but Le Fash has posted a preview to its Facebook page, and they look gorgeous!

Asmar Equestrian Active Compression Top.

2. Asmar Equestrian: I recently became a fan of Asmar Equestrian, and I have one of their compression shirts on order right now. Not only do they look super cute, but they serve a dual purpose: keeping muscles warm and wicking sweat away. I cannot wait to wear this in the fall, especially during those rides where I get super sweaty and then super cold once I’m done riding due to the cold temperatures. The shirt comes in black  and can be found here or here. There is also a lux compression top that looks amazingly gorgeous. You should also check out their show shirts and their sweaters! I just bought their Merino Wool v-neck in Caribbean, and I. love. it. Super comfortable, super soft, and very flattering! I pretty much love all their apparel.

Rebecca Ray Bit Belt in black.

3. Rebecca Ray Bit Belt: If you haven’t checked out Rebecca Ray already, you must do so. She has a ton of cute equestrian themed stuff like wrist cuffs, handbags, home decorations, and more. I have been wanting the Rebecca Ray Bit Belt. The belt comes in black, brown, or red leather with a silver snaffle bit. The belt can be buckled in the front so that the bit is on the hip or buckled on the side so the bit is in the front. This is a definite must have for the fall. I mean, who DOESN’T need more belts? (Seriously.. if your breeches have belt loops, wear a belt!) The bit belt can be found here or here.

Spur belt available at Equestri Lifestyle

4. Spur Belt: One of my favorite tack shops, Equestri Lifestyle, has spur belts that are super cute and fun. They come in 9 different colors (on the website), including black if you want to remain conservative. The belt buckle resembles a spur. I’ve seen a ton of different color combinations with these belts, and I love them all. Equestri Lifestyle allows special orders, so if you want a color not on the website or a certain material for the actual belt, they can accommodate you! I personally love the aqua, light patent pink, and black colors. These belts would go great with one of the Asmar Equestrian polos, a Le Fash show shirt, or an EIS mesh shirt!

Renard et Cheval show coat in brown. Photo Credit: Equestri Lifestyle Facebook page.

Renard et Cheval show coat in brown. Photo Credit: Equestri Lifestyle Facebook page.

5. Renard et Cheval: This is a fairly new equestrian apparel brand, but their stuff is gorgeous. Alexa Skonieczny who also owns Equestri Lifestyle gave me the rundown on this brand new line created by individuals that spent years making custom show clothing for Karl Cook, Marcus Enhning, and Nick Skelton. They offer breeches, shirts, and show coats. Their breeches come in two colors: pomegranate and tan. Their shirts come in multiple colors and have details such as magnetic collars, printed collars and cuffs, mesh under sleeve, and fun designs in the collars and cuffs. Their show coats (the brown is to die for) come in four basic “off the rack” designs. However, you can get a custom collar or a completely custom coat for extra money on top of the base price. The brand is still new, but it can be found at Equestri Lifestyle, Barrington Saddlery, Allon, and Stirrup Cup.

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My Barn Child Evil Eye charm.

6. My Barn Child Evil Eye Charm: For those of you that don’t know what the “evil eye” is, it is a curse that is cast by a malevolent glare that is given when a person is unaware. It is often thought to cause misfortune or injury to the person that receives it. It has different names in different cultures; my favorite being the “stink eye” which comes from Hawaii. To protect oneself from the evil eye, you can wear evil eye jewelry which is meant to reflect the evil eye back towards the giver and keep you from receiving the curse. While I know this sounds like a bunch of mythical lore, but I really like the concept, and I actually had an evil eye bracelet until I lost it riding one day. Given the stuff I’ve been dealing with recently when it comes to riding (lots of gossiping and competitiveness), I decided to get the My Barn Child Evil Eye charm to put on my saddle and protect me from any negativity and bad karma. Even though we may try to avoid it, riding can be extremely competitive and catty, and the evil eye charm is the perfect way to combat that (if you believe in protective talismans, that is.. which I definitely do)!

