Monday, February 25, 2008

Breeches as an object of torture

One of my favorite bloggers recently offered some commentary on consumer product design failures -- check out her article "My co-worker farted." She describes household items with unexpected and damning "side effects." Sure, in retrospect the ideas were goofy, but I could at least imagine why someone in corporate America, desperate for a new angle on a mundane consumer product, might test the waters with something like an "ultra-strong" version of Charmin.

Breech by M. de Sade?
But I ask you, can you imagine anyone, anywhere, rider or not, thinking all leather riding breeches are a good idea? Had no one seen the "leather pants" episode of Friends? Forget breathability! Forget thermal conductivity! Forget chafing and UTIs! They're engaging in a sport, but let's encase their lower body in leather. I noticed these breeches are on sale. Shocker.

And the hot new breech concept, F.I.T.S. breeches? I know some people love them. They have perforated deerskin patches (for breathability) and "double surface Performaxtm fabric that camouflages figure challenges." Sounded great, and I admit I fantasized about finding a discounted pair (they're normally $200 plus). But when I actually found them at a tack shop, I knew the the "advanced fabric technology" by its former name. It's a girdle -- what my grandmother used to call a "standing girdle." The fabric has the super-structure of a support garment. The sales clerk assured me that I would love them, so I tried a pair on. Getting them on was fairly easy. Removing them was another matter. The process didn't so much resemble undressing as it did molting. And it took about as long.

For manufacturers of breeches, I offer a few suggestions...

  • Use fabric that is neither so light that it displays my cellulite in high definition, nor so stiff that I cannot articulate my lower limbs.
  • I don't want a waistband that falls just below my armpits, nor will I succomb to the low-rise trend--they're just as unflattering as their predecessor, the hip-hugger.
  • Alternatives to pricey leather patches on the breeches are fine. But marketing a product as "Griptek™ synthetic leather fullseat" does not mask the fact that it's RUBBER. Your slogan "Don't freak at the squeak" is not reassuring.
  • When I was a chubby pre-teen, I actually had nightmares of going to school, removing my coat, and discovering that my lower body was clad only in tights. Breeches and hose are the only two pieces of apparel that I can put on and conclude that I look better naked. I choose light-absorbing colors like black, charcoal, and navy. If you must make a plaid, paisely,or leopard patterned breech, sell them in small and extra small only, as a service to mankind.

BTW. My favorite breech company is Tropical Rider. I love their products and the customer service is fantastic. Great company!!! There is also a great article on breeches at

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