Battle of the Breeches
Earlier this year I made a post on Facebook asking for opinions on breeches due to my ongoing battle to find a pair I actually love. I’ve decided to share my experiences with all of you (horrifying pants try on pictures and all). Most women of a certain age and above have one issue or another trying to find pants that fit well (of any type). Breeches are no exception and are a bit less forgiving than say…jeans. Here’s our thoughts on the many pairs we have bought, had given to us, worn, tried on at home, or returned.
My particular body challenges are the following (so keep that in mind when interpreting my feelings on each breech).
- I am short waisted.
- I am a pear shape. I carry most of my weight in my hips/thighs/butt. I have a very small waist in relation to my hip measurement (more than a 16″ difference).
- My legs do not taper nicely like a candle, but are more uniform in bulkiness to the knee (I have very strong legs).
- I have long legs with a longer heel to calf measurement than knee to hip.
We’ll start with “The Good”.
Romfh St. Tropez Full Seats – These were in a large order I made after feeling frustrated with my breech situation, and these were the only pair I kept. The rise comes up to just under my belly button (I’m very short waisted), but are not too high. The waistband sits comfortably and is actually noticeably smaller than the hips. This particular breech fits my pear shape fairly well and are great to ride in. They do still sag a bit after walking around for a few hours at the barn (because the material actually stretches out quite a lot), but they come up easily and don’t force me into an odd position in the saddle. All in all, these are great and my favorite pair of breeches I’ve encountered so far. I do not like the material however (it stains very easily and isn’t as flattering as some). I wish they came in some more interesting colors.
FITS Techtread Tights Full Seat – Also in my large order, I sent these back due to being too thin for the cooler temps I wanted to wear them in. No complaints about the breech. These fit like yoga pants, so they mold to your body like a glove and the rise just covers the belly button. They are a bit thin and don’t cover all sins, but they’re not bad at all. If I was looking for a warm weather breech, I would wear these. The material is nice and soft and they seem very well made.
Smoothstride Jeans Knee Patch – I won these in a sweepstakes and already wrote a longer review on them. If you want more info on them, you can see what I wrote before here. The rise comes to about 1″ under the belly button, but they have a higher back to fit a woman’s shape. I love the way these fit, but jeans are not my favorite to ride in. Just a preference. They are a great product though.
Next come “The Acceptable.” This mix of breeches fails in some way or another that keeps them off of my “must have” list. Though we do own several of these and wear them.
Smartpak Piper Full Seats – I love the style of the Pipers and I am going to have a terrible time not buying some of the new fun ones recently released. As much as I want to love these breeches, they just don’t fit me (despite the fact that they actually do look cute on). The rise comes up to about 1″ below my belly button, but this style actually is lower in the back on my curvy figure and the waistband gaps badly. A belt is required for these. On top of that, they tend to ride down badly because they’re so big on top, but tighter in the legs. They also were not the most comfortable to ride in. Our biggest issue with these ended up being quality of craftsmanship. We sent two pairs back for the same reason in just a couple months time. So with the fit issues (seem to be patterned to fit a slim/straight kind of body) and the quality issues, I just cannot buy them again.
Horze Crescendo Celine Full Seats – These were another breech coming in my large order, and I wanted to love these. The color was fantastic (and sadly a closeout). I had to order a size bigger than normal because they were out of my size. As you can see from the photo, they were too big. They were super comfortable and the fabric was very stretchy and forgiving. They were a fairly high rise for today’s styles – covering the belly button). I also loved the design and the way the back of the waist was higher than the front. My only real issue other than the size was the WWE style waistband that was just a tad too large (my husband made a comment at how silly I looked) and the extra bling (which I don’t really need on schooling breeches that I will wash regularly). I probably would have ordered another pair in a smaller size if they’d had any other colors but brown and blue. If they ever add back another pretty color (like these green ones or the red ones), I’ll likely buy a pair in the right size. I’ll let you know if I change my mind on them if that ever happens.
Irideon Cadence – I have owned several pair of these riding tights in various colors, patch styles and leg styles (sock vs. non sock vs. bootcut). I fall back to these regularly for summer riding as the fabric is fairly thin and dries quickly. The colors are not the most interesting and the lighter colors are not super forgiving because the fabric is quite thin. The fit of these of course are perfect as they fit like a glove. The rise comes up over the belly button and are one of the higher rise breeches I’ve tried. They’re quite comfy for both walking, working and riding, but their attractiveness is limited. Their durability is also questionable as the fabric gets caught on things and snags (which quickly turn into reasonably sized holes). I wish that the fabric was a bit more sturdy and that they came in some more interesting colors.
