Some people collect saddle pads... some people collect bits... I love breeches. I think I'm now down to about 25 pairs. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those girls that just amasses clothes, I actually wear my breeches until they have holes in inappropriate places and I do actually wear all of them!
Here's the thing about breeches. Just like jeans they all fit differently and will look different on different people. Plus, people like their breeches to fit a certain way. So I'm glad you're going and trying on several pairs. Just because I like something doesn't mean you will.
For something that looks good enough to show in and durable enough to hack in... I would probably most recommend Cotton Naturals by OnCourse. They are a very thick durable cotton, you can get side zips with slash pockets in conservative show colors (beige, greenish beige, etc). They are excellent quality, hold up for lots of riding/washing, and look great. They fit a lot of people well but I think the calves tend to be baggy. I think I have small calves though because I have this problem with a few pairs. They're also pretty wallet friendly. Maybe around $70ish?
If you're wanting to spend some more ($99) I'd check out Ariat Sport Strides. I have a few pairs that I even wear on the A circuit. They fit me perfectly (although I don't like the low rise, I think they tend to be a little too low), come in a side zip, in nice colors. I have a pair I've probably worn to about 10 different shows and they're in perfect shape. They do tend to shrink though, even if you don't dry them.
If you have a little more to spend I'd try the Tailored Sportsman TS's. They're machine washable (unlike their other pairs). I know very few people who look good in both TSs and Ariats. Most people fit one or the other. So if the ariats look funny on you, check out the TS.
My absolute favorite breeches to hack in the summer are TuffRider Aerocools. They are so breathable that I can't wear them when it's too cold outside. The cold air goes right through them! They are extremely durable (the oldest pair of breeches I own are 3 y/o aerocools), don't stain, and look great. Tend to run small. You can find them on Ebay new for $50. I wouldn't show in them though.
My favorite breeches for day to day riding in regular weather are also by TuffRider. They're ribbed, have a flex-patch, front zip, in a nice charcoal grey. I think I got them for $60. So far have lasted a year, which is a lot for my breeches. Very flattering, I always get compliments when I wear these. :) They are NOT to be confused with the ribbed pull ons. I have a pair of these and hate them. They're cheap, they're huge in the calves, way too long, fit funny in the waist, and just not flattering. I wear them a lot because I'm trying to wear them out so I can throw them away. They're stained where the saddle has touched them, I hate them.
I could go on and on, but I'll stop here. ;) If you have any more specific questions, let me know! Breeches are my thing.
Last edited by upnover; 07-02-2009 at 04:53 PM.