Show Ring Style
By: Maddie Caldwell
Ever since I was a little girl, my grandparents instilled into me the value of first impressions. Whether it was being sure to greet someone with a smile and a firm handshake, or dressing well to display professionalism and class, they always made sure that I would be prepared for any situation. With these values in mind, I attempted to carry on that idea throughout my time showing. Although you may see me in the barn with rubber boots and mismatched t-shirts, I truly believe that making first impressions in the show ring is essential. In preparation for shows this summer, I hope that these tips help you navigate through the ever-growing shopping platform.
Dark jeans are the way to go.
In comparison to stone washed or light shade jeans, darker colors display professionalism and hide excess dirtiness. Also, be sure to steer clear of any jeans with any holes or patches, as they are more appropriate for a more casual setting. Lastly, be sure that your jeans are long enough to cover the back of your boots – there is nothing more embarrassing than having pants that are too short.
For girls – 7 For All Mankind jeans are very in style. Both the ginger and dojo styles offer a wide leg and long inseam to compensate for wearing boots. I find the best deals on Poshmark or Nordstrom’s Rack. Although these are two popular styles, searching for ‘dark flare jeans’ could give some appropriate results.
Photo Credit: 7 For All Mankind
For boys- After asking a few friends, most guys chose to wear either Cinch or Buckle jeans, both of which can also be found online. For years, we struggled to find my brother jeans that would be long enough to not look like a flood was coming in, but that still remained small enough to stay on his waist. The Rock & Roll boy’s jeans seem to be the best fit.
Photo Credit: Rock & Roll Cowboy Jeans
Determining what shirt attire to wear in the show ring is vital.
Though show ring attire has changed over the years, one thing is for certain – the goal is to draw attention to your animal, not yourself. Maybe this is the cattle showing background coming out in me, but I find it always appropriate to wear a Polo style shirt to show in, especially during showmanship. Regardless of the occasion, this button down attire displays professionalism and unity. I do, however, find it appropriate to wear a nice blouse or cardigan if it makes me more comfortable. It honestly just depends on personal preference. In previous years, I have found the best deals on Polo tops at outlets or on sale via the Polo Ralph Lauren website. If you are looking for a nice top to wear that still maintains class, one store that I like in particular is Ann Taylor. With choices ranging from winter wear to summer tanks, they always provide long lasting clothing at a reasonable price.
Not to be sexist, but I have personally not seen a male wear any type of cardigan or blouse to show in. With that being said, there are still ways for guys to stand out when in the ring. Polo style shirts with funky patterns and various textures can be found all over the internet now-a-days. When searching for deals, polo outlets are perfect.
Photo Credit: Torie Egger Photography
Photo Credit: T Walker Photography
Save the bling for outside the ring.
Though belts are often embedded with lots of glitz and sparkle, keeping the jewelry minimal is very important to remember. I find that a few bracelets and possible a single necklace are perfectly appropriate. A few of my personal favorites have been purchased at Francesca’s. They have a huge selection of necklaces and bracelets to suit any outfit, at a reasonable price.
Keep wrinkles to a minimum.
I wouldn’t be able to write this without first thanking Adrienne Platt for introducing my family to one of the greatest products we own: Downy Wrinkle Release. As all show families know, we are constantly on the go and barely have time to haul clothes into the dry cleaners between shows. This spray can be found at any grocery store and is a necessity at shows. Whether it is before you head into the ring or the night before a show, this stuff is super convenient and much easier than hauling an iron around. If all else fails – ladies, your hair straighteners work perfect for getting wrinkles out!
Photo Credit: Downy
Boys – no more “hat hair.”
There is nothing more unprofessional than having messy hair when going into the ring. Be sure to keep the hats off on show day to prevent any lines or wild hair.
The Three B’s.
In high school, the senior class was instructed to do class interviews to prepare students for real world experiences beyond the classroom. One of the ladies who was prepping us for our interviews suggested that we remember the Three B’s when getting ready to enter any professional setting in the future. Your clothing in the show ring needs to have a higher neckline, with a long enough inseam to fit your entire torso, accompanied by pants that are the correct size and do not sag or show too much skin.
Last but most certainly not least – shoes.
In my opinion, this may be the most changed trend of all in the stock show industry. Where cowboy boots used to rule the ring, more comfortable options have taken over. While I find it is important to maintain that “boot look,” several alternatives offer the same style, but also come at a cheaper price. My current favorites are the Roper style slip-ons. These shoes needed no time to “break in” unlike a few pairs of Sperry’s that I wore previously, and also were much easier to clean than the typical leather shoe. For barn work in particular, our family’s personal favorite is the Sanuk brand. With lots of colors to choose from and a variety of styles, these are my go to. For those ladies who have size 7-8 feet – I can often fit in children’s sizes to save a bit, especially on a college budget.
About the Blogger
Maddie Caldwell grew up in Illinois with her family showing cattle and hogs. She is a very active NJSA member who has a deep passion for the swine industry. Maddie just graduated from Lake Land Community College and will be attending Western Illinois University in the fall.