Decoding Men’s Show Pen Fashion with Jenny Jordan

Yes, men’s show pen fashion really is a thing, and nding the perfect show pen look for a man is just as important as for a woman. Like most things in life, the rules vary regarding men versus women, but the rules of quality fashion always apply.


Professional Jenny Jordan, of Denton, Texas, decodes fashion do’s and fashion don’ts for men looking to stand out in the show pen.


Everyone knows the classic go-to colors for men, which undoubtedly include black, white, blue, red and if he’s a little wild, green or purple. Whether solid or patterned, it’s easy to blend in with the rest of the men along the rail or look exactly like the man in line right before you in the Trail class.


Jenny, who describes her taste in fashion as “unique,” takes great lengths to make sure her husband, professional trainer, Robin Frid, and their male clients, stand out from the crowd.


“When everybody was wearing royal blue, or red, or white, or black or the same basic colors for gentlemen, I would put my husband in a lavender shirt with a sheen to it or something else that had a unique look.”


Of course, Jenny also stresses, especially if you would like to wear a shirt with sheen, that “it needs to have a quality look to it that is classy.”


Despite the warning, Jenny believes “you can never go wrong with a unique solid color that has a sheen, or has an interesting texture to it.”


As for patterned shirts, Jenny tells us, “I do like patterns but it really has to be the right pattern. If I’m going to do a pattern, it needs to be bold.”


But, men’s show pen fashion de nitely does not end with nding a unique pattern or color. The right t is essential. “I know some people really like their shirts to be big and starched and ow out in the back, but that can be distracting,” admits Jenny.


Like a professional look in an o ce setting, a slimming shirt, pants, and suit give a more professional appearance than that of an ill- tting out t, whether too loose or too tight.


Jenny normally helps nd all of the male clients in the Frids’ barn a proper Showmanship out t. However, there is more to choosing a Showmanship suit than stopping at the nearest Men’s Warehouse.


“I have actually had some of our male clients, who have had the perfect shape—tall and slender, who can go buy o the rack. I have also helped tall men who are broader and are built like football players, and shorter, smaller men.”


Both of the latter body types require tailoring.


“Tailoring is the only major expense that a man will have to spend versus what a woman will  generally spend on her outfit.” Jenny adds.


She also never underestimates a three-button suit. “Three-button suits can de nitely elongate a shorter man who needs more height. Obviously, they do not make those o the rack because they are not currently popular. But you can go to the tailor and get that three-button suit.”


She continues, “A Showmanship suit needs to fit similarly to how a dinner style suit would fit in the jacket. But since the current style of suit is more of that European shorter pant, obviously those pants need to be long enough to cover the bottom of the boots. When you get them altered, make sure you have your boots on when you are tted, and be able to lift up your knees to make sure that when you run they do not become high-waters.”


Jenny adds that this particular advice on making sure pants are hemmed while wearing boots is not only for men but also for women.


She continues, “If a suit is too loose it does not  have the same, neat appearance. It looks so much better when it has a slim line set. It really does make a difference.”


Jenny is open to letting her male clients choose color combinations in shirts and ties to extend their personalities, as long as the colors coordinate with their horses, and of course, the suit.


“I have a lot of men who want to wear something really bold and have some that are more traditional. It really depends on the person. If you want to be bold without being distracting, or clash with your horse, it is okay.”


Jenny only has two rules for a man who is choosing a shirt and tie for the show pen:

  1. You want to be classy
  2. Take into consideration your physique. If you are trying to elongate and you want to buy a really wild and crazy tie, that is not going to work.



As a bonus, Jenny encourages men to reach out beyond the comfort of black suits. Navy, tan and even forest green are all on her good list.


For male riders in the saddle, Jenny advises all men to invest in quality show pads.


“Putting some real thought into the saddle pad really does matter. Purchasing a quality pad is definitely necessary because it impacts the colors and the longevity of the pad. It’s part of a man’s out t to have a quality pad. Really for everybody, but especially for a man, since he has to dress more simply. The pad is de nitely an important element.”


Interestingly enough, Jenny also believes that mix matching colors in hats and chaps is positive for men. Sorry ladies, she said absolutely not for women. Wearing a tan hat and black chaps or vice versa in color patterns can mix up a man’s more limited style options.


Men may still think that fashion does not really matter though, as long as their out ts are clean, starched and have the same color as that show pad they picked out. Jenny wholeheartedly disagrees.


“I certainly think that it matters how you look when you go into the show pen. Looking classy and stylish it’s just part of life. It’s part of the presentation. With any job that you do, the best dress is always admired. The same thing goes in the show pen. The best dressed is always admired whether the rider is male or female.”


At the end of the day, fashion for men and women should re ect the event in which you are competing. When you dress like a winner, you feel like a winner, and when you feel like a winner, the result at the end of the class normally reflects the feel.


Show Horse Today
by Barbara Aitken Jenkins