Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Piper Knee Patch Breeches by SmartPak Review


My natural waist is 35", my hips are 42" and my thighs are 27" at the widest point. I am curvy with serious junk in my trunk and I wear stretchy size 14 jeans that are just a little loose on me (enough that I have to wear a belt if I don't want to pull them up all day). But 12s are uncomfortably tight.

I have never tried on TS breeches so I can't comment on them. I have only touched them. To me they are between FITS and Piper in softness.

I started out in Tough Rider pull-ons, switched to Kerrits tights in all varieties of knee patch (classic, flow-rise, micro cord, channel cord) and landed for a few years on FITS. Started in pull-on deerskin full seats and switched to FITS Bekas and Kates knee patch when I stopped riding dressage.

I'm currently between sizes in FITS and wanted to branch out. And who can resist the stylish cuteness of SmartPak's Pipers? Not this fashionista!
Charcoal/Lt Grey Pipers,
Ariat shirt and vest


My first pair was a size 34 in the Merlot. They are super soft to the touch. I had no idea my FITS were scratchy (people's reviews used that word) because they were all I knew.

I pulled them on, and I do mean pull because they are very stretchy, and very fitted. They fit my big butt and taper to my waist in the back quite well - yay for not gaping. At first they were tight on my thighs but after 5 mins they fit very comfortably and after washing, non-issue. I do have to do the wiggle dance to pull the crotch into place - and that is every time I pull them up (including potty breaks).

Like most Piper wearers, I do have to wear a belt or they will shimmy down after a dozen steps. I don't mind too much because it gives me a reason to add to my belt collection, haha. I found for me, that 2" belts work best (TS makes 2" and the curved ones are my fav) but 1.5" will get the job done.

They did pill at the inner thighs and calves after wearing - but a lot of my pants do so I didn't think that was an anomaly. And not surprising given the softness of the fabric. I just used a fabric shaver and I only had to do it once - so totally not a big deal to me.

Charcoal/Lt Grey Pipers,
Ariat shirt, Dimacci Belt
I find them to very repellent and even when I get dust on them from grooming/blankets, it brushes right off. With my FITS, the dirt would kinda brush off, but over time, you could see the dirt was living between the threads and eventually the dark colors were fading. So far, the Pipers are going strong and wash like iron. I wash with my regular clothes with regular detergent (no scent/dye) and hang dry.

The zipper does like to inch down so I'd like to see them have a 'locking' zipper like jeans have. They do have a lot of stretch which I like in a breech. I like breeches fitted, probably comes from starting in tights.

The first pair in 34s and fit just fine but I felt there was a little bagginess in the knees and could probably go down a size. So then I got some other colors in 32s. These were a little sausage-y to start on the backs of my thighs, but after 5mins, look like a million bucks - and after a few wears, a non-issue. So I'm happy with the 32s. I would feel better losing a few muffin top inches in the 32s, especially because it's accented by a belt which also made me start tucking in shirts. But either way, SO flattering on my butt. :)

I used to carry my iPhone4 sideways in front pocket of my Bekas and could ride like that, but the front pockets of the Pipers go lengthwise and while long enough, but not something you can bend nicely wearing. Eventually, I discovered my iPhone fits in the back pocket fabulously AND I can ride with it there too - but probably only cuz my butt is so wide the phone part totally clears the saddle, haha.

Charcoal/Lt Grey Pipers-side view
I like the Pipers so much that I sold all but one of my XL FITS (I had them all in both XL and L sizes) and replaced them with Pipers. I may sell my Large FITS eventually, but will wait until I fit them to make that call.

We'll see how the Pipers do in the summer heat. I could ride my FITS all year and stay cool. I do still wear Kerrits Sit Tight & Warms in the coldest of winter. It's been almost 70 this past week and I can feel the Pipers sticking to the backs of my legs when I dismount. I'll have to throw on my FITS this week and see if it's the same. If not, I'll reserve some FITS for the hottest days.

I can totally see how Pipers would not fit every body type well because they do work for my curves - so I believe it when people review them and have weird fit issues. And if I actually lose weight this year and lose some junk in my trunk, I might end having to look something else. But they definitely have their place in the market.

I got nearly all my Pipers for around $60 due to sales. So I feel good about the pricing.

The seven pairs I own are below with color terminology that makes sense to me. The last pair on the right are my FITS Kates. I put this lineup together so I could have a handy reference to make sure I had or acquire coordinating tops :)

My Pipers


  1. Good review! I might need to try these... I'm always looking for good breeches.

  2. So glad you reviewed these! I've been thinking of buying a pair, but wasn't sure how they'd fit. (I have measurements similar to yours.)

  3. I keep wanting to like these, and they're just not my style. I may try the plus ones though, because the cut is slightly different.

  4. I don't LOVE these breeches but I don't hate them either.. I am always pulling them up but i LOVE the wide waste band!

  5. I'm still on the fence about these. I guess I think they're good for the money, but I'm not sure I'd buy them again.

    Oh, and definitely don't clip in them. Three washes later, they're still itchy.

  6. Good to know! I really like the merlot colour.