Vintage habits may be the epitome of elegance, but the heavy, delicate fabric means they are often only brought out on special occasions.
Now, equestrian outfitter Alexander James has responded to the resurgence in side saddle riding by producing an “everyday” habit that is light, waterproof and, it is hoped, can be thrown in the washing machine.
Mark Little, a tailor at the Manchester firm, told H&H they were responding to customer demand.
“A lot of ladies have told us they’d like a habit they could train in on a daily basis, which wouldn’t matter so much if it got dirty.
“They want to keep their smart habit for shows and hunting.”
The new habit is being tested to see if it can be machine-washed. It is made from a polyester-wool mix, as opposed to the 32oz cavalry twill or heavy tweed of Alexander James’ regular habits.
“If it’s a ‘no‘ on washability, we will still make them, because it is a lighter option that is better for summer shows,” said Mr Little.
“It could also work as a starter habit for someone new to side saddle.”
The everyday habit will cost in the region of £350, whereas the traditional design is £575.
The habit is due to go into production later this month and will be tested by the company’s sponsored riders, including Becca Holland.
Becca, who survived the bottomless conditions of the Meath side saddle meet, said a washable habit would be a godsend.
“A lot of riders show in the summer and were horrified by the state of their habits at the end of the day.
“I’m not saying that we should all be out hunting in polyester jackets; it’s embracing the fact there are more technical fabrics out there,” she added.
For more information visit Alexander James’ Facebook page
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (7 February 2013)