There are certain women who just ooze chic. They are the head turners that make us sigh, with simultaneous envy and approval. No matter what the occasion, they appear cool, confident and crisp. To me, the epitome of chic is Heidi Driscoll, a tall, blonde whippet-thin mother and equestrian, who resides in Riverside.
Heidi often comes into Richards in riding garb, attired in tall boots, light colored jodhpurs and a crisp white shirt with a banded collar. Except for her rosy cheeks, you couldn’t tell if she had just dropped her son off at school or completed two hours of rigorous riding and jumping on her horse, Gridiron, in Bedford.
Over the years, I’ve seen Heidi at various fashion shows, like the Breast Cancer Alliance or Old Bags luncheons. Invariably, she is smartly turned out in a Valentino white sheath dress with matching coat or a cafe-au-lait Brunello Cucinelli suede shift with piles of gossamer spun wool knotted perfectly around her long neck. I’ve danced next to her at the opulent Renaissance Ball, where she has lit up the tent, quietly dressed in a taffeta Ralph Lauren halter gown, with diamond studs.
Intuitively, I knew Heidi was the self-effacing type. She was surprised that I am such a fan of her style. I asked her if she would let me interview her to shed some light into the world of equestrian dressing. Graciously, she agreed.
When did you first start riding and did you take to it immediately?
“I first started riding when I was 11 years old in Virginia and I fell madly in love with it.”
Were you one of those obsessed teens who spent every spare hour at the stables riding and grooming horses? Did that inevitably lead to traveling to compete in shows?
“I spent every waking moment that I was not in school at the barn. In those days, I traveled mostly to fox hunts all around Virginia and Maryland. Competing avidly on the show circuit came later in life.”
Do you still compete? What do you most enjoy about it?
“I compete as much as I can, at least twice a month. I am very competitive by nature, and at any age, it’s nice to have an outlet for that.”
Are riding clothes strictly perfunctory or do you genuinely enjoy wearing them?
“I love wearing them but only when I am riding or running errands before or after. It helps that they are both functional and attractive.”
Is everything you wear for riding purchased from stores dedicated to equestrian clothing?
“Yes, I only shop at tack shops for my riding clothes. I mainly shop at (Beval Saddlery) in New Canaan or with local vendors at horse shows. (The shopping can be great.) My boots are by a custom boot company called Der Dau. They have great style and I absolutely treasure them.”
Every few years, equestrian styles make their way back into the trends. Two years ago, everyone was walking around with slim pants tucked into riding boots. Did we just look silly?
“It is a beautiful look, but few people who ride dress that way other than when they are riding.”
Well, that was tactful! We should all take heed. Are there pieces that you wear riding that cross over into your everyday wardrobe? And conversely, is there anything in your everyday wardrobe that could cross over into your riding wear?
“Probably just my belts. When I am not showing, athletic tops from Lululemon work great.”
Obviously I adore your equestrian style. How would you describe your taste?
“I believe less is more, and I prefer simple, beautifully cut clothing like Valentino and a terrific new up-and-coming young designer, Rubin Singer.”