BY ANNIE BIRMINGHAM
When Lela Reynolds mounted up for a dressage lesson with trainer Kimberly Monk in 2017 in a pair of Lululemon leggings, she had no idea that her outfit choice would inspire her own equestrian athleisure brand.
“I’ve been a lifelong hater of breeches, so I was going against the grain,” says Reynolds, who would go on to create Cavaliere Couture. “My yoga tights had a cell phone pocket, and the phone was sticking out of the top. Kim was watching me ride, and I heard her yell, ‘Are those riding tights?’ I said, ‘Nope, they are Lulus.’ She responded with, ‘Darn it!’ After I got off the horse, I was like, ‘darn it’ is right.”
Reynolds, who had just sold her first company, was itching to find a new creative outlet. After about a year of researching distribution options for her unique design idea, Cavaliere Couture was launched in 2018 with their flagship product—riding tights inspired by athletic wear for equestrian athletes.
Says Reynolds, “The mission of Cavaliere Couture is to create truly comfortable equestrian wear. Equestrian wear made for athletes, because that is what we are. Athletic wear is comfortable—not stiff and tough to move around in. As a spin instructor and fitness enthusiast, creating ‘barn to gym’ equestrian wear was at the forefront of my mind.”
Cavaliere Couture’s riding tights have the feel of yoga tights, but feature silicone grips for the saddle, and side pockets deep enough for even the largest of cellphones. The material is not only moisture-wicking, but also sweat resistant, stretchy, and comfortable.
As the founder of an equestrian athletic brand, Reynolds also notes the significance of promoting body positivity in an industry that often glorifies thin bodies, noting how difficult it can be to find clothing that both fits properly and makes you feel good. Cavaliere Couture is size-inclusive throughout their product lines of riding tights and other apparel, offering sizing from 0 to 22. The riding tights are high-waisted to provide provide “contouring without suffocation,” notes Reynolds, to allow riders to feel comfortable and confident both in the saddle and on the ground.
In addition to their signature riding tights, Cavaliere Couture has expanded to offer casual wear, such as tees and tops, as well as home goods and jewelry and a line of saddle pads coming soon.
To find out more information or to shop, visit cavalierecouture.com
Photos © Brandy Phillips Photography
*This story was originally published in the September 2021 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!