Monday, March 13, 2017

Bling It Like You Own It: Custom Sparkle Browbands

I have a thing for sparkle browbands. I have even had existential crises about having more browbands than bridles and which ones to use on more than one occasion. But instead of wallowing in sparkles and indecision, I'm going to put my in-depth knowledge of the browband world to work for you. I'm going to talk about browbands of many different styles and price points, and by the end of this post, your eyes might be seared out of their sockets by all the bling.
just a normal day
There are several price ranges for browbands--the affordable, $0-$65ish, the mid-range $80-$120ish, and then the high end love-it-or-leave-it $150+. I realize that my taste is not the same as everyone else's, but for their opinions, you'll need to read their blogs. Or they can comment below.

Dark Jewel Designs
i like options
First, let's talk affordable. There are lots of options in the >$100 price bracket. My hands-down, no-question, no-competitor favorite here is Dark Jewel Designs. Amelia runs the shop and is freaking amazing at what she does. I've reviewed her work before and in the times I've worked with her since, I've had equally excellent interactions. Per her etsy, a fully custom browband with two interchangeable bead strands will run you around $50 and if you have no taste (like me), she has albums full of finished work you can peruse and copy.
model shot
If you want something simple, changeable, or just want to dip your toe in the sparkle market, this is absolutely where to go. I've had my older browband from her for several years and it still looks fantastic. There are other people who knock off her designs, but they really aren't any cheaper and the service is terrible so I'm confused why that's a thing.
for every occasion!
There are other entrants in the >$100 crowd, but I have yet to be impressed with a single one. They mostly look cheap to me. Amelia hits the balance of affordable and classy, plus you get two great looks for one low price. I'll keep on sending people to her as long as she makes browbands. (And now stock pins and bracelets, I believe).

Browbands with Bling
pretty
If you want a little something more and can commit to a color, my favorite maker in the $85-120 price range is Browbands with Bling. Katharine runs the place in the way only a no-nonsense down-to-earth Jersey girl can. Actual quote: "You said [color] and I threw up in my mouth a little bit". She carries a range of pre-made designs and can customize on the spot.
so cool #puncentral
She's also been around for quite some time and is less likely to just fold it up and disappear like a more fly-by-night operator who comes and goes. I like the designs and the materials for her stuff and my overall impression is very positive.
fabulous
I got my browband from a booth she had at Rebecca Farm, but you can also custom order anything and she's great to work with. I did a custom order for my trainer around Christmas and had the product in my hand within days of finalizing the order. She offers straight, swoops, and v-style browbands. Mine is a V because it looked cool and I wanted it. My trainer loooooves this browband and tends to use it for all C's training rides, so it's gotten a lot of use and still looks fantastic.

Again, this is a wide price range and there are a lot of options out there, most notably the Equiture and PS of Sweden megabling look. I haven't had Equiture, have had PS and I'll say this: it's very flashy and pretty fun. I prefer a little more complexity to my sparkle looks rather than straight-up I'LL SHOW YOU BLING, but that's 100% a personal thing and ymmv.
the megabling look
Topline Leather
i have a problem
If you're committed to the bling life and want to hit the lux end of things, Topline Leather is where it's at ("lit AF" is the term, I think). A few old school bloggers out there might remember Meghann from when she was one of us, but now she's a supplier to the stars. Like. Legit. I think one of her browbands was at the Olympics? It's pretty awesome.
fancy!
Anyways. She carries nothing in stock and everything is full custom and if you come up with a new design, you get to name it. She also has incredible taste, which is perfect for people like me who never know what the hell we actually want. I gave her super vague guidelines for my first one ("i like sparkles") and she came up with my all-time-favorite browband, which is now called the Absolute Courage and yeah, Hawley Bennett has one for Jollybo. #sparklegameonpoint
#nailedit
The thing I love most about my Topline browbands is that I can ride in my dark indoor at night in the winter and they still catch every possible light and sparkle. LOVE. Need that. Meghann is gonna be annoyed if I don't put this in, so I'll say that she uses real swarovski stuff, not the easily-discolored and -less sparkly Czech crystals, plus everything is hand stitched. Her wait list is INSANE but oh so worth it.

Parting Thoughts

I've had a few other browbands from other makers here and there, but these are the ones I keep coming back to. Quality products. Solid service. Excellent value. Superb sparkle. I have placed more than one paid order with each of them and do not hesitate to recommend them to anyone who asks.

PS and yes, if you're wondering, my hardest choice every day is WHICH SPARKLES GO WITH THIS OUTFIT. So many sparkles. So little time.

21 comments:

  1. And here I thought the biggest challenge was finding enough bits so you can keep expanding your sparkle collection ;)

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    Replies
    1. Right? No good to have the perfect browband+bridle with no bit.

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  2. so many sparklesssss!!!! i am also easily paralyzed by the 'omg which shiny things to use today????' haha. i <3 my DJD stuff :D

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    Replies
    1. Right? Usually by the time I've settled on sparkles plus matching leg wear and pad, then I realize my shirt doesn't match. #struggleisreal

      Delete
  3. Love this post, I'm all about the sparkles. I'm obsessed with my Equiture browband, which looks pretty much like a PS of Sweden browband, minus the click change system for much, much cheaper!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are also knock offs of Equiture for even cheaper, but they're not well reviewed for durability. Those snaps tho--omg. I have one of the DJD models with them and for monocrown bridles, you really can't beat it. Easy on, easy off, no reason to unbuckle every strap on the bridle.

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  4. If i ever end up with extra money burning a hole in my pocket (ha!) it will go towards something from Topline. So GORGEOUS!

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  5. I finally get a black bridle I like and now you tempt me with sparkles....

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    Replies
    1. Black bridles are so boring without sparkles.

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  6. i reaaaaally want a topline leather browband. covet.

    side note browbands with bling also does AMAZING SPURS. I almost bought a pair at great meadow and i was like "no, megan, your horse doesn't even LIKE spurs..."

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  7. I am eagerly awaiting the day I have a pony again to outfit iwth ALL THE SPARKLIES.

    (IN the mean time, I've settled for ordering Jack the malamutt another blingy collar from Sexy Beast.)

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    Replies
    1. Oh yeah. My poor dogs would have so much swag if it weren't for the horse.

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  8. I want ALL OF THEM.
    I don't even have my own riding horse.
    I have a problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't let that stop me. Live the bling tack life.

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    2. It sounds two problems--bling first, then horse.

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