We’re obsessed with Alli Addison. That sense of style, those gorgeous photos...not to mention that she’s a total badass girl boss. And her takeover of our Instagram made one thing very clear—you feel the same way about the lifelong equestrian too. Questions for the entrepreneur, design genius, and mother of two came rolling in, at the rate that we couldn’t keep up. So we tapped Addison to answer your most burning questions. We promise you’ll fall even more in love with her.
What do you love about Free x Rein?
I look for two things when it comes to my equestrian wear—comfort and the ability for it to really transcend. I want garments that function just as beautifully at the barn as they do in the office, and Free x Rein does just that! I want the most out of my style investments, and the classic aesthetic of my Free x Rein bodysuits and breeches never let me down.
How do you balance mom life with your personal passions?
Honestly I wake up everyday feeling like I’m putting on a good show, but deep down inside I feel like I’m struggling. Women can multitask like nobody’s business, and moms take it to the next level. For me it comes down to time. Do I believe that you can be a career mother and an equestrian all at the same time? YES! How? PRIORITIES. So I begin by committing myself, signing up for lessons four days a week. I choose to ride early in the morning after I complete kid drop off. I ride, efficiently tidy up and head out to complete the rest of my work day. Does it always go smoothly or happen as planned? No. So when I committed to continuing my riding after having kids, I set priorities for myself. My number one priority is my children and my husband, followed by work. So if something arises for those things, they will always take precedence. I’ve learned to become flexible as a mother and to roll with the punches.
What do you do for a living?
My husband and I own several businesses: a design and construction company, a marketing consulting company, and an equipment rental company. I’m also in the process of turning @miltonmenasco into a standalone brand. The days are long, the nights are longer, and self-employment is not for the faint of heart. My husband started his company as a teenager. I began my first solo project at the tender age of 19. And we haven't looked back since.
What sunglasses and hat were you wearing at the horse show?
The sunglasses are insanely fabulous—from Saint Laurent. The hat is not as fabulous—it’s a gardening hat I picked up at our local hardware store for $6.99 right before the horse show because my mare attempted to eat my last hat right off my head. For the previous hat, it was a fatal experience.
What do you compete in?
I ride an incredible (yet grumpy) gelding who belongs to my insanely incredible trainer, Amanda Garcia out of San Luis Obispo. I joke that we are slaying the 1.0 m game. Sometimes, if we are well-behaved, we get to jump up a bit.
What is your favorite Free x Rein piece?
That’s like asking who my favorite child is. I will say I’ve been reaching for my Elite Equestrian Bodysuit a LOT lately. Probably because I’ve been attending a lot of business meetings, and I feel super professional in it.
What are some of your horse show necessities?
Sunscreen. Hat. Sunglasses. Chapstick. Gum (I chew gum and then spit it out as soon as I hit the warm-up ring). Extra bobby-pins, hair ties, and hair nets. One extra pair of tan breeches, just in case. Tampons, again, just in case. A phone charger. Tide Bleach Pen. And a small thing of perfume. Because heaven forbid I have a crap round AND smell bad.
Do the bodysuit closures get in the way of female living?
Not at all. This is a very sensitive subject for me—literally. I’ve had two kids, and I’ve become extremely scrutinizing over fit, function and comfort when it comes to that area. With the clever placement of the snap closures (which sit more towards the zipper of your pants), you can ride all day long and not feel a thing. And the built in thong is bananas. No pinching, no pulling, no sagging, no panty lines, no loss of shape. If I had one request for Free x Rein, it would be that they get into the thong-making business.
Who is Milton Menasco?
Will the real Milton Menasco please stand up? Actually, Milton Menasco was my great uncle. He was a famous equine portraiture artist originally from California that spent his career in Kentucky creating some of the most beautiful and exacting representations of the horse I have ever seen. I'm a complete horse art nerd, and formed an obsession for his pieces as a young child. Likely out of bias. But still, I love my great uncles work and adopted his name for my handle several years ago.
How would you describe your personal and equestrian style?
First off, you will only see me wear a carefully-curated selection of colors: black, white, neutrals, and animal prints. Then layered on top of those colors, I love embellished details such as lace, sequins, feathers, studs, etc. I’m classic and edgy all at the same time. I have piercings, my nails are always funky, I wear lot of black and love mixing feminine pieces with sporty high-top leather converse. And I have amassed quite the sunglasses collection. I have a serious penchant for vintage items as well. On one trip my husband bought me these AMAZING vintage Dior sunglasses from the late 70’s with an embellished/sequin turban to match. I was in hog heaven. My absolute guilty pleasure is shopping The Real Real. I can get digitally lost for hours there. My equestrian style is a but more subdued. I will only wear a black or grey coat. And I will only wear black, tan, grey or white breeches. In fact, everything is very much color coordinated. But I always have my myriad of earrings in, might even throw on a bold red lip, and I change my sunglasses in the showing daily. When I jump off my horse, I typically change into a different pair of boots. I will even sometimes where some mid-heeled, tall shaft cowgirl boots with my breeches (remember, I am a cowgirl at heart).
What is your ultimate goal as an equestrian?
I want to ride for the rest of my life. My mom just returned this week from a ladies horseback riding trip (about 30 gals all haul their own horses onto a ranch and camp out/trail ride for 5 days). She took with her a dear family friend who is now 86 years old and still riding. Her name is Eleanor. And I want to grow up to be Eleanor, still riding around in my late 80s, looking incredibly chic and being a total badass horse babe.