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We often have customers call with questions about breeches – how to choose a style, a cut, or a fabric; how to pick the right size; or what kind of breeches should be worn for a specific discipline. We’ve put together a guide to help answer those questions and give you a basic reference for the breeches that we carry.
Adult breeches with numbered sizes are sized according to waist size in inches (ladies' breeches generally range from 24 to 36). For ladies, the best place to start is to add the number 20 to your jeans size. For example, if you wear a size 8 in jeans, you would probably need a size 28 in breeches. It’s always helpful to measure your waist as well. Most breeches have Lycra or Spandex in the fabric content, and the stretchiness allows a little leeway in the size. Many styles are also available in regular and long lengths. The inseam of a pair of breeches with a long length is usually about 2 inches longer than a pair with a regular length inseam, and they are also generally an inch or so higher in the rise.
Ladies' breeches and schooling tights can also be sized as X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, and XL. Sizing varies by brand, but these would generally be the corresponding sizes: XS: 22, Small: 24-26, Medium: 28-30, Large: 32-34, XL: 36. These types of breeches are typically very stretchy which gives a lot of flexibility to the sizing. Many people find that they fit more than one size, in which case it is just a personal preference as to how snuggly you like your breeches to fit.
Children’s and men’s breeches are sized normally from 4 to 16 and 28 to 44, respectively. Some children’s breeches may be sizes Small to XL, with approximate corresponding sizes as follows: Small: 4-6, Medium: 8-10, Large: 12-14, XL: 16-18.
There are several types of seats and patches available in breeches, but most styles will be either knee patch or full seat. Some knee patch styles also have what is called a Euro Seat, which is a separately-stiched shaped seat of the same fabric as the rest of the breech along with knee patches. The Euro Seat is designed to be more supple and comfortable in the saddle. Each option may be available with either a Clarino-type material (most common) or a genuine leather (deer, goat, or calf skin) patch or seat. Clarino is a synthetic suede material that is durable and affordable, and can be laundered at home with minimal special care. Genuine leather provides more “grip” in the saddle and while it is more expensive it will generally be more durable and last longer than the synthetic alternative.
Knee Patch breeches not only help keep the rider in position by providing grip against the leather saddle, they also reinforce the major wear point (at the inside of the knee) which considerably extends the life of your breeches.
Full Seat breeches have leather or Clarino that extends from below the knee up the inside of the legs and covers the seat of the breeches. The full seat increases “grip” in the saddle and provides extra protection against wear and rubbing at all points of contact.
Traditionally, riding pants for ladies and children are available in either breeches or jodphurs (although ladies' jodphurs are not commonly worn in the U.S. and are very hard to find). Breeches are tapered all the way down the leg and come to the ankle, and are designed to be worn inside riding boots (tall field or dress boots for show, also commonly worn inside or outside of paddock boots with half chaps for schooling). Jodphurs are longer and straighter in the leg with a cuff at the bottom, and are designed to be worn on the outside of jodphur (or paddock) boots. They have an elastic strap that goes under the foot (on the outside of the boot) to hold them down. Jodphurs with garter straps are the appropriate show attire for children under age 13 (children wear breeches or jodphurs for schooling).
Breeches are available in a variety of styles - from the formal High Waist to the more modern Low Rise. In the US, High Waist breeches are usually only worn in competition (mainly upper level dressage), most often under a Shadbelly coat, and are reserved for formal occasions. Regular Waist breeches are the classic staple of a traditional riding wardrobe. They generally sit at your true waist. Low Rise breeches are available in a variety of modifications. Hipsters are an extreme low rise, sitting mid-hip, and are very popular with teen riders. Devon Aire X-Wear Hipsters are an example of our lowest fitting schooling tights. Most other low rise breeches sit about one to two inches below the navel. Kerrits makes front-low rise (Flow rise) styles, where the waist is low in the front (coming an inch or two below the navel) but higher in the back. This design helps keep shirts tucked in, and ensures full coverage in the back while in the saddle. The Kerrits Flow Rise Performance Tights are extremely popular schooling tights and are one of our best-selling items.
Pull-On Breeches and Schooling Tights are very popular options which are extremely comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and waist styles. They generally have an elasticized waistband, some with drawstrings, and some have belt loops and a faux fly to give them a show-ready look.
Front Zip and Side Zip breeches are the traditional styles for competition in any English discipline, due to their classic look and presence of belt loops (although pull-ons with a faux fly and belt loops are an appropriate stand-in).
A wide variety of fabric options are available, from the most common cotton fiber (which is usually blended with Lycra or Spandex) to high tech microfiber fabrics.
Cotton knit is popular because of its comfort and reasonable price. The cotton/lycra/spandex fabrics come in a number of weights. Many pull-on tights are a very light weight fabric, popular for being cool and breathable. They wash and wear easily but may fade or pill over time. Heavier weight cotton blends provide a bit more structure with more support than the lighter weight fabric, but do tend to get damp with perspiration. Tuffrider Cotton Pull-On Breeches and On Course Cotton Naturals are some of our popular cotton knit choices.
Woven cotton fabrics provide a more structured, less clingly appearance, won't pill, and are generally more durable than knit cotton. Trainer's Choice with cotton Schoeller Prestige fabric, and Ariat Fairfax Breeches are made of woven cotton.
Microfiber breeches are a little more pricey than the cotton blend alternative, but have more technologically advanced features and are more comfortable for riding in the heat and for winter riding. They are usually a blend of nylon or polyester (or both) with lycra/spandex. Kerrits Performance Tights and Microcords, Irideon Issentials and Cadence breeches, and Devon Aire All Pro Hipsters are some of our most popular polyester blend microfibers. A microfiber with a DriLex, CoolMax, or Tactel component or lining will help to wick moisture away from your skin. Trainer’s Choice breeches with CoolMax and the Kerrits Sit Tight Supreme are popular choices for moisture-wicking lining microfiber.
For riding in cold weather, breeches with a blend of Spandex and thermal fleece like Polartec will provide protection from the elements while keeping you warm, dry, and comfortable.
Dressage: According to the USEF rule book, for Training through Fourth Level, white or light-colored breeches or jodhpurs may be worn with tall boots or jodhpur boots. For all tests above Fourth Level, white or light colored breeches are required with black riding boots. Cream, light grey, and beige are the most popular colors. FEI regulations require white or off white breeches for international competition. Full Seat breeches are most commonly seen, but knee patches are allowed.
Eventing: For dressage and stadium jumping, white or light colored breeches may be worn (beige or tan is most popular). Any color breeches may be worn during cross country.
Hunters and Jumpers: For adults, earth tone breeches like beige, khaki, grey, or rust are appropriate. White is popular for upper level jumpers. For children, earth tone jodhpurs with jodhpur boots and garter straps are most appropriate.
Clinics: Although it’s not a formal event, it is always good to show your respect for the clinician by dressing conservatively. Light colored breeches with a polo shirt or other technical jersey are generally appropriate.
See these charts for comparisons of different styles:
Trainer's Choice Breeches Comparison
Or visit our Help Center for more Buyer's Guides and Frequently Asked Questions.