Irideon Synergy Knee Patch – This is another riding tight that I have worn for a while. Where the Cadence fail, these make up for it. Where these fail is where the Cadence wins. The Synergy comes in several much more interesting colors than the Cadence (yay!), have a very sporty look (a bit like gym wear), have large pockets, are attractive on, and don’t have the same fabric issues as the Cadence. The main body of the pants is a much stronger/more supportive fabric than the Cadence with only panels of the Cadence stretch cord fabric. I have never had an issue once with these getting snagged and getting a hole. Where these fail is fit. The rise is lower coming in just under the belly button. The waist also is more loose fitting than the Cadence, which causes the pants to meander down the legs over the course of the day (and these aren’t even full seats!). They are a bit tight at the knee as well, which helps let the pants work their way down. They’re acceptable to ride in, but not very comfortable for a day at the barn because I find myself constantly pulling them back up. Because they don’t have belt loops, this is even more a problem. If the waist was designed a bit differently, these tights would easily be on my “Good” list. The fit just isn’t quite right.
Good Rider Iconic Full Seat – These gorgeous breeches were given to me to review last spring and they really are stunning. They’re attractive on and I feel bad wearing them just to school. The rise is a bit low (mostly because the back is lower than the front) and they are a bit restrictive at the knee as well. Because of this, I have to wear a belt to keep these from riding down. They even tend to ride down enough to effect me in the saddle. The fabric is one of the most restrictive of any of the breeches tried on (not great for riding), but it seems to repel stains well and hold up to washing well. While high on style and quality, these lack a little bit in the comfort and fit department, but they’re wearable.
Tredstep Argenta Full Seat – I’ve got a love/hate relationship with these breeches. I have two pairs currently and recently ordered another. The new pair fit nothing like the first two (exact same size) and were even obviously different in that they had a different amount of buttons in the front. The newest pair didn’t fit at all and were very tight and restrictive at the knee (to the extent that I wanted to stop riding as soon as I started). The older pairs are comfortable, but not the most flattering. I do show in my white pair, but their unflattering cut around the waist isn’t very important while in the saddle and with a jacket on. They look like they would have plenty of rise in the back, but they actually tend to be a bit on the high side in the front and lower in the back. I’m not sure that these were cut exactly for my body type. The fabric on these is incredible though. The fabric is supportive yet non-restrictive (at least my older pairs), stain resistant (quite successful at this until they’ve been worn half to death like my grey schooling ones), and quite flattering (the white is a bit less flattering as it’s more see-through than you normally want and the pockets and doubled up fabric seaming areas are quite obvious). They come in very limited colors and aren’t that much to look at. They are comfortable for riding and wearing all day however (or the older ones I have are). I’m not sure if they’ve changed the style or I got a bogus pair, but the new ones were like trying on a totally different pair of breeches, so the style isn’t consistent.
And last…”The Ugly”
Ovation DX Celebrity Full Seats – These were a part of my large order and I considered keeping them briefly, but quickly changed my mind. These are incredibly unflattering on my body. They fit like “mom” jeans in that they’re very high in the front. These gap badly in the back and dip lower in the back and the rise covers the belly button. This style just does not work for my pear figure. There was too much restriction (like wearing spanks) in places I didn’t really want and the fabric wasn’t really flattering in the places I did want. They fit pretty normally in the knee area, so that wasn’t an issue. I am not sure these are bad breeches, I just didn’t think that the patterning was comfortable or flattering on my body type. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the fabric.
Goode Rider Low Rider Knee Patch – Of course I should have known better…but they were on sale for CHEAP so I had to buy them. I think the fabric is beautiful (and forgives all kinds of sins) and I really wanted to like these, but the fit isn’t right for riding. They are very restrictive in the knee (the fabric doesn’t have a ton of stretch). They’re actually pretty flattering on, just not comfortable. The rise on these is very low at more than 2″ below my belly button. Bending down in these guarantees plumber’s crack. I rode in these a handful of times (with a belt to keep them up) and didn’t find them very comfortable for either riding or walking around. Pity…they’re cute! I have tried to pass these along to a few friends with different body types, and everyone seems to think they’re restrictive in the knee except one person that has VERY thin legs.
Horsewear Sienna Full Seats – The last of the big order of breeches, these were pretty in photos and had lovely details, but the fit was odd. I read the reviews before ordering and ordered 2 sizes up like suggested, and they were still tight. They weren’t the most unattractive of the bunch, but they were the least comfortable. They fit similarly to the Ovations in that they’re “mom” jeans style with a high rise in front (covers the belly button), but with a gaping back of the waistband. These, like the Ovations were tight in all the wrong places, but even more restricting (as the fabric had even less give than the Ovations). The fabric did feel higher quality than the Ovations and hid more sins, but just wasn’t very comfortable. I don’t think that I could have ridden comfortably in these at all, but they of course never made it to the barn and went right back in the box to be sent back.
In summary, you can see that there’s really not any perfect breech in the bunch for me and I’m still looking. The Romfh St. Tropez are getting quite close. If I could get the Romfh St. Tropez cut in the Tredstep Argenta fabric in the Piper color combos, that have the elegance and high quality of the Goode Rider Iconic Breech…that would be the perfect breech. But maybe that’s too much to ask for…
The perfect breech search continues on for now. Good luck on your search if you’re looking and I hope this helps a little bit!