I have a confession to make. And no, it’s not that I loathe gymnastic exercises, fail miserably with trot-in fences, or cannot ride without stirrups even if my life depended on it. Nope (although those might be true, but I'll never tell). Instead, I must confess: up until a few months ago, I had never taken part in the subscription box craze (gasp!). My lack of participation in this is shocking, really, as I am the ultimate consummate consumer; a retail lover who believes in the occasional self-splurge, who revels in the surprise, who geeks out over solid presentation and packaging, and a consumer who insists in life one must try new things. So why did it take me so long to jump on board with this subscription-based goodie-box train?
Honestly, I was skeptical. Beauty boxes, food boxes, fashion boxes, and beyond – I never truly felt confident that I could commit to such a membership and actually enjoy all the surprises contained within. Would I seriously use them? Would I love them? Or would I simply discard the unwanted items into the one place where sad and random consumer goods go to die - the junk drawer? So many questions, and so many subscription boxes to choose from, even if I wanted to commit. Let’s face it: the swarm of subscription-based package options on the 'interwebs' gives me more anxiety than a warm-up ring overflowing with red-ribboned tails and pony riders.
Months ago, while in meetings with NF staffers, I caught wind of a new subscription box offering that was just on the horizon. And for the first time in my life, I felt the need to break out of my comfort zone, throw my inhibitions to the wind, and give my first subscription a try. I set my sights and commitments on the NF.edit and didn't look back. It just felt like a fit. I’m part of the growing herd of horsey-fashionable types, with a dual love for what's trending and what is quintessentially classic. I'm also a fan of self-care, and that amalgamation of all my loves intrigued me. Plus, I like things to be delivered to my door. I'm busy, and it just makes life easier.
So, I finally did it. I signed up for my first subscription box, and the obsession is real. I'm not going to lie – getting the box in the mail was pretty fun, and felt way more 'treat yourself' than when the Amazon delivery guy throws plain brown boxes on my lawn. [TIP: The NF.edit is holiday gifting perfected. Trainers, barn mates, vets, family and more. In the words of National Lampoon’s Cousin Eddie, it is the gift that keeps giving the whole year. And it’s significantly cooler than the Jelly of the Month Club.]
I avoided my family as I scurried through the house grasping my box, beelining to my bathroom to sit in peace and silence as I delicately opened my excitement-inducing equestrian-minded package. Helmet spray for my borderline questionable helmet, intoxicating and helpful roll-on aromatherapy oils, full knit and super chic boot socks, uber-rich hand repair cream, and a few trinkets of appreciation to be used at NF.Shop (I’ve had my eye on the Alexa Fairchild Freedom Rider Jacket for some time now, so I’m thinking this is my chance to treat myself just a little bit more).
But there is one thing I discovered, beautifully contained within the box, that has completely become a fixture in my wardrobe. So much so, that it is never completely put away, but instead carefully and conveniently placed on my bathroom counter waiting to be infused into my daily OOTD. I discovered, and fell in love with, the black surcingle belt by Ruespari. It's an elastic belt that is incredibly comfortable and somehow morphs to fit every body, and every outfit. It's the perfect way to infuse a little equestrian style into all my outfits, in the most subtle way. Plus, for riding, it works with every pair of breeches – high rise, low rise, skinny belt loops, you name it.
I'm really into it.
ROOTD, anyone? Heck, yes! My initial reaction to the Ruespari belt with its flexible black waistband and simplistic savvy silver surcingle buckle (say that one five times fast) was to get this baby incorporated into the ideal schooling outfit. On a personal level, I tend to dress as if I’m attending a funeral, so naturally, the black belt melded in perfectly with my dark and ominous monochromatic number. A black pair of breeches, a black Noel Asmar schooling shirt, my new favorite riding socks, topped with a baseball cap and fastened all together with the Ruespari belt, and its as if instantly, my LBRO (Little Black Riding Outfit) dreams were realized.
FROM THE BARN TO THE STREETS
… And everywhere in between. I ride early in the mornings in what sometimes feels like a desperate attempt to 1. avoid the sun and 2. to be able to get on with my daily activities. So in the spirit of being a responsible and well put-together adult, I regularly practice the delicate art of barn-to-street dressing. A pair of tall boots over your breeches, a simple button-down shirt, a felt fedora, a quick spritz of perfume, some lipstick and I’m out the door. Or barn, however you look at it. I recall years ago talking to a rider, where we discussed everything from favorite places in the world to ride, tricks for staying awake while hauling horses long distances, and personal style. He told me “anyone that wears a shirt and pair of breeches or pants equipped with belt loops but fails to actually wear a belt is psychotic.” This statement was burned into my stylistic subconscious and I swear, I have not gone belt-less ever since. As if this rider from across the world is going to spy me committing the un-belted cardinal sin. Sigh. Back to the point, I wear belts. And I love the concept of the simple, unassuming Ruespari peeking out from a classic barn-to-street getup.
I mom so hard. And work. And loads of other random stuff. So sneakers, jeans, tanks, bodysuits, windbreakers, sweaters, hair accessories and more are so my jam. As casual as it may all seem, I still aim to make it look effortfully-effortless. Its a skill, a very particular skill, and one that I have acquired over a very long career. Enter the belt once again, elevating my super casual ensemble to super chic mom status. I gravitated towards my favorite cut-off jeans, my faithful Chuck Taylors, a slim black top such as the Free x Rein black henley bodysuit, a camo print jacket and classic vintage bandana. The Ruespari belt takes all of these elements and helps to finish off the entire ensemble. The end result? Super casual cool.
Just as I thought the season for bridal showers, birthday parties, and baby showers was coming to a close, I get served a bevy of fun and fancy free fete invitations. So what’s a girl to do? A jumpsuit, a good hat, a pair of studded heeled mules and a color coordinated stellar belt does just the trick. As I channeled my inner fashion-consciousness dress up-playing teen, I marveled in the all-around capabilities of this belt, which continued to transition beautifully from riding outfit to party outfit.
On to the final test of the Ruespari’s transitionary ability - could I make the belt haute enough for date night with my main squeeze? YES. A pair of leather pants, an oversized chunky sweater, newsboy cap, and thigh high black leather and silver studded boots were all the Ruespari needed to elevate it to fire status. The belt worked beautifully for a night out on the town, was extremely comfortable, and the surcingle closure gave it just a bit of oomph. Consider it significant other-approved.
Photography by Taylor Rea.
Written by Alli Addison
Rode-before-she-could-walk California girl Alli Addison spends her days in the whirlwind that is kids, husband, career, horses and real life. She favors Cubano-Style lattes, black and white stripes, gel manicures and a good pair of sweatpants. She also continues to ask Santa for a dappled grey jumper, year after year, to no avail.