One my favorite birthday gifts this year came from M2 in the form of a totally awesome (and unique) boot bag.
It comes from Oughton Limited, a company that makes all sorts of bags and totes with a decidedly equestrian vibe. The line is full of canvas, leather, halter hardware and rugby stripes. Understated with a splash of color... which could describe my motive for how I buy clothes, furniture, wine or just about anything else in my life (aside from horses).
The Boot Bag is the piece that's the most dedicated to an equestrian purpose in the entire collection. There is a Rolling Tack Trunk that looks lovely, but I cannot imagine stuffing it full of dirty polos or sweaty saddle pads. The rest of the collection seems to be made up of items that would be just at home away from the horse scene as they would slung over your shoulder ringside.
The Oughton philosophy is summed up succinctly on the tag that came attached to the bag.. Just reading it made me think that whoever started this collection is someone after my own heart.
"Like the ringmaster, an icon of elite equestrian events, beautiful luggage annoucnes one's arrivals and departures with style and ceremony. Made of waxed canvas and trimmed iwth halter fittings or a girth motif, they evoke a sensibility of long lasting utility and timeless equestrian traditions. An heirloom for the next generation, who will wear the patina of your travels with pride. Whether around the ring or around the world, a great trip starts with the right bag."
The boot bag though, is lovely. It is predominately waxed leather, with leather accents that make the bags look a bit like boots themselves (punched leather toe, harness straps across the calf, etc). Inside they are lined with removable nylon "socks" which can be washed, or used to pack boots in a larger suitcase. The socks are a brilliant burnt orange (think Hermes) and fill the role of an unexpected lining in a handbag or inside a coat which can often be the tipping point that takes a piece from average to interesting.
The strap that connects the two "boots" is a leather backed canvas strap that clips on with halter snaps. The nylon on mine is slightly different, having a orange/tan/brown rugby stripe that in my mind is more interesting than the narrower plain orange shown on the website.
The new bag encouraged me to get the Da Vinci's polished back up to a show shine. I repeated my hair dryer process and managed to get a bit more of a patent shine put down. I think a few more repetitions of that (arduous) routine and my boots will be holding a really nice polish...
In terms of sizing, my extra-extra tall boots max out the height on the Boot Bag, which makes me confident they'd fit most boots, and there's plenty of room in the footbed area for a larger foot size than mine (I'm a 9). Since I was sidelined for the last show, they have yet to make their big debut in terms of being used and abused at an event, but so far they look lovely leaned up against my sofa in my den. However the substantial hardware and fabrics make me thing this will be a bag to last the ages.
Another thing that I really enjoy is the "lifestyle" aspect of the Oughton website. They have a pretty fabulous blog that draws on all things Equestrian Style, it can definitely eat up a lunch hour pretty quickly.
The price point is decidedly higher than basic totes and bags, but for a special piece, or as a gift for the DQ/Hunter Princess/Anyone who has everything, what a fabulous find and what a cool company!