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How Many Breeches Are Enough?

So many of us riders enjoy a color-coordinating outfit based off our horse. Perhaps, we ascribe to color psychology and want a pair of breeches in every emotion we want to channel. Some of us encounter lifestyle changes that change our bodies’ shapes and sizes often, so buying multiple sizes is a must. If you crossover disciplines, maybe you want different cuts and seat styes.

All these situations are personal and different. Thus, there is no cemented formula or answer to deduce, but I’m still willing to try.

At this time in my life, I only ride once a week. I currently own 4 breeches, all bought secondhand:

  • Pikeur Ciara Knee Patch in Tan
  • SmartPak Hadley Knee Patch in Tan
  • Mastermind Full Seat in Tan
  • Spooks Fiona Full Seat in Blush

The pink Spooks ones were definitely an impulse buy, as well as what I’ve come to call a connection buy.

So stinking cute!

con·​nec·​tion buy | \ kə-ˈnek-shən bī n. A purchase made in a vain attempt to emotionally connect to an otherwise unattainable experience.

I bought them in the throws of horse withdrawal and pining for my connection back to the horse world. I saw them on Poshmark and have already listed them again. Cute as they are, they’re too low for my preference and probably a size too small for my hips.

Among the three others, I love my Pikeur and Mastermind breeches. I realized after riding in them that I don’t necessarily want to ride in my SmartPak ones. No shade to SmartPak, but the cuts of my Ciara and Mastermind work so nicely with my body. For what I do now, owning two excellent breeches is probably perfect, especially one suited for flatwork and the other for jumping.

Along with being an amateur lesson rider, I do laundry frequently. Working from home allows me to do laundry whenever I want, which I recognize is not the case for a lot of people. Another factor in laundry is the size of my family. A husband and a cat don’t translate to the same amount of laundry that someone with children would have, although the cat does his best to offer vomit-covered blankets.

All these factors lessen the number of breeches I need. Unless I started riding at least two more times a week, I don’t think I would need to revisit how many I have.

How Many Breeches Do You Need?

Below is a 100% scientific, peer-reviewed formula for determining how many breeches you need. Disclaimer, this is not a rule. If you have the means and the motivation, get the breeches you like. If you’re interested in frugality and sustainability, consider buying your breeches secondhand and try repairing breeches before you replace them. There’s nothing like sewing your buttons back on or patching a hole that gives you a new sense of pride and ownership.

R – L + S + P = Ideal Number of Breeches

R = Number of times you ride a week

L = Number of times you do laundry a week

S = 1 if you show regularly

P = 1 if you are a professional rider/trainer

The number shouldn’t be less than 1, of course, but an overzealous laundry maven could break the formula.

How Many Breeches Is Too Many?

The other side of this question’s spectrum is a touchy one: when do we have too many breeches?

This answer will change based on preference, but I’ll point out that when quantity increases, use decreases. This principle is why I included showing and professional variables in the formula. For someone who shows, keeping a pristine pair may be important. For a trainer, you may be riding every day, which drastically increases the rate at which clothing will break down. Thus, these two situations need a higher quantity to prolong the use of their breeches.

Keeping this principle in mind, we can go into our closets and evaluate our hordes collections. Do we have some breeches that we just don’t reach for? Whether that’s from them not being a great fit to just not being comfortable, I’m sure we all have that one pair of breeches that make us consider raiding the laundry basket for the pair we wore last.

When we find the pieces we never want to wear, I think we answer the question of how many is too many.

How to Handle Excess

Once you’ve figured out you have more than you want, I would encourage us to flip our mental scripts that may default to “I have to get rid of this”. Instead, I try to think “It’s my responsibility to rehome this”, provided the garment is in good condition and can be worn by someone else.

Selling

There are so many outlets to sell clothing, especially equestrian clothing! Online places like Poshmark, Mercari, eBay and TackTackRoom allow you to sell from the comfort of your own home. If your item is unused, high-budget or you don’t want the burden of selling, consider consigning it with The Tried Equestrian or local tack shops.

Donating

Got a schooling pair with a lot of life in them? Consider donating your pieces to programs like the ones below:

  • Local therapeutic riding programs
  • Horse rescue groups
  • Interscholastic Equestrian Association chapter
  • Other riders within your barn
  • Local theater programs

When it comes to sustainability, waste should be our last resort. A change in behavior is also extremely important for stopping the cycle of purchases that aren’t used enough to justify the money we invest in them. The most important thing to remember is this: As an individual, do not put the weight of saving the world on your shoulders. It simply cannot be done. Personal sustainability decisions should prioritize your sense of responsibility and provide peace. Contributing to the secondhand shopping community is one of the most powerful things we can do as individuals!

How many breeches do you have? What number do you think crosses the threshold of enough and too many?

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