I Cannot Find Large Chaps That Fit. Why?

Chaps in themselves seem like a relatively simple piece of leather apparel.  However more times that not people come to me stating that the chaps they have are too big, too small, too wide, too short, they drag on the ground and overall are uncomfortable.  This is not narrowed down to people who are large, very thin people have the same problem.  Let’s take at look at “why” it’s hard for a large person to find comfortable chaps.

We are not Barbie’s or Ken dolls especially if we are over, say, 40.  Suddenly the majority of us have bumps and folds that we didn’t have before and move over our bodies start to “shift”; our pants don’t seem to stay up and our waistlines have moved down or up! For many people who have put on weight the stomach area causes them to have a real problem with getting chaps to fit correctly.  The reason behind this is that the chaps can no longer be worn at the hips but rather at the waist above the stomach.

In speaking with my friend, Pati Hanson co-owner of Street Leathers of Oregon, she sited that the biggest issue in fitting larger people with chaps is that commercially made chaps only enlarge the same pattern used for small sizes. This means that the medium sized chaps and the “X” sized patterns are same only bigger.  Pati and I both agree that the area which must be altered for larger sizes is the area between the top of the chap thigh and the waistband as this must be lengthen to fit the larger person’s waist, not the hips.  She and I also discussed the fact that in larger people the thigh is dramatically bigger at the top which makes a chap more comfortable when worn higher up on the thigh. She stated that sometimes ordering a tall large size will help with the fit. When asked if Pati knew of any commercially made chaps that were sized to correctly fit the 1x to 5x sizes she admitted that she had not come across any and so an in store alteration is offered to these customers by Street Leathers.

Liz Casey is a large woman and owner of Biker Babe Tourswho shared this with me, “The thigh area/cut-out area of my chaps hang way down to my mid-thigh, which is really annoying on a cold ride and looks bad. The thigh portion of the chap should sit up right under the crease of where my leg meets my pelvis/torso. I would love to see more elastic materials in the stress areas and much, much heavier stitching, as in, double or triple stitched seams, because, we “big-ins” work our chaps hard.” Liz is currently working on what she would like have in a custom pair of chaps as she no longer hopes to find commercially made chaps that will fit her correctly.

Another issue that larger chap wearers have is that as the chap must be widened at the thigh however commercially made chaps then wind up real wide at the bottom thus causing the chap leg to fall down over the back of the boot and drag on the ground.  The only remedy to this is not to cut them shorter but to have an alteration done and have the lower portion of the chap leg taken in.

This brings me to a point recently brought to my attention: after buying 1, 2 or even 3 pair of chaps in hopes of finding a pair that fit comfortably, why not have the current pair altered correctly or better yet have a pair of custom chaps made to fit YOUR body!

Next time I’ll cover chaps for the thin and tall and thin person.

Ride to Stay Up and Be Safe!

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