Under Armour Authentic Tights.

7. SmartPak Under Armour: Some of us aren’t lucky enough to be at a facility that has a heated barn and indoor ring.. or even an indoor ring. If this winter is anything like last winter, and sources say it will be, we are definitely going to need more winter clothing to keep us from freezing. Under Armour and SmartPak teamed up to make a line suited for equestrians. They have items for the cold and hot days, but I am just going to be focusing on the cold days. My favorites are the Under Armour Coldgear Infrared Crew, the Under Armour Authentic Tights, the  Under Armour Infrared Full Zip Jacket, and the Under Armour Coldgear Infrared Liner Glove. Each of these items uses your own body heat to keep your warm while making sure you also stay dry if you begin sweating. The tights and the glove liners are a great idea because you can wear them under your breeches and winter gloves for those extra cold days. I personally wore leggings under my breeches several days this past winter because it was that cold. We may hate the cold weather, but it’s something we have to deal with, so we might as well do it right!

Lillie Keenan & her Personally Preppy helmet monogram.

Lillie Keenan & her Personally Preppy helmet monogram.

8. Personally Preppy Monograms: I love the idea of monogramming, especially if multiple people at the same barn have the same stuff. Personally Preppy offers monograms for all the essential riding gear: helmets, gloves, boots, horse boots, spurs, and crops! You can also purchase monogrammed polos, a monogram for your show backpack, and a heat transfer monogram to put on your breeches or other apparel. They are customizable, and you can choose from a variety of different sizes, colors, and designs. Plus, Lillie Keenan uses them so what more do you need to know?

Ecolicious Equestrian Hey Sugar Lip Silk.

9. Ecolicious Equestrian Hey Sugar Lip Silk: Winter air is often very cold and very dry which is not necessarily the greatest combination for our skin or lips. My lips tend to get very chapped in the winter, especially because I still ride outside. My solution? Tons of lip balm. The Hey Sugar Lip Silk from Ecolicious Equestrian is AMAZING. Not only does it smell fantastic, it tastes fantastic too (not that I’ve been eating it………..), and it keeps my lips soft and moisturized all day. Just like every Ecolicious product, the lip silk is made from all natural ingredients like Jojoba oil, sunflower oil, and beeswax. It’s great for your lips and great for the environment!

Parlanti Passion Miami boots

10. Parlanti Passion Tall Boots: I love my custom Der Daus, but I ride so much that I wanted to get a pair of schooling tall boots that didn’t break the bank. I decided to purchase a pair of stock size Parlantis over the summer. I got my pair, and they felt like they were broken in already even though I was putting them on for the first time! Mine do not fit me perfectly, but for stock size tall boots, they are pretty damn close which I cannot say about other brands. I love these boots, and they are amazing quality for a stock size boot. A size chart is available here. I have always heard great things about Parlantis, and these did not disappoint even though I did not spend the money to get a custom pair. Tall boots are a must have, especially if you will be showing. Not everyone can afford custom boots, so these are a great alternative. They are available here or here.

Gorgeous custom Samshield helmet featuring Alcantara body, Galuchat top, and Swarovski Zircom trim.

11. Samshield helmet: So, earlier this year I was obsessed with GPA helmets. Then I tried one on. None of them fit my head, and I quickly was over it. It seems as if Samshield helmets have been catching on lately, and I love them. I currently have a Charles Owen AYR8, and I am strongly considering purchasing a Samshield in the near future. Here’s what I like about the Samshield: it’s vented, so it will keep you cool in the summer; it has removable and washable liners; the padding does not make contact with your forehead which is GREAT news for migraine sufferers like myself; and the helmet itself is customizable (though some of the options will run you into the thousands). Samshields are available pretty much anywhere, so I can’t link you to all the available vendors, but you can definitely find them at SmartPak and Dover Saddlery.