Wooo boy, everyone’s favorite thing! Well ok, it’s a love/hate relationship really, isn’t it? Breeches are fun and we love collecting them in all the colors, but also finding just the right fabric, fit, and features for you can be… annoying AF. Like how many pairs of breeches do you own that are aaallllmost perfect, but not quite? I don’t think I have yet to even find exactly the PERFECT pair. Especially because most people’s bodies and weight fluctuate, which affects fit, plus if you’re anything like me you go through phases of what you like to wear, PLUS the changing seasons… I’m not sure the ONE perfect pair of breeches exists. Not to mention the fact that we all have different preferences, shapes, sizes, climates, etc. Luckily there are A LOT of options on the market, and it’s more and more possible to find something to suit just about anyone and any scenario. The bad part is, there are A LOT of options on the market. It can be overwhelming.
I’ve always got an eye out for ones that I might like to try, so I figured… let’s go through my current collection and talk about them, what I like and don’t like, and then do the impossible task of trying to pick a favorite. It’s a Battle Royale, we gotta be ruthless like that. I’m not touching the tights for this one, I don’t feel like that’s quite an apples to apples comparison for me, so, this is just the breeches and just the ones that are in my schooling collection, not the show breeches. I have some that are definitely not your typical Ariat, Dover, TS, Smartpak, Romfh, or whatever else is popular these days so maybe there are some hidden gems in here for someone. I’ve talked about some of them before, but not all of them, and my opinion has probably morphed a bit based on others, so… let’s just do a reboot.
These are a newer addition to the fleet, my “splurge” item from Kentucky. I had zero intention of buying this and felt a lot of guilt about it for a couple days afterward, but that all evaporated pretty quickly once I rode in them a couple times. These are just… chef’s kiss. The fabric is stretchy and comfortable, thin enough to not be too hot, but also not so thin that they show every ass dimple. The green color is PERFECT (almost no one gets green right, I swear) and I quite like the silver glitter trim. Every single time I post pics with these someone asks me what they are. I love them. The downside is that they’re expensive… regular retail is $290, but creative googling can find them for less sometimes. I have to say though, I think they’re worth it. I love them. They’re European sizing, so add 10 to your normal US size (I’m a 28 US/38 Euro).
I have two pairs of these and really like them. They’re definitely an Equiline dupe, but honestly I like them more. The fabric is way better and I think the fit is more suitable for a fuller-figured (read: has thigh meat) person. The price point is also significantly better at $130 USD regular price. The bad news is that you can only buy these from Epplejeck, which is in the Netherlands. The good news is, they have sales ALL THE TIME and their shipping is reasonable. I have two complaints about these: 1) I wish they came in knee patch. Luckily the full seat is not very grippy so I’m fine with it, but I still prefer knee patch in general. 2) I wish they came in more/better colors without the contrasting trim. It makes it hard for my brain to put acceptable outfits together with the rose gold trim on my navy and burgundy ones. They do say that these run small – I wear a 40. For how much they cost, they’re really nice pants.
Despite the fact that I got an Espoir show coat last fall at Maryland (I’m seeing a trend with 5*’s causing me to buy shit) these breeches really weren’t on my radar at all until recently. I know the US distributor for the brand, and when Hillary and I were getting ready to do our white breeches vlog for Patreon she offered to send us a pair of the whites to borrow for that. When I got them out of the package I thought I would hate them, so imagine my extreme surprise when they turned out to be my favorite (and a favorite of the group of us involved in the try-ons in general). They’re just… so neat. The stock photos do them no justice whatsoever. The design and cut is nothing I’ve seen on another breech, it makes them extremely flattering and comfortable. The fabric is stretchy but still has structure to it. I LOVE the glitter piping details and the cell phone pocket on the side. My only complaint is that I think the waistband could be a touch wider. Still though, I liked the whites enough to get these in navy and black and I wear them A LOT. I do find the sizing to be a little off on the site though… these are Italian sizing, and in my experience a US 28 is an I-42 or I-44 depending on the brand. They say that their I-40 is a US 28, but… that’s not how they fit for me. I got my normal Italian size of I-42 and they’re perfect.
These could technically probably go in the leggings category too, but they do have a zipper and buttons so they call them a breech. I think of them as a bit of a hybrid – they have the styling and features of breeches but the fabric (and pockets) of tights. There’s a lot I like about these. They’re lightweight, super stretchy fabric, comfortable to wear, the mesh sock bottom is super breathable, I love having a cell phone pocket on each side, and they’re flattering. For true summer weather the fabric is hard to beat. There are a couple things I don’t like, though. Mainly having to do with the waist. I feel like they come up too high in the front, like they should be cut lower there. Once you’re sitting in the saddle the front rides up, and to me where it sits is annoying and makes an unflattering silhouette in the front. The waist also has a thin band of a elastic inside of it to help keep them up and I find that to be a little annoying too. These are still probably my favorite legging type breech that I’ve come across though, and at $90 the price is right. I have a Medium in these, but could probably size down to a Small… maybe that would help my annoyance with the rise (but not the annoyance with the elastic).
I’ve talked about these before, and they’re still a staple in my collection. I don’t wear them as much as some of the others, but I do like them. The rise is a little higher than I prefer but the fabric and fit are good and they’re light enough for summer. To their credit, they’re holding up to my abuse well. I still don’t like the ridiculously long pockets but for a lower budget breech these are pretty solid. I think they have discontinued these, which Horze loves to do with literally anything I like, and yes I’m salty about it. As with most breeches in these brand, they run big – I wear a 26.
I just bought these off someone secondhand last week, but I’ve worn them a couple times so I wanted to at least include them since they’re so cheap. For the price, they’re pretty decent. The fabric is lightweight (is it the most flattering? No.) and they’re cut for people that have some curve to them, especially larger hips/thighs. They do run small IMO, unless the ones I got were shrunken somehow… the size 30 fits me pretty well, I think a 28 would be like sausage casing. They do stretch out when you wear them though, so there’s that. Are they in the same realm as my Harcour or Espoir? No. Do they wash as nicely as my others? No. Are they totally acceptable for a budget breech? I think so, yeah. Not bad, HKM. They won’t be a favorite but I’m not mad about them.
If you want stretchy, these are your jam. I like the fabric, although I wish it did have just a taaaad more structure. To be fair, the ones I have are a size too big now, so that’s probably not helping my feelings. I also think, like the Horze, that the rise is a little higher than I prefer, but they are advertised as high rise and I have learned I prefer a mid. They’re nice breeches, and in the solid middle of the road price range. They come in lots of colors too, which is always a plus. IMO they do run a bit long, for whatever that’s worth. I’ve liked them enough to keep them (which is saying a lot in and of itself because I’m annoyingly picky) but again they aren’t my go-to. If they were a size smaller and a mid-rise this might be a different conversation.
Gah this is hard. It’s taken me days of back and forth bickering with myself.
In the end, it’s the pocket that gave the Espoirs that final nudge. I have become absolutely addicted to having that cell phone pocket when I’m riding, and it’s why I wear my Espoir breeches the most. The Harcour are an extremely close (like… by a HAIR) second. I think I like the fabric of the Harcour more (and the color… oh man the color is divine) but the styling and design of the Espoir is really genius. Naturally they’re both the most expensive members of my collection, because my ass has champagne taste. We’ve known this for a while.