First, it seems from the comments that some readers want to reassure me that I don't have to go through all this work and that the clothes don't have to be that fancy for the level I show. To those people I first want to remind them that I show in Central Ohio where I show against folks who show at the QH Congress. I have noticed it's a bit swankier here. Then I also want to say, "Yes, you are absolutely right. BUT my day job is a Costume Designer for theatre. This is what I do. Every year I spend thousands and thousands of other people's money and spend countless hours sketching and selecting fabrics for outfits I will never get to wear. My job is to make other people feel fabulous and I really do love it, but this is the rare occasion I get to try to make myself feel fabulous."
That being said, I have been working on the Show outfit designs. I've considered lots of options and I am still considering several more. I need to make myself a deadline and go with it. In my professional life someone else makes the deadlines and I just follow them. Considering it's only 6.5 weeks until our first show of the season the deadline is... um...NOW. Or at least I should get the materials ordered. But y'all's comments were so helpful and inspiring that I haven't really come to a decision. I'd really like to find some show clothes that can last me a few seasons, but I've just not been completely satisfied with the past 2 year's outfits. I am happy with the color choices from last year even though it wasn't at all what I thought I wanted.
I admit I've considered going off-the-rack *GASP* I know, you're speechless, right? A few mouse clicks is SOOO much less work than fabric hunting and sewing...And I found two tunics from Hobby Horse that I kinda like, the Santana in Gold, and the Allegro in Copper:
They're simpler than what I'm planning but I like them. I like the Allegro better, but it's the more pricey one at $219. I could make something SOOO much more custom/detailed/impressive for around half that price, or I could make one that simple for less than a third of the price. Plus I really CANNOT be in the ring with someone else wearing the same outfit. Every single western outfit I've had (aside from the first vest I only made alterations to) has been custom. I can't go back now, not when I have the skills and technology to do this.
I've also considered utilizing the new DIY Janie Tunic from Hobby Horse. It's not up on their website yet but here is a screenshot of the digital catalog page:
Not a bad idea at all! Go HH! I've never bought a top from them but I have their pants and chaps and think the chaps are the bees knees. But I'm afraid I won't get as good of a fit that I can do on my own, and I'm not sure what the length is. I'm pretty short waisted so I'm hardest to fit in that area. It seems too short to be what I want for showmanship, but not the right material to tuck in for Horsemanship as it's made from their PMS pants fabric.
So I think I'll be making TWO tops instead of one. Argh. Twice the work!?!?! BUT twice the fun and I admit I get a kick when someone stops me at a show to tell me they like my outfit and I can say "Thank you, it's my own design." and then they say "REALLY!?!?! It's gorgeous!" So having TWO different ones makes me look even more talented. I know, I know, I should get over myself. But seriously, this is my JOB. People pay me for this service I should get to enjoy it for myself once in a while.
So for Showmanship, I think I'm going to do some version of the all black outfit but have enough of a lighter color in the stones or the lines to make it work with a tan hat. I can't help liking that one the best out of the myriad of attempts to bring in some more light color. In fact I was searching for "Showmanship" on google images and my eye was immediately drawn to a very cool black outfit... oh wait, that IS mine. HA! I'll do this in the longer length.
Then for the riding classes since I'm more of a Horsemanship rider than a Western Pleasure rider, I think I'm going to go with something like this:
I've missed the streamlined look of the black body that my purple thing had so I've brought that back. The lines will be Ultrasuede. I'd like them to be more interesting than straight lines but that stuff is actually a pain to cut out into fancy shapes and keep symmetrical. The fabric on top is a glittered stretch velvet in shades of gold and copper. It'll sparkle but not be gross.
I was watching some video of that show season and it masked a lot more of my movement than the stripes. The vertical stripes on the one from last year kinda woodge back and forth at the lope... ick.
So that's where we are today. Probably should make some decisions...
Not that I couldn't wear the other thing for one more year...